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May 10, 1996     The Message
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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana ," Commentary-- LOVe and commandment: Promise of a counselor Sunday of John 14:15.21 anticipation of Jesus' depar- his final instruc- .to his disciples. Like a father ng to his children for the last urges his disciples to "If you love me. commandments." the plural, "com- Jesus has given two thus far at the Last concerned faith: "Be- Believe also in me." B(N FATHER DILGER COLUMNIST rned love: "A new commandment I you love one another, even as I have result of the commandment of faith : "Those who believe in me will also do the I do, and greater works than these they sult of the commandment of love: know that you are my disciples, that one another." however, another interpretation of plural in Jesus' statement about COmmandments. John's community, a of Jews and others who accepted Jesus and Son of God, were in sometimes bit- with other groups of Jews. John's group their interpretation of the Old Testa- They saw those Scriptures fulfilled eSus was their hero. The other groups of Jews appealed to their hero, Moses. According to their tradition Moses gave them the Torah, the Law of Moses. This referred first to the ten commandments, then to all the other laws contained in the first five books of what we today call the Bible. Throughout the gospel of John a confrontation takes place between the Johannine community of Jews, for they considered themselves to be the true Jews, and other Jews. Thus it was our Jews against their Jews, Jesus versus Moses. When John chooses the words to open his pref- ace to the gospel he turns to the first words of the Torah, "In the beginning .... "But the "Word" which one would have expected to refer to the Law of Moses, the Torah, is interpreted by John to be an in- carnate word, a word not composed of letters, but a Word made flesh. He goes on to identify this "Word" with Jesus Christ. Since Moses was the symbol of the Torah, John takes on Moses and the Torah di- rectly: "The Torah was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." In other words, the commandments or Torah have been replaced by a new set of commandments, or at least a new interpretation of Torah. That is why John speaks of "commandments" rather than "command- ment." True faith in God and true love of God, says John, is therefore expressed only in the interpreta- tion of the Torah which Jesus has revealed. One would not expect such a "new" idea to go over well with traditional Judaism, and it did not. Even within the Johannine Christian community not all was at peace, nor did all agree with what John was teaching. Therefore we have statements such as this: "Many of his discirles when they heard it, said: 'This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?" Another example: "After this many of his disciples withdrew and no longer went about with him." Nicodemus, who comes to Jesus by night, repre- sented those in the community who only admitted discipleship when no one else was watching. The parents of the blind man in chapter nine also repre- sent Christians who were afraid to profess openly their faith in Jesus. With such divisions inside the community it is with good reason that the Gospel of John speaks so much about "love one another." To enable his disciples to "believe in God, believe also in me," and to love one another so that others would clearly know that they are his disciples, Jesus promises help, someone to energize them. He would sent the Paraclete. The word "Paraclete" is derived from a Greek word meaning Counselor, defense lawyer, an advocate. John identifies the Paraclete with "the Spirit of truth," "the Holy Spirit." Because of the presence of the Spirit, Jesus assures his disci- ples that they he will not leave them as orphans. They are to carry on as a family, a family in which the same faith is directed to Jesus as is directed to God, a family in which others may see there is love for one another. We are asked to be that family. Readings: Acts 8:5.8. 14-17; I Peter 3:15.18 J'S E INC. ranklin IN LETE SERVICE NC. IN (812) 254-2641 BUILDING BANK, FSB St., Washington sburg Co your Agent $1 ,o0o,oo0 edical Policy or accident can of savings ... ntages of ,000 an A.M. Best (812) 254-5768 Golden Jubilarians Raymond and Helen (Nurrenbern) Hisch of Evansville will celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving at 1 p.m. May 11 at St. Agnes Church, Evansville. A buffet reception will follow in St. Agnes cafeteria. The couple was married May 8, 1946, at St. Agnes by Father William A. Bastnagel. They are the parents of three children: Kathy Mitchell of Poseyville, Doris Yancy of Corydon, and Robert Hisch of Evansville. They have seven grandchildren. Mr. Hisch retired from George Koch Sons in 1982; Mrs. Hisch is a homemaker. EAST CHAPEL Four soo s. HEBRON AVENUE Convenient Locations ii Golden Jubilarians Fred and Betty (Loehr) Dewig of Evansville will celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanks. giving at 5:30 p.m. May 18 at St. Joseph Church, Evansville. An Open House for friends and relatives will be held from 2:30 to 5 p.m. in St. Joseph's cafeteria. The couple requests no gifts. They were married May 15, 1946, at St. Anthony Church by Father Frederic Ketter. They are the parents of four children: Benedictine Sister Judy Dewig of Memphis, Tenn., Barbara Kocher of Jasper, Louise Schaad of Owensboro, Ky., and Don Dewig of Jasper. They have six grandchildren. Mr. Dewig retired from Babcock and Wilcox in 1982; Mrs. Dewig is a home. maker.