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May 29, 1998     The Message
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14 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana May Sending of the spirit: The first ha By FATHER DONALD DILGER Columnist Gospel Commentary for May 31, 1998: Pentecost Sunday: Cycle C: John 20:19-23 "File word "pentecost" in its origin is not related to the coming or sending of the Holy Spirit upon the gathered Christian community. The word "pentecost" is derived from the Greek word for "50th day." It was one of the three greatest Jewish feasts, Passover, Pen- tecost, and Tabernacles. It concluded a period of seven weeks which began with the presentation to the Lord of the first sheaf of the barley harvest during the Passover celebration and marked the end of the annual grain harvest. Our civic holiday, Thanksgiv- ing, would to some extent resemble the atmosphere of Pentecost in the ancient Jewish community. Our gospel for Pentecost Sunday is taken from John's version of Jesus' first appearance to his disci- ples after his resurrection from the dead. Were we to have only the Gospel of John, the term "Pentecost" would never have entered our Christian liturgical vocabular): Luke alone places the sending or coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Church on the Jewish Feast of Pentecost. He does this in the second volume of his gospel, which we call "Acts of Apostles." It should be noted that Luke's placement of the coming of the Spirit may be more theology'than history. The fact that the Jewish feast of Pentecost is a harvest feast must have influenced Luke to place the first great Christian harvest on this feast day. To do so, he had to first posit a 40-day perio d of time after the res- urrection. During this time Jesus instructed his disci- ples. Then came Luke's second version of the Ascen- sion, 40 days after the resurrection of Jesus. (He had an earlier version in his gospel, where the ascension of Jesus occurs on the day of his resurrection as it also does in the Gospel of John.) After that 40-day instruc- tion period, Luke posits another' 10 days of prayer. Finally, on the 50th day after the resurrection, the Holy Spirit arrives in storm and fire, see Acts 2:1-11. There is much Old Testament background that Luke wove into his theological presentation, but our con- cern is with John's version. How different the presentation in John! Jesus rises from the dead on the first day of the week, early on Sunday morning. He meets briefly with Mary Magda- lene, but no one else. He ascends to his Father, but returns on the same evening not sending the Holy Spirit 50 days after the resurrection, but bringing the Spirit as a gift to the Church. John notes that Jesus sud- denly stood in the room where his disciples were hid- ing behind barred doors. They were afraid of being arrested because of their association with Jesus, con- demned as a rebel king and executed. Jesus' first words, "Peace be with you," something they sorely needed. Jesus next shows them the wounds or scars in his hands and side. This must be John's method to demonstrate the reality of Jesus' bodily resurrection. He notes the joy of the disciples at seeing Jesus. There is another "Shalom." That Jesus' mission was of divine origin is once again asserted as it was throughout the gospel, "As the Father has sent me, just so I send you." Then Jesus shares his own Spirit and that of the Father. He breathes upon them, and says, "Receive the Holy Spirit." Finally, the purpose of giving his Spirit, "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven. If you retain the sins of any, they are retained." He shares with the Christian community a power that had always been reserved to God alone, see also Matthew 9:6-8. Just as Luke used Old Testament background to form his theology of the sending Holy Spirit, so does John. Feeding tation in Acts 2:1-11 is the Exodus 19 story ing of Yahweh in fire and storm upon where the Israelites are reborn as the people covenant through the giving of the law its ratification in Exodus 24. In the imparted to the gathered Christian co Acts 2 Luke corrects the confusion of Tower of Babel in Genesis. By that authors of Genesis portrayed the beings from each other as a punis pride. Luke describes God's people "from every nation the gift of tongues language is John has in mind another story t creation story in chapter one. When was through the Spirit of God, "The out form and empty, and of the abyss, and the Spirit of God the face of the water." The word for Hebrew in which Genesis was written word for "breath." Thus the Breath of God ation. Just so, in the Gospel of John the creates the Church when he breathes the upon the gathered Christian community. It is beginning, a new creation. God had times to restore his people. This was the through Noah, or Abraham, or Moses, but l his own Son. That is why the breathing of l Spirit upon the Church is described as purpose, "Whose sins you shall forgive, the mercy of God never quits. That must sage John and Luke intended. Readings: Acts 2:1-11; I Corinth 13; John 20:19-23. Golden Jubilarians Rene and Lorraine Goulet will celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary June 5. They were married June 5,1948, at St. Eliza- beth Church in Milwaukee, Wis. They are the parents of 10 chil- dren: Catherine Goulet of Schererville, Ind., William Goulet of New Yor N.Y., Charles Goulet of Evansville, Susan Goulet of Pawcatu, Conn., Mary Ann Claycomb of Evansville, Patricia Melithio of Newburgh, Margaret Goulet of Evansville, John Goulet oEvansville, and Jacquelyn Resch of Houston, Tex, Their son, Rob, is deceased. They have 12 grandchildren. Mr. Goulet retired fm Bucyrus Erie after 45 years. II I DUBOIS COUNTY BANK YOUR FIVE STAR SERVICE BANK I I I I II I I I II Golden Jubilarians Merlyn and Cyrilla (Becher) Lueken will celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving at 10:30 a.m. June 7 at St. Ferdinand Church, Ferdinand. An Open House will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Ferdinand American Legion. They were married June 5,1948, at St. Ferdinand Church. They are the parents of four children: Deborah Blume of Loogootee, Pat Lueken and Tom Lueken, both of Ferdinand, and Greg Lueken of Newburgh. They have eight grandchildren, and one great- grandchild. Illlll I I iii i i TFs Tray/or Serv00e, Inc. Box 68 Montgomery, Indiana 47558 Donald J. Traylor President Phone: 486-3285 I I II I I iiii I II tlaY NASHINGTON-S comp Auto ,C Truck i i:! i Vand Evansville,