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May 27, 1994     The Message
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1994 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 9 -Commentary-- Farewell to the disciples: The great commission commentary for May Trinity Sunday, Cycle 28:16.20. are in a cycle of readings taken from Mark, gospel has no final appearance to the disciples, no explicit Sending into the world, no promise of divine assistance. later attempts to ex- Gospel of Mark to include items. We refer to the long or longer endings, some extent from Luke and Matthew By FATHER DON DILGER COLUMNIST ered authentic or part of the It seems appropriate that someone would try from Luke and Matthew to expand Luke and Matthew took so much from the composition of their gospels, and did so credit to Mark. turn to Matthew for the desired Jesus meets the disciples in Galilee as the had promised he would. There are Matthew knows nothing of Luke's story of Matthias to replace poor old Judas. t on a mountain. They worship Jesus. have doubts. We assume Matthew means  about the reality of the resurrection. Jesus instructions. He states that he has uni- "in heaven and on earth." Based r he sends them out to make disci- aations and to baptize them "in the name and of the Son, and of the Holy to teach the new disciples to ob- commanded them. He promises to always, "to the close of the age. * Note even here in Matthew there is no ascension and no promise of the Holy Spirit. As always, we look to the Old Testament to see what inspired Matthew to write this final para- graph of his gospel. Meeting on the mountain is important. In the Old Testament God gives instructions from the mountain. On the moun- tain God met with both Moses and Elijah, the two figures who are present with Jesus when he ap- pears in glory in the transfigura- tion scene earlier in the gospel. Matthew wants his people to think of Sinai and Yahweh directing his people from the mountain. In the next scene Jesus claims universal au- thority. This scene is based on a vision from the second century B.C. Book of Daniel. Daniel, cap- tive in Babylon, has a vision of four awesome beasts. These beasts represent various empires that oppressed the Jewish people. Immediately after the beasts Daniel sees a human being, "one like a son of man." This human or son of man comes to the "Ancient of Days", is presented to him, and receives universal authority, a kingdom that will never end. As the beasts represented various historical empires, so the author of the Book of Daniel intends for the "son of man" to rep- resent an empire of the persecuted Jewish nation who would finally be victorious over their persecu- tors, victorious forever. Theological development made this symbol of a Jewish empire, which never developed, into an individual who was referred to as "THE SON OF MAN." Christian theology ap- plied this term to Jesus and applied Daniel's vi- sion to Jesus. It is now Jesus who comes to the "An- cient of Days," (his return to the Father), and re- ceives universal authority. Based on his universal authority Jesus now sends out his disciples to conquer and form that ever- lasting empire promised by Daniel. It is no longer an empire for Jews only but one composed of all nations. Indeed it is founded by Jews but it embraces all peo- ples of the earth. Since it is a spiritual empire, the weapons of conquest are not spears, swords, and en- gines of war. The implements of war have been re- placed by baptism in the name of Father, Son, and Spirit, and instruction in all that Jesus taught his original troops. We think especially of the teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. In that sermon Matthew has tried to demonstrate how Jesus perfects the Law of Moses, the sacred Torah. Of the Torah it was said: "Where 10 sit and are occupied with Torah, the di- vine presence (Shechinah) rests among them." Since the disciples of Jesus are engaged in teaching the new Torah, Matthew closes with these words: "I am with you always, to the close of the age." This gospel reading was chosen for Trinity Sun- day because of its reference to baptizing in the name of the Trinity. We are amazed that so early in Christ- ian theology, the last third of the first century, we al- ready see what seems to be a statement of equality of different personages in the Godhead. Later theology used terms of Greek philosophy in attempts to clarify what must remain the ultimate mystery. Rather than deny a trinity of persons in the unity of a divine being, impelled by the Scriptures let us bow in dark- ness of faith and profess both unity and trinity "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Readings: Deuteronomy 4:32-34,39.40; Ro. nians 8:14-17. and Rose Marie (Folz) Fehrenbacher of Celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniver- Couple was married June 1, 1944, at Sa- Evansville. They are the parents of of North Carolina and Jon of Evansville. grandchildren. Mr. Fehrenbacher retired from G. 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