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August 16, 1991     The Message
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August 16, 1991

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.__August 16, 1991 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana i ii Commentary II II  Maas Readingg Gospel Commentary for Sunday, Aug. 18, Twentieth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle B: John 6:51-58 The "eucharistic discourse" continues from last Sunday. Then the gospel ended with the words: "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world." This sentence is repeated at the beginning of today's gospel. It sets, the stage for the second objection of the Jews, i.e. the Jewish leaders or more likely the Jewish opposi- tion to John's Christian community about 90-95 A.D. The objectors wonder how Jesus can give his flesh to eat. Nothing would have been more ab- horent to Jewish readers and hearers of these words than the eating of human flesh. The prophet Jeremiah speaks with horror of the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in the sixth cen- 'tury, B.C. Among the horrors that took place was the eating of hmnan flesh by the starving besieged people inside the city. But the author of John does not backtrack in the face of this objection. He goes even beyond the earlier statement. Not only must the followers of Jesus eat his flesh but must also drink his blood if they are to have life in them. Drinking blood was alsa an abomination to the Jews. They would not even use the blood of animals for nourish- The discourse continues: 5 Bread of life as eucharist merit. The covenant with Nee, Genesis 9, when giving the people permission to eat animal flesh, stipulates as follows: "Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that it, its blood." For these people it was the blood that caused and con- tained life. Life belonged to God alone. No human being was allowed to consume that life. John continues to emphasize eating tile flesh of Jesus and drinking his blood. There is a promise for those who do so: "Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life and I will raise them up on the last day." Final resur- rection was promised earlier in this discourse to those who would respond with faith to the teach- ings of Jesus. We combine the two sayings as meaning that eternal life comes through eating the flesh of Jesus and drinking his blood as an act that flows from the faith already possessed by those who accept the teachings of Jesus. Only a believing reception of the body and blood of Jesus, the Eucharist, brings about eternal life and resurrection.Thus Paul could warn his Corinthi- an Christians about eating the bread and drink- ing the cup unworthily, i.e. without the disposi- tion that comes from faith. There is still more insistence on the reality: "For my flesh is food indeed and my blood is drink indeed." Then another promise: "Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood live in me and I in them." The reception of the Eucharist therefore brings about a mutual intimacy be- I I tween Jesus and the t:elieving recipient. John de- velops the concept el this mutual intimacy later in the parable of tile vine and the branches, chapter fifteen. The intimacy is not only with Jesus but with tile Father: "I in them and you in me, that they may become perfe.ctly one." More- over the intimacy is not only with the divine per- sons but also with other believing and receiving Christians "that they may become perfectly one." Finally John, like tile superb teacher he is, summarizes what he has said and returns to the theme of the manna with which God fed the Is- raelites in the wilderness: "This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the kind the ancestors ate in the desert. The one xho eats this bread will live forever." One hears almost an echo of St. Paul's teaching about the inability of the law, in his opinion, to give life. For Paul the Law of Moses is surpassed by faith in Christ. We have seen in preceeding articles how Jewish the- ologians centuries earlier had interpreted the manna as symbolic af the teachings given through Moses. We might say that John and Paul converge on this point: Those who ate the manna, the old law, died. Those who eat the true bread from heaven, Jesus and his teachings, have life eternal. Other readings for Sunday, August 18: Proverbs 9d-6; Ephesians 5:15-20. I I BINGO- NOVELTIES GAMES - DRINKS FOOD & FUN ARTS & CRAFTS $1500 CASH TO BE GIVEN AWAY! 8th annual money hunt for kids! St Bemards Famous TURTLE SOUP By the Bowl or Gallon Beginning lit 11.'00 C.D.T. $10 ATTENDANCE PRIZE EVERY HOUR (Fortrlosewhomgister) LOTS OF SHADE UNDER THE BIG-TOP! II leaders while the visitation was being conducted. In June, the diocese said the visitation team found a number of abuses, including excessive leadership control of members' private lives, se- crecy and some fundamental- ist and elitist attitudes. The statement also praised the faith and commitment of community members, howev- er, emphasizing the underly- ing positive values of the community. At his Aug. 2 press confer- ence, Bishop Ottenweller said he wants to give the commu- nity "whatever time it takes" to restructure. "While the community is making an honest effort to re- structure, they realize, as we do, that it will not occur overnight," he said. "The i ii 00#SPR I III I leadership already has held 16 thi'ee- hour meetings with- in the last six weeks." "When you have to change a way of thinking, a way of being together, it's not easy," he said. He said the community continues to celebrate the Sunday liturgy together while Leaflets Continued from page 1 ed after he published a book which pronounced the rite of celebrating Mass to be "the Great Sacrilege." The pamphlet distributed over the past weekend is enti- tled, "Freemasons . . . And the Changes in Catholicism." The pamphlet seeks to prove | ml HWY. 231 SOUTH JASPER, INDIANA 47546 PHONE: 812-482-3800 "rilE ONLY BANK YOU'LL EVER NEED" i [ II I -- AUTO TOPS, SEAT COVERS , BOATCOVERS q STEREO SALES & INST&LATIONS 254-3943 I-IVY 50 EAST, BEHIND UPS CENTER EUGENE WELP, OWNER i i "Where customers send their friends!" Open nightly til 9 p.m. hOl" & 00ns, Inc. Gee. .(../&. TOYOTA OLD US 231 SOUTH - JASPER, IN - ;$82-2222 1-800-937-USA1 ii .... i u . , ...... . . i, the restructuring is going on. Despite the community's difficulties, the bishop said, on the positive side commu- nity members have continued to sustain friendships and work through the problems together. "Covenant communities are not evil. A covenant commu- nity is a good thing," he said. i that the new order of Mass is "the greatest triumph of the Masonic effort at Vatican II." The pamphlet has caused concern. Father Eugene Dewig, pastor of Sacred Heart Church, Evansville, said he believes some people may be confused and unaware that the priory operates without the approval of the local church in Louisville. Pamphlets were distributed at Sacred Heart Church Sun- day. They were also distribut- ed Sunday at St. John the Baptist Church, Newburgh, where Father Joseph Ziliak, the pastor, found the contents to be upsetting. The pamphlet is the subject of Father Ziliak's commen- tary, in his regular column, found on page 10. |1 " I .... Main Stmet Pharmacy 217 E. Main St,- Downtown Washington Phone: 254-5141 Delicious Chicken & Dumplings " ancF Roast Beef Dinners Rockport, Indiana SUNDAY, AUG. 25, 1991 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. ST. BERNARD'S PICNIC STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (CNS)  Bishop Albert H. Ot- tenweller of Steubenville said he is pleased with the reform efforts being made by Ser- vants of Christ the King, a large Catholic charismatic Covenant community in Steubenville. At a press conference Aug. 2 he said he and the commu- nity have taken initial steps toward re-establishing the "fellowship parish" status that he withdrew from the group earlier this year when I I :" By Mary Dorsey Callahan Catholic News Service problems surfaced. In January Bishop Otten- weller formed a team of church experts to visit the community and evaluate alle- gations that it had developed problems in leadership and religious formation. At that time he ordered the community to sever its ties with Sword of the Spirit, an interfaith, international charismatic leadership orga- nization based in Ann Arbor, Mich., which had taken over the governance of the com- munity. At his request the commu- nity elected new interim II Steubenville bishop pleased with charismatic reform efforts