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August 7, 1998     The Message
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August 7, 1998

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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana August A medley of advice: Possessions, parables of warning By FATHER DONALD DILGER Gospel Commentary for August 9, 1998: Nine- teenth Sunday: Ordinary Time: Cycle C: Luke 12:32-48 dismiss it. Even if it were not directly from Jesus, it is from the gospel. Thus, whether Jesus made such state- ments directly or not, does not deter from its being a part of divine revelation contained in the gospels. Last week's commentarynoted that even Luke will qualify this radical advice with his later story of Zaccheus in Luke 19:1-10. We might be more comfortable with a gentler form of this advice as it is given in Tobit 4:7-11, "Set aside part of your goods for almsgiving. Never turn your face from any poor person and God will never turn his face from you. Measure what you give by what you have. If you have much, give more. If you have little, give less, but don't be mean in giving alms. By doing this you will provide for yourselves great treasure in hard times• Almsgiving delivers from death .... It is a most effective offering in the presence of God for all those who do it." The rest of today's gospel consists of two para- bles warning about being ready for Jesus' final return. The first parable or story applies to every Christian; the second parable to church leadership• In the first parable Christians are told to be dressed and have the lights on just like servants waiting for their employer to come home from a wedding party. They must be ready to open the door for him. If they are thus ready, the boss himself will tell them to sit down and will serve them supper. A bit farfetched, we might say. The details of parables may not be pressed too close- ly. The point is that a Christian must be ready at all times for the return of Jesus• Luke had to deal with this matter because both Paul and Mark had con- vinced themselves and convinced the Churches that Jesus was about to return. Luke and Matthew had to deal with the resulting crisis of faith when Jesus did- n't show up as expected. Instead of applying this parable to Jesus' return in the "parousia" or end time coming, let it apply to his coming as judge and friend to each individual at death. Thus Luke's final warn- The first part of today's Lucan gospel contains material which Matthew enclosed in his Sermon on the Mount. This is a good demonstration of how vari- ous Jesus traditions floated freely and were incorpo- rated into different contexts by different authors• Luke might have put this material into his Sermon on the Plain, his counterpart to Matthew's Sermon on the Mount, but he did not. Instead he included it in this potpourri of catechism-topics we call chapter twelve. The first topic serves well as a conclusion to the parable of last Sunday's gospel in which Christians were warned not to make the acquiring of posses- sions the goal of their lives, who "lay up treasures for themselves but are not rich with God." In other words, they are advised to share what they do not need. To give up wealth would perhaps have taken more of a leap of faith than many could muster. Thus today's gospel begins, "Do not be afraid, little flock, because your Father will enjoy giving you the king- dom." Instead of building their own empire on earth, they are promised the kingdom of God. Therefore, "Sell your possessions and give alms. Provide your- selves wallets that don't grow old, containing heav- erdy treasure that will not fail you, the kind no thief will steal and no moth devour." This is radical advice and we may cringe as we read it. Recently a man, confronted with this advice found in both Matthew and Luke, dismissed it with an expletive and categorically denied it as Jesus' teaching. The evidence of authenticity is too strong to ing to every Christian rings true, "You also ready, for the Son of man, (Jesus) is ,coming at an unexpected hour•" Luke distinguishes the audience or object of next parable by portraying Peter as asking Jesus, "Are you telling this parable for us or for body?" Then Peter & Company get their own ble. They represent Church leadershil and all time. In his absence, the owner of or estate sets over it a trusted supervisor. to it that all in the household are cared for ly. When he returns, if he discovers that his agent has been faithful to his duties, he will putl in charge of everything he owns. What agent says, "My boss will be gone a long time." He mistreats the other servants and spends his tying and getting drunk. His employer will .... an unexpected hour and punish him w severe beating or a light beating according to deserves. The parable ends with whom much is given, much will be required." Were things really that bad in Church at .the end of the first century? Maybe so, find other evidence. For example, I Peter 5:2, shepherd's care to God's flock entrusted to for shameful money, but out of sheer devotion,: domineering over them but being examples The First Letter to Timothy warns cials must be "married only once, tern fled, able to teach, no lovers of money, violent, not quarrelsome, etc." Not a if the advice were not needed, it would given. Power, real or imagined, ly when, among Christians, it becomes for being a servant to others .... ;i Readings: Wisdom 18:6-9; Hebrews 11:1-2, $  Luke 12:32-48. Golden Jubilarians Cornelius and laabelle (Wolf) Bittner of Haubstadt will celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving at 1-.30 p.m. Aug. 8 at St. James Church, Haubstadt. A reception will follow at Haubstadt Park. They were married Aug. 12,1948, at St. Joseph Church, Vanderburgh County. They are the parents of Mary Ellen Lane of Cherry Hill, N.J.; Martha Ringenberg of Fort Wayne, Ind.; Nancy VanNielen of Kingwood, "rex.; Patricia Farrell of Brandenburg, Ky.; Roy Bittner of New Holstein, Wis.; Tony Bittner of Owensville, and Kenneth Bittner and Greg Bit- tner, both of Haubstadto Their son Richard is deceased. They have 12 grandchildren. Mr. Bittner is semi-retired from farming. Mrs. Bittner is a homemaker. Special Jubilarians Victor and Louise (Snyder) Schutz of Jasper will celebrate their sixtieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving on Aug. 8 at St. Joseph Church, Jasper. They were married Aug. 16, 1938, at St. Joseph Church, Dale. They are the parents of Betty Lou Roos of Floyd Knobs and Mary Kaye Krieg of Jasper. They have five grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. Mr. Schutz is a semi-retired shoe repairman; MrSchutz is a retired cafete- ria employee for the Greater Jasper Schools. i \\; TRUCK AND TRAILER SALES 10000 STATE HW'Y 57 * EVANSVILLE, IN 47732 i i i Knights Co00 O00N, .... I FrL • OP-00.To SERVING C . Steak. Sea FOod"' DAVIESS COMPANY, Joan Grannan, M! Peoples Bank Washington, FLOWERS & Complete Floral "-I TY.WIDE I AREA LIVERY" & (812) 42, 1-80 Bob Jacobs 1000 West Frankli