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July 15, 1994     The Message
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July 15, 1994

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15, 1994 II II i. llli00' ' Gospel commentary for i I;1 July 17, 1994, Sixteenth Sun- !/ day, Ordinary Time, Cycle B, illtlark6:30-34. I' Last Sunday's gospel reported the sending of Jesus' 12 chosen dis- ples to preach repentance, per- rm exorcisms and heal the sick Y anointing them with oil. Today celebrates their return from a suc- cessful mission. Mark writes that I! The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Commentary -- ussuon successful, disciples return: A compassionate Jesus herd. Then "he began to teach them many things." As always, our gospel authors reflect on the Old Testa- ment texts in describing Jesus. In II Chronicles 36:15 we read: "The Lord, the God of their ancestors, persistently sent to them by his messengers because he had compas- sion on his people." We point out that Jesus had just sent messengers to his people when he sent out the disciples to preach repentance and to heal, that is to restore body and spirit to a wholesome relationship to God. The compassion of Yahweh for his people is widely attested in the Hebrew Scrip- tures, our Old Testament. Another possible influ- ence on the formation of Mark's description of Jesus' compassion may be found in Sirach 18:14, "... the compassion of the Lord extends to all peo- ple reproving, correcting, and teaching, bringing them back as a shepherd brings back his flock." Finally there is a passage in the Book of Numbers 27:17 that speaks of a man appointed to be over the congregation like Moses, "... who bill lead them out and bring them in that the congregation of the Lord may not be as sheep without a shepherd." Thus the early Church formed its picture of Jesus, the messenger, the prophet, the new Moses. Jesus represented Yahweh in an intimate way never be- fore equaled as he went about showing compassion as only Yahweh could show it. We are of course impressed by Jesus' compas- sion and how the crowd is described as longing for his presence, his healing touch, his teaching. A Christian who meditates on these attributes of Jesus may well experience deep emotional re- sponse just as the word "compassion" used by Mark of Jesus on this occasion has the meaning in Mark's original Greek of a "gut feeling," an empti- ness in the pit of the stomach, such as we feel at the loss of a spouse or a child. That is how Jesus felt about the leaderless, hungry crowd. That is how he feels about us. Jesus responds to that ex- treme emotion by first teaching the people, then healing them. There are further possibilities of more inti- mately bringing this gospel into our lives. It could be said that the Christian Church is called upon not only to teach but also to do. As the Letter of James puts it: "If a brother or a sister is in need of clothes and lacks daily food, and someone says to them: 'Go in peace, be warmed and filled,' without giving them what is needed for the body, what good is that?" Thus, like Jesus, the shepherd of his flock, the Church is obligated not only to teach, but to clothe, to feed, and to shelter the homeless. That obligation rests not only on the institution but on every individual. There is a song: "What a Friend We Have in Jesus." What we must realize is that Jesus reaches out today through us, and it is through others that Jesus touches us. In the stormy times of our life, when we are like sheep without a shepherd, there must be a special blessing for those who respond with compassion to teach and to heal as Jesus did. Blessed are those who have such a friend! Readings: Jeremiah 23:1-6: Ephesians 2:13.18. By FATHER they told Jesus everything they DON DILGER had done and taught. This is the COLUMNIST 0aly instance in the gospels where the disciples are said to have taught. With this one exception Jesus is the only teacher until after the Ascension. In Acts of Apos- ties the disciples are no longer disciples but teach- rs. Jesus now invites his disciples to join him in .ithdrawing to a hideaway for some rest, but this sot to be. Mark says they had no time even to est, rauch like a busy pastor today. Finally they got away in a boat crossing from the northwest shore 0t the Sea of Galilee to the northeast shore. Many saw them leaving and must have guessed their destination. They ran there on foot, says Mark, and f there ahead of them. One wonders if Mark ew the geography of Palestine, that the people ,[Ould have had to ford the Jordan River to get to one SUpposed destination first. l ' . ow comes the key sentence m today s read- g. When Jesus went ashore there was a huge 0wd waiting for him and he had compassion on hem because they were like sheep without a shep- 9 for Jubilarians and Stella (Siebert) Blume will celebrate their anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving at Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Haubstadt. A re- Was held July 9 at Ed's Place in Haubstadt. The Was married July 5, 1944, at St. Theresa Church, Me. They are the parents of one son, Ray of They have four grandchildren and four great- Mr. Blume is a retired farmer; Mrs. Blume Golden Jubilarians Harold and Jackie (Vowels) Lodato of Evansville will cele- brate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a dinner re. ception July 16 at Clearerest Pines. The couple was mar- ried July 20, 1944, at St. Louis Bertrand Church in Louisville, Ky. They are the parents of eight children: Michael Lodato, James Lodato, Rosalie Woodall, Angela Stumpf, Phyllis Fenneman and Barbara Dempsey, all of Evansville, Robert Lodato of Houston, Tex., and Patricia Reitz of Cincinnati, Ohio. They have 20 grandchildren. Mr. Lodato is retired from Whirlpool. They are members of St. Benedict parish in Evansville. 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