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July 29, 1994     The Message
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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 9 1994 -- Commentary -- Moses vs. Jesus: The true bread from heaven Gospel commentary for 31, 1994, Eighteenth Sun. Ordinary Time, Cycle B, John 6:24.35. In keeping with John's usual Procedure, he first portrays a mira- cle of Jesus. Then he follows the iracle with a discourse or sermon fJesus describing the miracle. He calls Jesus' miracles "signs," i.e. to some attribute of explained in the follows the miracle. in this case was the of five thousand people in of northern Galilee. We dis- that miracle in the commentary on last Sun- gospel. Today we examine the sermon. It is important to remember that we do not kow exactly what Jesus might have said ab(ut his iracles or the teachings that the Gospel of John anects with those miracles. We have before us, not necessarily the words of Jesus, but of John. We should not feel dismay be- muse of this. It does not really matter if Jesus spoke this sermon as is or spoke it at all. The important thing to rememberis that God revealed first in the of Jesus. Eye and ear witnesses handed down and traditions of Jesus with the changes )tations that would naturally accumulate his words and traditions. Decades later the gSpel authors took these words and traditions and them still more to their own situation in of the Christian Church from 40 to 70 years er Jesus. : We recalled last week that when John included By FATHER DON DILGER COLUMNIST the miracle of loaves and fishes in his gospel, he intended to call to mind for his readers how Yahweh fed his people in the wilderness through his great prophet Moses. In the Gospel of John Jesus is al- ways portrayed as fulfilling, sur- passing, or even replacing Moses in anything Moses wrote or did.Thus the comparison in the sermon fol- lowing the miracles of loaves and fishes is a comparison between Moses and Jesus, perhaps even Moses versus Jesus. The people, whom John usually and simply and unfortunately refers to as "the Jews," remind Jesus that Moses fed their ances- tors in the wilderness with manna, the bread from heaven. Jesus replies that it was not Moses who gave that bread from heaven. Then he adds: "My Father gives you the true bread from heaven." What is John talking about when he portrays Jesus speaking these words? John is writing in the 90s of the first century. The temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed about 25 years earlier. What was left to the Jewish people now that they no longer had a country, a capital, and a temple dedi- cated to Yahweh? They were left with synagogue and Torah, i.e. their Scriptures. The great rabbini- cal teachers of Judaism were speaking of the Torah in statements such as these: "More Torah, more life!" "Those who have acquired the words of the Torah have acquired for themselves the life of the world to come! "Great is Torah, for it gives to them that practice it life in this world and in the world to come." Such statements are based on the Hebrew Scriptures (our Old Testament). The Scriptures themselves interpret the manna fed to the Israelites in the wilderness as a sign or symbol of the Torah. Deuteronomy 8:3 says: "He fed you with manna, which you did not know nor did your arLcestors, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone but by every word (the Torah) that comes from the mouth of God." Other statements speak of the Torah as being spiritual food and drink. The Gospel of John shows the vehement de- bates that were going on between Jews and Chris- tians in the first century. For Christians Jesus and the revelation he brings fulfill and surpass Torah. Thus John wrote earlier: "The Torah was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." In today's gospel he simply states the same idea in another way: "My Father gives you the true bread from heaven." In other words the teach: ing or revelation that Jesus brings from the Father, a teaching which Jesus himself is, has replaced the Torah. For John and his community, Jesus is now the true Torah. John, to the chagrin of the Jewish scholars, portrays the Jewish people as demanding of Jesus: "Give us always this bread." In answer to this John writes a reply in terms spoken originally of the Torah: "I am the bread of life. Those who come to'me shall not hunger. Those who believe in me shall never thirst." We do not reject the Torah as John seems to do in his bitter debates. With him in his better moments we accept the validity of the Jewish Torah, the Old Testament, but we see the Torah continued and fulfilled in Jesus and his teachings given to us by the New Testament au- thors. Readings: Exodus 16:2-t, 12.16; Ephesiuns o Homes Four nvenient Locations ZIEMER-SHEARS EAST CHAPEL 800 S. HEBRON AVE. HOLY ROSARY SCHOOL IS SEEKING FULL TIME CAFETERIA MANAGER. CALL THE SCHOOL OFFICE 477-2271 Father Continued from page 1 terbach related details about his thirtieth consecutive bicy- cle trip. He reported that he had traveled 1,458 miles through Poland and the former East Germany. Previous trips -- often 1,500 miles or more -- included tours of the United States, Canada RESTAURANT SPECIALIZING IN DELICIOUS GERMAN FOOD PRIME RIB CHARBROILED STEAQK COUNTRY FRIED CHICKEN SEAFOODS. SALAD BAR BANQUET ROOM FOR PRIVATE PARTIES FOR ALL YOUR CATERING NEEDS, CALL F482.2640 I Hwy. 162S.   : : 393 3rd. Ave., Jaiper, IN iii and various areas in Europe. Among them were a bicycle tour across eastern Canada in 1982 and a trip through Death Valley to the West Coast in 1977. Albertus Peter Lutterbach was born in Armstrong Town- ship, Sept. 22, 1932. He was baptized at St. Wendel Church, St. Wendel; and confirmed at St. Anthony Church, Evansville. After studies at St. Meinrad Seminary, he was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Evans- ville by Bishop Henry J. Grim- Main Street Pharmacy 217 E. Main St., Downtown Walngton Phone: 254-5141 melsman on May 23, 1959. Father Lutterbach was as- signed as assistant pastor of St. Mary Church, Washington, in 1959; and as assistant of St. Joseph Church, Jasper, in 1961. From 1964 to 1969, he taught at Memorial High School. Dur- ing these years he resided at As- sumption Cathedral, Christ the King and St. Joseph Churches in Evansville, and St. Clement Church in Boonville. Father Lutterbach was ap- pointed pastor of St. Mary Church in Shoals, in 1969. He was named co-pastor of St. Joseph Church, Princeton, in 1975, and pastor of St. Boni- face Church, Evansville, in 1977. Since July 6, 1987, he has served as pastor of St. Joseph Church in Bramble and its nearby mission chapel at Crane Naval Depot. i .