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May 24, 1996     The Message
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May 24, 1996
 

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The Message --for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana " Commentary-- Gift of the spirit: Forgiving sins for May Sunday: Cycle t day of the week, It has been a mo- for the little group of Mary Magdelene to the tomb of Jesus be- It was empty. She Peter whom Jesus the other disciple tomb. They checked out tory. The tomb J DB(NFATHER DILGER COLUMNIST she had said. They cloths, but didn't know quite what and returned home. Meanwhile Mary e Was weeping outside the tomb, when up a dialogue with her. Suddenly esus whom she mistakenly thought to be the sound of his voice she recog- and was told to go report "to my she did. g Jesus' disciples were gath- themselves into a room fear- their own arrest. Jesus suddenly wishing them "shalom." He Wounds in his hands and his side. John to demonstrate the reality of us. It is the same Jesus who He repeats his "shalom." Citing his Father's ambassador he ap- to continue the work which he had athed on them and said: 'Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven. Whose sins you shall retain, they are re- tained.'" Thus ends today's gospel. What is John's intention in this story? One might begin with Jesus' double shalom to the disciples. Is this a moment of reconciliation? Was reconciliation needed? With Peter, yes, and that takes place in chapter twenty-one. But in the Gospel of John the other disciples do not abandon Jesus as they do in Mark and Matthew. They are sent away at Jesus' command when he is arrested. The wishing of shalom or peace to the disciples picks up on a theme occurring twice in Jesus' discourse at the Last Supper. In that discourse he had twice reminded his disciples that he would not leave them alone but would send them the Holy Spirit. Therefore they were not to feel abandoned but be at peacei "Peace (shalom) I leave with you. My peace I give to you." The moment of the giving of the Holy Spirit has arrived. The double wish of shalom or peace is a re- minder of the promise of the Holy Spirit. Just as much as the displaying of the wounds of the cruci- fixion, Jesus' double shalom is meant to demon- strate that this is the same Jesus. Not only was he crucified as he had said he would be, but he will also grant the Holy Spirit as he said he would. This is the introduction to the climactic moment of this first meeting between Jesus and his disciples, the introduction to the giving of the Spirit. Jesus breathes upon them. No better symbolism can be chosen to express the giving of the Spirit than the breath of God. It is the divine breath that first brought life to creation, when "the Spirit of God moved over the face of the waters" of chaos. It was the breath of God that brought life to the first man, when "the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of litK" It was the breath of God, the Spirit of the Lord, that brought life to the lifeless bodies in the valley of the dry bones of Ezekiel 27: "I will put my Spirit within YOU and you shall live .... "This is the Old Testament background to the breath of Jesus upon his disciples when he be- stows the gift. of the Spirit. He brings life and peace to these frightened people to prepare them to carry on his work. They are truly born again. What is this work which Jesus had begun and for which he commissioned his disciples by giving them new life? "Whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven ..... "John picks up a theme from the beginning of the gospel: "This is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world." John the Bap- tist had stated this as the purpose of Jesus' mission to the world. His disciples are empowered to carry on the mission of forgiveness. Is this mission re- stricted only to men ordained to the priesthood? In the sacrament of reconciliation as now practiced by the Church, yes. But this does not prevent all Chris- tians from forgiving those who have offended them and assuring repentant sinners of God's ever-pre- sent and forgiving love when they have turned back to God. Thus the Spirit of forgiveness that brings shalom belongs to every Christian. Readings: Acts 2:1.11; I Corinthians 12:3.7, 12-13 RS & MOF Floral Service SERVICING ALL AREA HOSPITALS & FUNERAL HOMES I 45-7296 lacobs lin St., Evansville /hi STEAQK 3HICKEN ]'EES ', JaSPer, IN r Your Lot PKGS. ;Packages for 100' O. METAL 'g. ry IN Golden Jubilarians Vincent and Alma (Eckert) Schmitt will celebrate their fifti- eth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving at 11 a.m. at St. Joseph Church, Jasper. A dinner for invited family will follow. Friends and relatives are invited to at- tend an Open House from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Home, Jasper. The couple requests no gifts. They were married June 5, 1946, at St. Joseph Church by Msgr. Leonard Wernsing. They are the parents of four daughters: Mary Park of Jasper, Eloise Bodkins of Winslow, Brenda Heeke of Jasper, and Annette Patton of Huntingburg. lhey have nine grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. Mr. Schmitt works in brick masonry. "TChere customers send their friends!" Open nightly til 9 p.m. hGP & Son GC'00O TOYOTA OLD US 231 SOUTH JASPER, IN 482-2222 1-800-937-USA1 Golden Jubilarians Roman and Betty (Konrad) Schenk of Evansville will cele- brate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving at 3 p.m. June 1 at Resurrection Church, Evansville. The couple was married June 4, 1946, at St. Boni- face Church. They are the parents of 13 children: Deanna Pf. effer of Newburgh, Priscilla Marroquin of New York, Gary Schenk of Evansville, Phyllis Fetcher of Cynthiana, James Schenk of Newburgh, Rita Heldt of Princeton, Greg Schenk of Evansville, David Scbenk of Chandler, Donald Schenk of Evansville, Joann Steffen of Wadesville, Kenneth Schenk of Evansville, Barry Schenk of Evansville, and Mary Beth De. Weese of Evansville. They have 24 grandchildren. Mr. Schenk is retired from Bucyrus Erie; Mrs. Schenk is a home- maker. I I ii I ,mbail International Jasper, Indiana I/