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June 19, 1998     The Message
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14 The Message- for Catholics of Southwestemlndiana A suffering Messiah: Invitation to By FATHER DONALD DILGER Columnist Gospel Commentary for June 21, 1998: Tzuelfth Sunday: Ordinary Time: Cycle C: Luke 9:18-24 The gospel for this Sunday follows immediately upon the feeding of the multitude. One of the pur- poses Luke had in mind in his version of Jesus' feed- ing the multitude was to depict him as the awaited Jewish Messiah with whom the bread from heaven (manna) was expected to return. To make sure that this important point does not go unnoticed Luke adds the first part of today's gospel. He begins rather strangely, "... as Jesus was praying alone his disci- ples were with him." If we know Luke, we know that this is an important moment because important events in the life of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke are . preceded by prayer. Jesus takes a public opinion poll, "Who do the people say that I am?." The disciples come up with various opinions. The first one, "John the Baptist." Even Herod Antipas, ruler of Galilee, who had John beheaded, was afraid that John had come back. A sec- ond opinion, "Elijah." It was a common opinion among the Jews that Elijah would some day return to earth to prepare for what the prophets of old called "the Day of the Lord (Yahweh)." This belief was based on a story in the Old Testament which portrays Elijah the prophet being taken up to heaven in a whirlwind carried along in a chariot of fire drawn by fiery horses. To this day some set a place at table for Elijah in case he drops by. Then a third public opinion, "one of the ancient prophets." Thus the disciples gave three possi- bilities, none of which was accepted by Jesus. He replies, "Who do you say flat I am?"' Peter, as usual is the spokesperson. For Luke this means that he is expressing the faith of the whole Christian community. It is in Luke's gospel that Jesus reveals at the Last Supper that Peter would fall, then repent. Upon his repentance he was to exercise a ministry for the whole Christian community, the Church, "When you have repented, strengthen your brothers and sis- ters." It is therefore Peter who makes a decisive pro- fession of faith for all, when he replies to Jesus' ques- tion about his identity, "You are the Messiah of God!" Luke next takes on another common opinion of the time and rejects it. The Messiah was expected to be a powerful king who would not only restore reli- gious purity but also defeat the Roman occupying power and restore the kingdom of David such as it had been one thousand years earlier. The Lucan Jesus is no such Messiah. Instead the disciples are told to  keep quiet about Jesus' messiahship for the time being because of possible misunderstandings and dangerous repercussions. Then Jesus describes the kind of Messiah God sent to his people in Jesus, "The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised." In other words, a suffering Messiah who would triumph not through armies and the death of others, but through his own humiliation, suffering, and death at the hands of the rulers of his own people whom he came to deliver from oppression. The Lucan Jesus does accept the title son of man, but with qualifications. This title was borrowed from the Book of Daniel and applied by early Christian theology to Jesus. In the Book of Daniel there is a fig- ure called "one like a son of man," meaning a human- like figure. At that point the "son of man" symbolizes a Jewish empire which was to obliterate and replace those political empires which had Oppressed the Jews in past history. In the Book of Daniel those oppress- ing empires were symbolized by monstrous The son of man of Daniel comes to and is given glory and a universal, dom. As time went on, this in theology into an expected historical times identified with other titles deliverer, e.g. Son of God, Messiah, Son vant of God. Early Christian theology these ancient titles to Jesus, for to ChristianS that expected deliverer. Christian theology had a major p was executed as a criminal by the very and the religious power he whelm, to defeat, to purify. The answer to this ma was found in Isaiah. The book of this contains four poems that speak of a ,,ServantC weh" who is sent to God's people, is them, lifted up," put to death, and Isaiah's poem details the suffering and servant of God. By his death by and will "make many to be accounted Lord has laid on him the iniquity f us all.; shall bear their iniquities." By es from ancient Isaiah, Chris the answer to problem of a suffering, who conquered through his his exaltation-resurrection. It was all The enemy was not the Roman and death. These he took captive tc destroyed. Luke ends today's from Jesus to join in that same victory, follow me,"on the same path of victory hie acceptance of unavoidable human death," let them deny themselves, take uP t daily, and follow me." Readings: Zechariah 12:10-11; 13:1; 29; Luke 9:18-24. Golden Jubilarians Ralph and Vernita (Dilger) Rickelman of Mariah Hill will cele- brate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanks- giving at 6 p.m. June 20 at Mary Help of Christians Church, Mari- ah Hill. A reception and dinner for the family will follow. They were married June 15,1948, at Mary Help of Christians Church. They are the parents of eight children: Tom Rickelman of Indi- anapolis, Jane Elfreich, Eileen Higdon and Karen Rickelman, all of Evansville, Linda Schenk of St. Philip, Ken Rickelman of Evansville, Keith Rickelman of Chfisney, and Mark Rickelman of Christmas Lake Village. They have 19 grandchildren. Mr. Rick- elman is retired from J.H. Rudolph. Mrs. Rickelman is retired from the David Turnham School where she was a teaching assis- tant for 23 years. She is now employed as a preschool teacher at North Spencer Day Care. Golden Jubilarians WIRELESS Denise Jones' Bill Greene" 301 B $.E. Washington, 8001206-0420'; ELECTRI SO} William and Mary Ann (Steinhauser) Martin of Evansville will celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving at 10:30 a.m. June 21 at Christ the King Church,' Evansville. A family dinner will follow. They were married June 2,1948, at Sacred Heart rectory. They are the parents of four chil- dren: Steve Martin and Gregg Martin, both of Evansville, Ron Martin of Zionsville, and Julie Wynn of Greenwood. They have ", 11 grandchildren. Mr. Martin retired from Red Spot in 1991. Mrs. LI Vc Evansville, !,