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August 9, 1996     The Message
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August 9, 1996

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August 9, 1996 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana I II I III I II I 9 -- Commentary-- A walk on water: An attempt to walk on water Gospel Commentary for Au- gust 11, 1996: Nineteenth Sun- day: Ordinary Time: Cycle A.. Matthew 14:22-33 Immediately following the feeding of the multitude Jesus or- ders the disciples to cross the Sea of Galilee to the opposite shore, while he goes into the hills alone to pray. As the disciples were crossing the sea, a strong wind whipped up the water into large waves. They made no headway. About 3 a.m. Jesus comes walking by on the water. No, there were no hidden rocks to walk on! The disciples are fright- ened and shout, "A Ghost!" Jesus replies, "Courage! I AM! Do not be afraid!" Thus goes the first part of today's gospel. What was the purpose of such a story within the context of Matthew's gospel? Matthew takes the story from Mark and leaves it almost intact. The tradition of Jesus walking on the sea after feeding the multitude appears in Matthew, Mark and John. Only John specifically connects this episode with Passover. The feeding of the crowd and crossing the sea are bound up intimately in the gospels to re- mind readers that they are the continuation of an- cient Israel. Just as the Israelites ate the first Passover meal and then crossed the Red Sea into freedom by the power of Yahweh's "mighty hand and outstretched arm," so Christians are taught , that the power of Yahweh is present in Jesus to feed them and to protect them with his mighty deeds. This is why Matthew adds immediately to By FATHER DON DILGER COLUMNIST the crossing of the sea a brief sum- mary of miraculous cures that Jesus worked on all the sick who were brought to him. Yahweh's mighty hand and outstretched arm are still with them. This message is all the clearer in the words with which Jesus iden- tifies himself, "I AM," the title with which Yahweh is so often identified in the Old Testament. Without a doubt first century Christians saw in Jesus' walk upon the sea a fulfill- ment of Psalm 77:19, "Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters, but your footprints were unseen." What was said of Yahweh is now said of Jesus. We also need to recall that early Christian interpreters of this story, both in art and in literature, saw the boat on the storm- tossed waters as the Church in its struggles against persecutors. Only the presence of Jesus brings calm, peace and security to the Church. At this point in his gospel Matthew inserts the second part of today's gospel reading, Peter's at- tempt to walk on the water. This is one of three tra- ditions about Peter that occur only in the Gospel of Matthew. The leading hypothesis about the place of origin of Matthew's gospel is that it was written for the Church of Antioch in Syria. Antioch was a huge metropolis in the first century. It had a large and prosperous Jewish community from which the Christian community originated as one form of first century Judaism. We know from the New Testa- ment that Peter's ministry was for some time cen- tered in Antioch. It is therefore reasonable to expect some unique traditions about Peter in a gospel orig- inating in the Church of Antioch. Matthew inserts the attempt of Peter to walk on water into the story of Jesus walking on water. At the sound of Jesus' voice Peter says, "Lord, it if is you, command me to come across to you on the water." Jesus replies, "Come on down!" Peter begins to walk on the water, but then gets cold feet when he sees the size of the waves and feels the wind. He began to sink. He shouted: "Lord, save me!" Jesus reached out and caught him by the hand and pulled him up. They got into the boat and the wind ceased. The disciples worshipped him and said: "Truly you are Son of God." Fascinating how Matthew chops off Mark's ending to the story and substitutes his own. Mark had written, "And he (Jesus) got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. They were utterly as- tounded because they didn't understand about the loaves and their hearts were hardened." This is a terrible indictment of the disciples by Mark. They remain in the dark and stupid as always. Matthew's story of Peter's walk and the ensuing adoration and recognition of Jesus as Son of God lifts the whole episode to a higher level. It becomes a faith story. Just as the Church is saved from the storm in Jesus' presence so the individual Christian here represented by Peter is saved by Jesus reas- suring presence and touch. Like Peter, we some- times act boldly in faith, but then we begin to doubt. It is then that we recognize that Jesus gives the strength to continue and we cry out: "Lord, save me!" Readings: I Kings 19:9a, ll.13a; Romans 9:1.5. alien" gna t alter" . coriC ouches is self" raPhiC s a d l, sollle nstant USCC ,ally o ag is l (13 colors slightly higher) metal ....... $26.95 to $37.95 sq. 3 metal.......$18.95 to $29.95 sq. 5V and 1-1/2"galv. In Stock OVERHEAD DOORS Over 300 in Stock x 7 Insulated ................. $239.81 TRUSS RAFTERS Any size up to 100' span POST BUILDING PKGS Size -- Call for Free Quotes CO. METAL SALES Hwy. 50 E., Cannelburg. 4 mi. E. Montgomery 812-295-4229 FOR COMPLETE SERVICE 3TRIC INC. SCHNELLVILLE, IN 389-2418 Ed. L. Lee Mortuary North Meridian Street IN 254-3612 M&S Fire & Safety Co. Inc. Over 25 years sales and , service in the Td-state E.Franklln 424-3863 Washington Auto Trim 27 Years Service & MORE Floral Service SERVICING ALL AREA HOSPITALS & FUNERAL HOMES 1931 W Bob Jacobs est Franklin St., Evansville . . Golden Jubilarians Charles and Ruth (Lamey) May will celebrate their fifti- eth wedding anniversary Aug. 17. The couple was married Aug. 13, 1946, at St. James Church, St. James. They are the parents of four children: Janet Weber and Ed May, both of Haubstadt, Gary May of Newburgh, and Stan May of Fort Branch. They have 11 grandchildren, and one great- grandchild. Mr. May retired from Carpenters Local 90 in 1986. DUBOIS COUNTY BANK MEMBER OLD NATIONAL BANCORP Member FDIC YOUR FIVE STAR SERVICE BANK I I AUTO TOPS . SEAT COVERS BOAT COVERS STEREO SALES & INSTALI-ATIONS 254-3943 HWY 50 EAST, BEHIND UPS CENTER EUGENE WELPo OWNER IIII II II I I II II I ] I I I Four WEST CHAPEL Convenient Locations 3033 w. MARYLAND ST. + + II III I IIII IIII il I _t : ; ......... ..... Golden dubilarians Oscar and Elizabeth "Bette" (Doerr) Harte of Evansville will celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving at 11 a.m. Aug. 17 at St. Benedict Church, Evansville. A family dinner will follow at the Old Mill. Friends and relatives may call from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at the Old Mill The couple requests no gifts. They were mar- ried Aug. 17, 1946, at Assumption Cathedral, Evansville, by Msgr. Pierre Brisse. They are the parents of four chil- dren: Pam Ozeki of Birmingham, Ala., Toni Dziegiel of Old Hickory, Tenn., and Becky Scheller and Monica Collier, both of Evansville. They have eight grandchildren. Mr. Harte worked for Zenith Electronics Corp.; Mrs. Hart is a housewife. Please Support YOLIR FAMILV PHAI00V00,CX/' Stratman's Pharmacy City-Wide Delivery 413 Locust Street John and Judy Stratman 425-5293 ,, Oak Hill Pharma00 Prescription SpeciaSsts Hwy. 62 and N. Weinbach Ave. LARRY SCHULTHEIS, Prop. 425"4422 + _ * _ +., Message Advertisers I PAUL'S PHARMACY Paul Mayer, Owner 2345 W. Franklin SL 425-4364 armacy Newburgh Plaza Shopping Center Fatt Pm=crkm Send+ Ken and Rebecca Hacker 853-7141