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July 12, 1996     The Message
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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana fir ...... Commentary-- Speaking in parables: The sower and the seed Gospel Commentary for 14, 1996: Fifteenth Sunday: Time: Cycle A: 13:1-23 There are five major sermons discourses attributed to Jesus in or Matthew. By con- i five such discourses, the this gospel seems to want reflect the five books of the the first five books of our Testament. As those five books ted to Moses, the great the Old Testament, so portrays Jesus as the , the great lawgiver of the New Testa- ent, the ultimate Torah. The interpreter of the rst of these five Matthean sermons is the Sermon the Mount found in chapters five through seven. Second consists of the missionary instructions disciples found in chapter 10. The gospel of is taken from the third major discourse chapter thirteen, the parable chapter. When Matthew composed the Sermon on the he collected the sayings of Jesus from the irk and othersources. He combined nterpretations and those of the Churches up to his time to form that ser- He does the same in the parable chapter, 13. There is no doubt whatsoever that Spoke m parables. A parable is a story or say- a lesson. To teach in story form was !aCcepted way of teaching at the time of Jesus. already many parables in the Old Testa- Jesus and other teachers of his time continued B(N FATHER DILGER COLUMNIST the Old Testament tradition of teaching in parables or stories. The first parable in Matthew's collection of parables is that of the sower and the seed. Long before the age of farm machinery, when plant- ing time arrived, a farmer scattered by hand the seeds of his future crop. Large fields were not known in Palestine where this parable origi- nated. Instead there were small plots scattered among various types of patches of thistles and rocks. As a farmer scattered the seeds some would naturally blow into the rocks, the weeds or thistles, and onto the paths through the little fields or patches of soil. In some places the soil was very thin over the rocks and the germinating seeds could not become deeply rooted. At the same time the farmer had to contend with birds waiting to snatch the seed as it fell to the ground. Some of the seeds, however, fell onto fertile, deep soil, germinated and produced crops with varied success depending on location and on the moisture and fertilizer with which they came into contact. Jesus was of rural or small town origin just as were most of his hearers during his ministry in Galilee where this parable is situated by Matthew. Jesus spoke in terms easily understandable to his audience. They had experienced exactly what he de- scribed in the success or failure of the small farmer. But Jesus raised his and their experience to a spiri- tual level. Those who are listening to him teach this parable are asked to make a comparison between themselves and the good soil of the parable. The message is simple: Be good ground, good soil! They are asked to respond to the message that Jesus pro- claims- the kingdom or rule of God is present in Jesus and in his words. Those who accept and live accordingly join the kingdom of God. Jesus spoke briefly and to the point. The misunderstanding that follows in Matthew's presentation of today's Gospel and the explanation of the parable are not consid- ered to be fi'om Jesus. They were later additions made by teachers and ministers of the early Chris- tian Church after Jesus or by Matthew himself: When the Christian Churches developed the para- ble, it changed from being a parable to being an al- legory. A parable has one simple comparison. An al- legory takes every item in the parable and compares it to some person, thing, or situation in life. This is not the way Jesus taught, but is still a useful way of teaching By using allegory hearers can compare themselves to the various areas onto which the farmer sowed his crop, productive or not. Even the devil is brought into the picture. The birds who snatch the seed before it can germinate are com- pared to the devil who steals the good that is sown into the human heart by the word of God. The teaching of Jesus was simple and direct, "You be good soil for my words. Some of you will produce more, some less, depending not only on the grace of God which comes through my words, but also on your ability to hear and your cooperation." The allegorical interpretation of early Christian teachers and Matthew enables us to guard against "the evil one" who snatches Jesus' words away from us through the temptations of weariness, discour- agement, or overindulgence in the pleasures made available to us through wealth. Readings: Isaiah 55:10.11; Romans 8:18.23. FIRST FEDERAL s and Loan Association Washington & Loogootee COMPLETE I'RICAL SERVICE ELECTRIC INC. IN 18 D'O'W,N,T,O,W,N VINCENNES, IN 47591 STEE 3 Semi Loads in Stock" I White from $41.95 sq.& up y higher) ....... $26.95 to $37.95 sq. ....... $18.95 to $29.95 sq. In Stock 300 in Stock ];239.81 RAFTERS up to 10ff span BUILDING PKGS Call for Free Quotes CO. METAL SALES Cannelburg. E. 29 U cial and Residential P O. Box 405 Haubstadt. IN 47639 1 800-766-2787 Golden Jubilarians James J. and Evelyn (Keepes) Oliver of Evansville will cel- ebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with an Open House from 2 to 4 p.m. July 21 at the Knights of Columbus. The couple was married July 23, 1946, at St. Joseph Church, Evansville. They are the parents of six children: Steve Oliver, Carol Goedde, Dr. Randall Oliver, Nancy Steinkamp, Mariann Jost and Scott Oliver, all of Evansville. They have 17 grandchildren and two great- grandchildren. Mr. Oliver works for the U.S. Post Office; Mrs. Oliver works for her son, Dr. Oliver. I CHEVROLET SALES and :SERVICE I I !]1  SL Anthony, Indiana ' i  PHONE 326-2321 i i i i i i ii i ] ii ii i i i i i "Where customers send their friendM" Open nightly til 9 p.m. Son 4IV.  Ge TOYOTA OLD US 231 SOUTH JASPER, IN 482-2222 1-800-93' '-USA1 Special jubiliarians Bill and Alma Greenwell celebrated their sixtieth wed- ding anniversary on July 8. They are the parents of two children, Jackie Bannister and Douglas Grecnwell. They have six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Cards may be mailed to the Greenwells at 36 E. Reel, Vin- cennes IN 47591.