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August 5, 1994     The Message
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ust 5, 1994 )ne ) in the i's heal- knoW ercent- relief u don't r youth ,0ng'S rho do lers ning to tt we in nan feting found . We I that ,r active hoW ( |lust 5, 1994 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana I -- Commentary-- III II The origin of Jesus: Bread of life, Moses, eternal life 1!' Gospel commentary for Au- nt 7, 1994, Nineteenth Sun- ||by, Ordinary Time, Cycle B, II00ohn 6"41-51. : Our series on the sixth chap- |hr of John continues. Last week's [pel ended with Jesus words: "I |a the bread of life." Those who Ceept or receive this bread of!ife I[ promised they ne er that will V |. ger and thirst again, that they By FATHER |pill have eternal life, and that DONcoLUMNIsTDILGER ItJus will raise them up on the [hst day. Last week s column ex- |Phined that in this section of the Spel the author is speaking not of th'e Eucharist Ltof the teaching of Jesus in contrast to the Torah leaching of Moses. John intends to say that Jesus hags the new Torah or the perfection of the old ah or teaching. As the ancient Torah or revela- 01tbrought by Moses was said to give eternal life, all the more does the revelation that Jesus gs. : This in itself was a daring new development of ancient doctrine that the manna that fell from Vlen symbolized the Torah or teaching brought ugh Moses. Now, John says, the manna really bolized the revelation that Jesus brings. John tes this new development another step. Not only !the revelation that Jesus brings the true manna thread from heaven, Jesus himself is the true yond Jesus' teachings he himself is the Word of God, the revelation or Torah of God. In response John portrays' Jesus opponents as "murmuring" that it was impossible for Jesus to have come down from heaven. They know both Joseph his father and his mother. How can he claim to have come down from heaven? Jesus does not answer that objec- tion directly. When John the au- thor mentions "murmuring" he wants his readers to think of the Israelites in the wilderness and how they murmured or complained against Moses' leadership. Moses replied: "What are we? Your murmuring is not against us but against Yahweh." Jesus also deflects the objection by a self-effacing statement. He says that he him- self is not the origin of these words. They come from the Father and it is the power of the Father, of God, that draws people to Jesus and enables him to resurrect them on the last day. Now the Jesus-Moses comparison continues. John had already stated the superiority of Jesus over Moses, of Jesus over Torah. His opponents, John implies, were taught by Moses. Those who accept Jesus and his teachings as true bread of life are taught by God himself. Then John typically adds a slap in the face at his opponents when he writes: "No one has ever seen the Father except ,ad that comes down from heaven. The Jewish him who is from God," i.e. Jesus himself is the only ,0rah was known as the word of God, even as we one who has ever seen God. John thus contradicts " . the_beginnmgof_his.' " " the Jewish belief based on Deuteronomy 33:11, ;:hSTiaP::;::aiieterred toJesusasthein- ,rahweh used to speak to Moses face to face, as a te word of God is means that above and be- man speaks to a friend." Earlier in the gospel I II I I I I IIII HI when John had been comparing Jesus with Moses he insisted that no one had ever seen God, but Jesus, who alone is intimate with divinity, truly re- veals God. Now John adds: "Those who believe this have eternal life." How difficult and disjointed the gospel reading of today seems to be. The author or a later editor seems to realize this and now summarizes and re- peats his arguments. Thus far in this long sermon or discourse, the author has claimed that Jesus is the true Torah, the true teaching from heaven. Sec- ondly, he claims that not only Jesus' teaching is the revelation, but Jesus himself is the true revelation, the spiritual manna that came from heaven. Now the author takes a third step. For the firtst time, he refers directly to Jesus as food in the Eucharist: "The bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh." It is only with this statement that John specifically introduces the eucharistic discourse, when he speaks no longer of the teaching of Jesus but of Jesus being received in flesh and blood to eat and to drink. This will be next Sunday's gospel and commentary. For today we affirm with the act of faith that John demands of his readers that the revelation Jesus brought came from heaven, that he himself came from God as the word or revelation of God, en- closed in a complete human being. Our gospel mes- sage today teaches that we ourselves become united to God through our act of faith in Jesus, son of Joseph, son of Mary, son of the Father, who alone has seen the Father. This uniquely qualifies him as God's revelation. 5.'2. Readings: I Kings 19:4-8; Ephesians 4:30- II I 9 ' tudy says Catholic religious education doing its job ciation el .JERRY FILTEAU Catholic doctrine. 1,822 Catholic parishes -- gious knowledge and attitudes had a positive impact on their Catholic News Service It concluded that the out-oF nearly one-tenth of all U.S. and their involvement as understanding and practice of school catechetical programs parishes -- and from surveys adults in parish abtevities and their faith and their involve- ;h CentUI?_,I'IINGTON" (CNS) -- -- despite inadequate funding of some 4,000 Catholics ofju- adult formation programs, ment in church life ... "based " religious educa- and material resources and nior high and high school age One of the main conclusions ".mothi, ' ,vblncr! T* -ld' "ng an effective job of their overwhelmingly olun- in those parishes, was that Catholic adult forma- could be that eve thi " (Arno i1 . . worKing, me report concmaea. tmn programs today are di-  ........ it young Catholics, ac- teer corps of teachers -- are Other major elements in the " ry ng is verse ana numerous ana ....... .. .... ,.:.,.. ^ ^.;__ Eflucatlonal Testmg Service is lXl, LUllLllOt.,tb; ,U I,U|glllll .t t / . / the kind of adult Catholics that tne targest eaucatton researcn hiahnna nutn An " and testing organization in the ..... r-, - .... rs __d diocesan education directors hope to see. United States, known mainly for The top priorities expressed its national pre-college tests of lcture 'at . . . . " " " by church leaders -- a sense of student achievement. personal worth, a clear faith It conducted the catechetical p" , their participatmn in have an enrollment of nearly programs, identity, an active eucharistic study under a grant from Lilly ttspenSe)J.harist and their identity 2.7 million. -- A national survey of 530 life, a sense of be in.g a disciple Endowment, with the coopera- | O" " :ene to i hcs, said the recently Comparisons of the religious randomly selected registered of Jesus, partlclpatmn m :luding llStudy knowledge, perceptions and Catholic parishioners and a tion of the U.S. Catholic Con- church life, personal spiritual- ference De-artment of Educa olence a1a.religious knowledge, commitment of those in parish comparable survey of 333 lty," wttness' to chanty" and the .... NV "'o ...... " il - , .... clan, tne art nil atnolle ituatiO= ..schl students programsandth::eifnoCmatah:lic ap::h::arrSntdlbypastors Gospet -- were the quahtles ........... 01 ..r. .......... Laucatlonal ssoclatlon, fle snickeri:, ld a slight edge, it schools was dra r - pry " . exempnnea y aault uamoncs ..... Natmnal Conference of Cate - ocClUt "both school and tionwide survey conducted in The adult survey segment who were involved in adult for-  " aUe T|Tlrograms seem to be ef- 1992 was designed to compare the matron" programs, chetical. Leadership. and the tag" s H ta for the stud came reh ous formatmnback ound ence cl (y communicating a Da y "gi " gr In addition, those adults re- Natmnal Federatmn for " ,,., affect, of from rauz as Understanding the education programs of of the two groups, their reli- ported that those programs Catholic Youth Ministry. :ture : : eating i ,jER f '69