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April 14, 1989     The Message
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April 14, 1989
 

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April 14, 1989 Commentary The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5  By FATHER . DONALD DILGER Jesus as Shephercl: one with the Father Gospel Commentary for Sunday, April 16, 1989 Fourth Sunday of Easter -- John 10:27-30 The context of our gospel reading is a verbal confrontation between Jesus and his adversaries, "the Jews" as John calls them, on the Feast of Dedication or Hanukkak. This festival observance is also known as "Feast of Lights," from ancient times on. Jesus is wfilking in the Portico of Solomon. The temple was surrounded on all sides by a kind of covered cloister or colonnade. On the east side it was known as the Portico of Solomon, the builder of the first temple. The colonnade was covered from the outside but open to the temple on the inside. John tells us it was winter. Jesus would have been walking there because it provided shelter from the cold east wind which blew in across the Kidron Valley. His adversaries approach him. "How long will you hold our breath? If you are the Messiah, tell us openly." Jesus answers that he has told them and they don't believe him. The works (miracles or signs) which he does prove it. They don't believe because they are not his sheep. Sheep hear the voice of their shepherd and follow him. They can- not because they belong to someone else. It seems strange that when Jesus is asked if he is the Messiah that he would start talking about sheep and shepherd imagery. When we realize that Jesus and his hearers are both quite familiar with Old Testament imagery of sheep and shepherd, we can understand why he answers in this way. / He is asked whether he is the Messiah. Messiah means "the Annointed One," that is "the annointed king," successor to the throne of David, the "Son of David." David is called "shepherd" in various Old Testament texts: "And I will set over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed ,them. He shall feed them and be their shepherd," Ezekiel 34:23 and 37:24. With such texts as background the messianic claims of Jesus in his answer were obvious to his hearers as they were to the readers and hearers of the Gospel of John when he first wrote it. We are unfortunately not as steeped in the Scriptures as we might be and so much of the meaning of our New Testament is lost to us. Jesus (and John) is careful to use symbols that give the idea of the kind of Messiah he claims to be, a TRUE SHEPHERD in the image of the ideal" David of Ezekiel and the Psalms. David is said to tend the sheep with upright heart, with skillful hand, tenderly taking care of the ewes and their lambs. This is contrary to what some people of the first century believed the Messiah should be. He was described in other literature as one who would "SHATTER, PURGE, THRUST OUT, DESTROY, BREAK." This is not the Jesus-Messiah of our gospels. He is not a warlike, nationalistic, political savior of the Jewish people. Jesus speaks of his unity with the Father. In fact he says: "THE FATHER AND I ARE ONE THING." As our Creed puts it: "God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God." Even if we continue in the sheep and shepherd imagery we see that Jesus and the Father are one. Ezekiel 34 speaks of the LORD GOD himself as the shepherd of the sheep. The language used there serves as the basis of Jesus' Parable of the True (Good) Shepherd. The Lord God is said to seek out his flock when some are scattered. He feeds and waters them. They lie down on good grazing land. "I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep. I will seek the lost, bring back the strayed, bind up the crippled, strengthen the weak, and watch over the fat and strong. I will feed them with justice." Out- side of watching over the "fat and strong" these are all concepts applicable to Jesus. As the Father is Shepherd, so Jesus is Shepherd. "I AND THE FATHER ARE ONE." This unity does not stop with Father and Son. We are drawn into it, as Jesus prays: "That they may be one just as we are." We are in his hand according to today's gospel and "no one will . snatch them out of my hand." St. Paul describes our unity with Father and Son in other words in Romans 8:38-39: "I am certain that neither death, nor life, nor angels.., nor present things, nor power.., nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Other readings for Sunday, April 16, 1989: Acts 13:43.52; Revelation 7:14-17. Indiana legislators House bills 00:ould offer help to Hoosier patients sufferij00g from AIDS By ANN WADELTON work of volunteers. Other months to 67 years. Within the Indiana CatholicConference centers are located in Fort past month, twin nine-month- Wayne and Lafayette. old girls were brought to the The burgeoning number of According to Shuff, AIDS is Center; both contracted AIDS Hoosiers suffering from AIDS increasing at an alarming rate, through molestation. The first will be helped if two bills cur- locally as well as nationally, young athlete came to the rently being debated are ap- And the patient profile is Center for help recently. He roved by Indiana legislators, changing, although homosex- contracted AIDS by sharing a oth bills are supported by I. ual men and drug addicts still needle in injecting steriods. Michael Shuff, executive direc- account for the majority of "And I've seen a family go from tor of the Indianapolis-based cases, a $60,000 annual income to Damien Center which serves Because gay men were the zero in a few months," said AIDS patients from throughout first infected irlarge numbers, Shuff, "when the father, the the state. They are also sup- and because they were iden- breadwinner, was disabled Ported by the Indiana Catholic tified as the "high risk group," with AIDS." Conference. many see AIDS as someone Nationally, a new AIDS pa- The Center, the only else's problems, says Shuff. tient is diagnosed every 14 refigionsly sponsored AIDS "That 'us' and 'them' is a minutes. Within four years, a facility in the state, is located in dangerous dynamic," he says. new case is expected every 36 the former grade school of St. The social behaviors which seconds. Peter and Paul Cathedral and is lead to AIDS are difficult to HB 2047 would require the fUnded by the Catholic and change unless people see Indiana Department of Human .Episcopal faith communities It themselves "at risk," he says. Services to work with com- } the largest in the state and of- The caseload at the Damien munity action groups to coor- ers information, counseling Center doubles every six dinate the assessment of AIDS and friendship through a net- months. Patients range from 16 ..... i, FAMOUS BRANDS FOR LESS. , FURNITURE- CARPET- APPLIANCES HOME OUTFITTERS JASPER - LOOGOOTEE - WASHINGTON NEW STORE OPENING IN VINCENNES RUXER FORD. LINCOLN - MERCURY ,k," ,k4sPEn I I 482-12 A strategies for education and prevention of the disease and to develop health arid human ser- vice delivery systems for the care of AIDS patients. Twenty- seven such community groups have already been started by the state Board of Health. HB 1753 would require the Indiana Department of Public Welfare to seek a Medicaid waiver to provide case manage- ment services to AIDS patients. Both bills received over- whelming support in the House and are not expected to face ma- jor opposition in the Senate. The bills were introduced by Rep. Anita Bowser (D-Michigan City), a professor at Purdue University North Central cam- pus, at the urging of R.J. Biller, a woman student who volunteers with the Porter County AIDS community action Sue Landske (R-Cedar Lake). In addition to humane con- 'cern, the state's interest lies in the cost of AIDS. Among Da- mien Center clients, 90 percent are Medicaid eligible. "To have AIDS is to be poor," said Shuff. Medicaid covers 25 percent to 40 percent of all AIDS costs. The Center sees an increasing number of single women who are heads of households as AIDS patients. Among recent clients are three sets of parents with new babies. All were diagnosed as HIV infected when the babies were born with AIDS. The largest increase is among minority groups. Among volunteers at the Da- mien Center is Howard Hess, assistant dean of the Indiana University School of Social Work, who will use a sabbatical leave to conduct a statewide prevalence, to formulate group. Senate sponsor is Sen. needs assessment of resources for AIDS patients and develope i[ "lr ! A ]1 a I'xkIf' r t'N'Uf'IL'E " a plan f actin" The assess" ment is particularly needed in ILl i,11 UIN .: | LUMBEFI COMPANY Indiana's rural areas, according !, - ..... , 1 IL 104 WOOD STREET J (_AJH.__N,. I t, t,:../t.)  Ip.HONE ;llS-2400 LOOGOOTFF to Shuff. MADE IN SOUTHERN INDIANA Sp n'ng Tim e Is Fix - Up Tim e , at Haubst0000,dt Carpet * Carpet at "Spring Sale" prices * Vinyl floor covering ,, Custom-made wood cabinets ,, 30/o off wallpaper sale - Benjamin Moore Paints and Sundries ", Hwy 68 -- Haubstadt, Indiana 768-6983 FOR COMPLETE ELECTRICAL SERVICE H.G. FISCHER I RT. 1 ST. ANTHONY