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July 4, 1997     The Message
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July 4, 1997

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I1997 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 11 Commentary -- e to Nazareth: Rejection, disappointment, limitation Fourteenth Sunday: Ordi. I Cycle B: Mark 6:1-6 I I n Mark's version of Jesus' pub- J in Galilee, Jesus has already I the kingdom of God and beyond its taught in synagogues. miraculous cures. to his hometown, Galilee. As was the cus- Jews of the time, the local synagogue on he teaches to the of the hometown folks. unable to accept this former carpenter as of Torah, i.e. the Scriptures. Where did he this learning? They asked: "Is this the car- the son of Mary and brother of James and and Simon? And aren't his sisters They were offended by one of their his head above the crowd. Jesus with a proverb: "A prophet is not without except in his own country, among his own rel- in his own house." Mark adds that to do mighty works there because but he did cure a few sick peo- was astonished at their lack of faith and areth, perhaps never again to return. indictment of Nazareth and confir- own proverb: "You can't go home three gospels confirm Mark's retains Mark's story almost verba- seem offended by Jesus a carpenter and changes his version to the son of the carpenter?" A son is r name of his father, not the as in Mark. Thus Matthew to read: "Isn't his mother called retains the brothers and sisters of Mark's reference to relatives in the By FATHER DON DILGER COLUMNIST proverb quoted by Jesus. Nor can Matthew accept Mark's statement that Jesus "was unable" to do mighty works in Nazareth. He changes to "did not do many mighty works there." Thus we have a slight- ly more accepted Jesus and one without limitation of power. Luke's version is dramatically different and is placed not during Jesus' ministry in Galilee but at the beginning of that ministry. Luke's conclusion por- trays the Nazirites attempting to throw Jesus over a cliff. The Gospel of John has no visit to Nazareth but a disparaging remark about Jesus: "Can any good come out of Nazareth?" Something needs to be said about the "brothers of Jesus." Catholics have a tendency to choke on this phrase. Some have never encountered it before either because they never read the Bible or were not attentive during public reading of the gospels. While only Mark and Matthew refer to the sisters of Jesus, all four gospels refer to the brothers of Jesus. John 7:5 indicates their lack of faith in Jesus: "Not even his brothers believed in him." What is the problem? The Gospels of Matthew and Luke affirm the virgin- ity of Mary up to the birth of Jesus but not after- wards. Christian belief from earliest times has how- ever affirmed the perpetual virginity of Mary in - popular belief, creeds, and church councils. These brothers have therefore always been a cross for many Christians, but especially Roman Catholic commentators. While Protestant Christians with Matthew and Luke affirm Mary's virginity up to the birth of Jesus, many have no problem with Mary and Joseph having children after Jesus. Various solutions have been proposed. The most common is that the brothers of Jesus are the sons of Joseph by a previous marriage. The apocryphal gospels, later than our four canonical gospels, are the basis of this argument. They portray Joseph as a wid- ower with children, an elderly man. Early commenta: tors picked up on this argument. Perhaps such imagi- nary solutions are not needed. It is a fact that the Greek term for brother, "adelphos," is used in the Greek Old Testament not only for siblings but for close relatives, for example Genesis 24:48; 29:12. In the New Testament "adelphos" is used in an even wider sense by Paul in Romans 9:3; Matthew 5:22-24. Perhaps the most compelling argument for the point of view that the brothers of Jesus were relatives rather than sib- lings is found in Mark 15:40. Three women are stand- ing at a distance from the cross, Mary Magdelene, the mother of James and Joses, and Salome. Based on Matthew  s version, Salome seems to be the mother of the sons of Zebedee, i.e. James and John. Who is the second woman? Recall that two of the brothers of Jesus in Mark and Matthew are named James and Joses (Joseph). ffMary, mother of Jesus, were also mother of James and Joses, would not Mark have called her "the mother of Jesus" rather than "the mother of James and Joses'? Only John puts the mother of Jesus by the cross and that may be more theology than history, in a gospel so symbolic as the Gospel of John. why does Mark include this story in his gospel? It fits a major theme of his gospel, that Jesus was misunderstood and rejected by everyone. This theme of Mark may be aimed especially at his own Christ- ian community, the Church at Rome. These Chris- tians had suffered persecution, denial, betrayal by family, and martrydom. Mark wants them to identi- fy with an abandoned Jesus who eventually was vic- torious. Mark also seems to be influenced by the rejection of prophets by their own relatives, clans, people, for example, Moses and Jeremiah, the latter by his hometown. See Exodus 2:14 and Jeremiah 1 1 :18-23. Whatever the case may be, the lesson for us can be that God is present, sometimes concealed, in what is common and ordinary to us. Also, rejection does not have to mean ultimate failure. Readings: Ezekiel 2:2.5; II Corinthians 12:7.10. S Olivia (Luigs) will cele- fiftieth wedding w'ith a Mass of Church, St. and reception Knights of St. The couple June 4, 1947, at St. parents of Sister Laura of Haubstadt, Schmitt, Albert Schmitt, all They have seven Mr. Schmitt is Sterling Brewery. is a homemaker. S STONE INC. ille, IN SHOP nment rebuilding Service 254-5358 Washington, IN COUNTY INC. Mgn Building Indiana Golden Jubilarians Cletus and June (Guerrettaz) Dressel of Evansville will cel- ebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a family din- ner July 5 at Haub's Steak House in Haubstadt. The couple was married July 5, 1947, in Mayfleld, Ky. They are the par- ents of three children: Pamela Schutte of Wilmington, N.C., and Michael Dressel and Gary Dressel, both of Evansville. They have seven grandchildren. Mr. Dressel is retired from Bauer Brothers General Contractors. DUBOI$ COUNTY BANK MEMBER OLD NATIONAL BANCORP Member FDIC YOUR FIVE STAR SERVICE BANK Golden Jubilarians Truman and Genevieve (bmidt) Minar of Evansville will celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with an anniversary party at 6".0 pJn. July 4 at the Old Mill Restau. rant in Evansville. The couple was married July 21, 1947, at SL Boniface Chureh They are the parents of six children: Arthur Minar of Indianapolis, Lawrence Minar and Gerard Minar, both of Evansville, Robert Minar of Saralmta, Fla., Jonathon Minar of Wichita, Kans, and Mary Beth Baue- meier of Evansville. They have seven grandchildren. Mr. Minar is retired from the E-vansville Vanderburgh Co. Build. ing Authority; he was a maintenance mechanic. Mrs. Minar is retired from St. Mary's Medical Center, she was a rvgis. tered nurse.