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June 25, 1993     The Message
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June 25, 1993

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25, 1993 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 9 -- Commentary -- Renunciation of family: Taking up the cross Gospel commentary for June 27, 1993, Thirteenth Sun- day in ordinary time, Cycle A: Itftthew 10:37-42. Last Sunday we heard a part ssion instructions to disciples. Such instructions found in Mark, Matthew, and with considerable differ- ences among them. Like other 8erraons of Jesus reported in Matthew, the "mission sermon" Should be thought of as a collec- tion of various sayings of Jesus spoken at different times. These Were handed down orally while 3aeing adapted and changed to express the vari- ons of the diverse churches from d gospels originate. This accounts for ifferences and sometimes even contradic- BCN FATHER DILGER COLUMNIST Our gospel reading today is taken from the deof the mission sermon of Jesus in Matthew. ere are some harsh statements setting out the for following Jesus. Anyone who father and mother, son and daughter, more is not worthy of him, or as Luke "cannot be a disciple of Jesus." Luke is more emphatic in this harsh requirement. of loving Jesus more than family as in Luke asks disciples of Jesus to "hate d mother, wife and children, brothers isters, and even one's own life." Both and Luke depend on the lost "Gospel for this statement. The author of "O" seems been a radically conservative Christian reveling in a harsh Christianity of absolute demands spiced with threats of fiery punishments. Today we would say -- "more Catholic than the Pope." The idea of abandoning fam- ily for the service of God is also found in the Old Testament. In Deuteronomy 33:9 we read of Levi that he said of his mother and father: "I regard them not," that he disowned his brothers and ignored his children. Levi would have made an ideal pre-Vatican II Christian of the most severe type. An example of required abandon- ment is the case of Elijah expect- ing Elisha to follow him in a prophetic vocation without even saying farewell to his parents. Our interpretation of the demand of Matthew's Jesus of loving family less or of hating family and life as in Luke should be understood in light of another harsh statement found in the gospels: "If your hand or foot cause you to sin, cut if off and throw it away." Not even the most fundamentalist of Christians would interpret this statement literally. Rather it means that we should go to great lengths to avoid sin. Thus putting family second to Jesus means that those who receive a special call to follow Jesus would set aside whatever prevents them from fulfilling the special mission to which God calls them. Another harsh statement now follows: "Those who do not take up their cross and follow me are not worthy of me," or, as Luke says it: "cannot be my disciple." This is the first mention of the dreaded word "cross" by Matthew. At a distance of almost two thousand years, and a spiritualiza- tion process that has turned the mode of execu- tion of slaves and rebels into a sign of God's love and salvation, we can hardly understand the hor- ror such a saying must have engendered in a would-be disciple of Jesus in the first century. Since in Mark, Matthew, and Luke, Jesus did not even carry his own cross, the saying is even more startling. It meant without any qualifica- tions that any Christian must be willing to be crucified as was Jesus and other early martyrs The process of reinterpretation begins with Luke 9:23. Luke quotes the saying about taking up the cross but says: "If any would come after me, let them DENY themselves and take up their cross DAILY and follow me." In other words, "taking up the cross has taken on the meaning of self-de- nial, mortification, penance, rather than physical crucifixion. What these sayings tell us is that following Jesus is a momentous decision. Such a decision was not taken lightly when the gospels were written, nor may it be taken lightly today. In some areas of the world such a decision can still mean martyrdom, even if not by crucifixion. For most of us the decision to follow Jesus still in- volves family in the sense that the call to a spe- cial missionary vocation is a sanctifying not only of the one called but of the family from which the person comes. In the sense that Luke gave to "taking up the cross," this involves everyone called to holiness. No Christian can be free of the self-denial and penitential change of life required to follow Jesus. Other readings: II Kings 4:8-11,14-16; Rom 6: 3-4, 8-11. Peoples ust Company SOUTH MAIN STREET P.O. BOX 191 INDIANA 4744" 1 NOTICE number for #7 is ticket #204. ticket holder left our before the number iced and e forward with in hand. Catholic Church SUmmer Social (June 13th) Quilt Committee Phone: 295-2225 GODAND THE SICK AWAIT }DU You SISTERS .nurse incurable cancer m o=r seven states. " Si.,..s coe [om ,tl =.lJ:J o ,or ,'equartd. Sr.Marte Ed'ward }'ark 1052 Special Jubilarians Ralph and Ruth (Holtman) Bezy of Vincennes will celebrate their fifty-fifth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanks- giving June 26 at Sacred Heart Church, Vincennes and with a family dinner. The couple requests no gifts. They were mar- ried June 22, 1938, at St. John Church, Vincennes. They are the parents of two children, James of Lombard, I11., and Stephen of Indianapolis. They have four grandchildren. He is a retired construction electrician. I WE'RE YOUR #1 CHOICE FOR LOW COST AUTO INSURANCE Independent Agent ,, Many companies to choose from 79 years of experience INSURANCE AGENCY _l III I 464-5993 IIII II I DENNIS K. FELDHAUS ml II I I Special Jubilarians Dow and Agnes (Lorey} Apple of Jasper will :elebrate their sixtieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving at 11 a.m. June 27 at St. Joseph Church, Jasper. Following a family dinner, an Open House and reception will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. at Sultan's Run. The couple requests no gifts. They were married June 27, 1933, at St. Benedict Church, Evansville, "'h Father Martin Hoppenjans officiating. They are the parents of two children, Nancy Larkin and Gerald Apple, both of Jasper. They have seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. I [I MILLER & MILLER "A family name you can trusY" 424-9274 I I]] I I [111 II II I fl II