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Evansville, Indiana
May 3, 1991     The Message
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May 3, 1991

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May 3, 1991 , i i i C,)mmentary III i Ma';s ,roadings By FA I'HP DONALD DILt, E'. Gospel Commentary for Sunday, May 5, Sixth Sunday after Easter, Cycle B; John 15:9-17 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana i I I I II i i i i The commandment of love: love must bear fruit The gospel today is a developnmnt of tile parable of the vine and the bram:hes, last Sunday's gospel. It is important to understand that the gospels were written not as a biography of Jesus, but rather as a way to teach the meaning of Jesus and his teaching to a specific Christian community. We cannot know how much of what we read in a gospel was actually said hy Jesus since the gospels were written decades after his death. From the time of Jesus' death to the written gospels there was considerable development and adaptation of his teaching to different circumstances of the various Christian communities. The community to which today's gospel is directed is the Johannine comnmnity. We are not certain about its location, but it was probably somewhere in what would today be called western Turkey. We can try to understand what their circumstances and problems were by the subjects that are emphasized in the writings of and to that community. The ]ohannine community produced not only the Gospel of John, but also three letters in the New Testament, and the Book of Revelation. Among other qualities of this community, these writings demonstrate a certain harshness toward outsiders'and perhaps also toward certain groups within the Johannine church. One of the subjects that seems to be overemphasized in tim both the Gospel of John and the First Letler of John is LOVE of flmse within tim community. It is quite probabh that fraternal lov(; was a major probhm] for Ihese people. TIw.y are no! only encouraged to low; each other but are repeatedly con]manded to do so. A command Io love seems a bi| strange, since we think of love as a spontaneous movement within ourse, lves. But we hear the author speaking |hrough the mouth of Jesus: "This is my commandment, that you love one another." Note that this command applies only to community members. There is another quality of the Johannine community seen in today's reading. It is their exclusiveness toward outsiders. An amusing example illustrating that this community had such a problem is seen in the Second Letter of John: "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, don't let him into the house or even say 'Hello.'" To counteract this exclusive tendency we see in the gospel a great emphasis on "bearing fruit." "To bear fruit" is the author's expression of encouragement to the members of his Christian church to reach out beyond the community in which they have been born again. They are asked to share the good things they have received from the love their Father has shown them by sharing with them his only Son, Jesus. Their closeness to Father and Son is described in the statement: "I no longer call you servants... but friends, since I made known to you all that I heard from the Father:" This love and Mendship is expressed in another way. They have been "(:hosen." Being chosen is not, however, an end in itself: "I chose you anti apl)ointed you that you should go and bear fruit." It is at tiffs point that the author inserts for a second time the prolnise to those, who hear fruit that whatever they ask the Father in Jesus' name, the Father will grant it. Is this any request whatsoever? Probably not. It is very likely that the promise is attached to whatever is needed to flflfill the goal of bearing fruit, reaching out to those outside the community to bring them inside. An example of such a request would be the Franciscan prayer: Lord. make me an instrument of your peace, etc. What does this first century gospel tell twentieth century Christians? The command to love one another, though it should not be necessary to command love, is still needed. Most readers are aware of problems not only in their personal relationships but also within the Christian community or parish of which they are members. "Love one another as I have loved you," is not obsolete. In the matter of bearing fruit  all Christians have an obligation to share the love they have received from the Father in the Son. All have become "friends" of God rather than servants. The proof of that friendship: "You are my friends if you do what I command you." Other readings for Sunday, May 5, 1991: Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48; I John 4:7-10 i i i i 5 St. John Church, Evansville, celebrates St. John Church, 'Vansville, will celebrate its ]ftieth anniversary on Satur- day, May 4. Bishop Gerald A. etto.lf nger will preside at the liturgy at 4 p.m. A new altar will be dedicated. The parish church was dedicated May 4, 1941, but the origin of the worshipping community dates back a full decade to May 1931. That is when a small group of people first met with Father Francis "Funeral Pre-Planning Since 1940" Miller & Miller 424-9274 2,. " IL00i 425-2896 Charles H Browrlm[) Jeao towmoff-Hestet FUNERAl DIRECIOR FUNERAL DIRECTOR IFalher) IDauolltml i i i 15% Senior Discount Every Tuesday! Groups, Please Call 812-486-3977 For Reservations Guided Tours Available Montgomery, Indiana I P. Ryves, pastor of Assump- tion Church, to ask for special liturgies. Starting in November 1931, Mass for black Catholics was celebrated in the school audi- torium at Assumption Church, with Father Anthony McLoughlin as chaplain. Father Ryves organized the Little Flower Club in Febru- ary 1932, to help raise funds to buy land for the parish along Bellemeade Avenue. In 1940, Bishop Joseph Ritter of Indianapolis assigned Father t-Iernlan Mootz to build the church. Construction of the church was made possible I)y a gift of $25,000 from cigar factory owner John H. Fendrich. Laler, he was to provide another gift of $50,000. The church was nalned in honor of Fendrich's patron sahlt. The rectory was built in 1940. The school, now closed, was completed in I III Homemade Amish Cooking "  ,., .-;,7..- " - Flea Market Every Wednesday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. 9200- Square Feet Under Roof Open Monday Thru Thursday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. I 1955. Pastors and administrators who have served the parish include Msgr. Mootz, Father Patrick Foster, Father Charles Meny, Father Earl Rohleder, Father Sylvester Loehrlein, Father Clark Field, and the current pastor, Fat-her Robert Nemergut. ST. IOHN CHURCH, EVANSVILLE i Convenient Locations CENTRAL CHAPEL 626 FIRS3 AVE.