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August 22, 1997     The Message
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:22, 1997 The Message m for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 9 Commentary m ion to a sermon: Rejection and a profession of faith Commentary for 1997: Twenty-First Ordinary Time: Cycle B: 6:60.69 For the past four Sundays the gs were taken from first reading consisted of by which Jesus fed five people with a few loaves of and a few fish. We noted that the Gospel of John the miracles "signs," i.e. they signify or a reality beyond themselves seven of these signs rang- from Jesus changing water into the wedding feast of Cana in chapter two to of Lazarus in chapter eleven. To of these signs John attaches a sermon or dis- explaining the significance of the miracle in to the identity of Jesus, who he is, what does. To the miracle of feeding five thousand John ;ermon demonstrating how Jesus' teach- new manna that the Father is giving from right now, how Jesus is not only the ultimate of the words or teaching of God in the Torah incarnate. Since the Scrip- spoke of the study and observance of the Torah eating and drinking, John applies this metaphor teachings and to Jesus himself as the as God's final teaching to be taken Spiritual food, a food that gives immortal life. were made in the second and third from John 6. The fourth selection, went a step further. If Jesus as God's is to be received under the symbolism through faith in him and his teaching, then himself, i.e. his flesh and blood, are to be taken and drink in a sense so real that John insists l the truth of this three times and with an oath. At he uses language nearly gross, that to have life one must gnaw or munch on Jesus. drinking blood! F By FATHER DON DILGER COLUMNIST When we recall that John writes for Jewish people, whether Christian Jews or other, to whom the Scriptures absolutely forbid the use or ingestion of blood in any form, and to whom Jesus' words would have sounded like cannibal- ism, rejection was to be expected even within the Christian commu- nity. This reaction is what John describes in this final selection from John 6. "Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, 'This is a hard saying. Who can listen to it?" What was said earlier of Jewish opposition to Jesus' words, that they murmured, is now said of the Christian com- munity itself. John therefore equates these Chris- tians with the ancient Israelites who would not trust God in the wilderness and were ultimately rejected from the promised land. John next argues from a greater to a lesser point. If we believe that Jesus as a human being (son of man) has been taken into the glory which the Son had with the Father from eternity, then it is surely possible that the words of Jesus about eating his flesh and drink- ing his blood can be trusted. John adds a caution, "The words that I have spoken are spirit and,life2 In other words, only one born of the spirit, a believ- er, one who has committed to Jesus and his words, is capable of accepting this teaching. As John wrote earlier in the sermon, "No one can come to me unless the Father draws teat person." For them and for us, where the senses fail, faith comes to the rescue. Thus John adds, "It is the spirit that gives life. The flesh is of no help." As there were unbelievers among the ancient Israelites, so it was to be among the new Israelites. John writes, "There are some of you who do not believe." Then he reassures his readers that this was not entirely unplanned, when he adds, "Jesus knew from the first who those Were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him." John had already compared unbelievers in the Christian community to the ancient unbelieving Israelites who were rejected from entering the promised land. Now he compares them to Judas. He adds this additional indictment when he portrays Jesus as saying, "Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?' He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was to betray him." How could this happen not only with Judas but with those who followed his example by rejecting this teaching? The answer: "This is why I told you, none can come to me unless it is granted by my Father." Or as John writes in I John 2:19, "They left us but they were not of us, for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us, but they went out, that it might be evident that none of them are part of us." John notes that many disciples withdrew from Jesus and refused to be seen with him. So much for the negative reactiop. The author could hardly close this chapter without a positive reaction from faith- ful Christians. Simon Peter becomes their spokesperson. At this point in the story John por- trays Jesus saying to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?" Peter answers for all faith-filled Chris- tians, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God." This great profession of faith returns to earli- er themes of this chapter. The Scriptures affirm that the words of the Torah give life. Jesus is the Torah incarnate. His words give eternal life. His credentials? He is "the Holy On of God," a name derived from Isaiah 49:7, used of the Servant of Yahweh. In Isaiah this servant is loathed and despised by some but will be victorious because he is chosen by the Lord who is true to his words. where our senses and understanding fail, we join with Peter to profess that the words of John in this chapter are words of eternal life from God who is faithful to his words and sent his Holy One to reveal them. Amen! Amen! Readings: Joshua 24:1.2a, 15.17, 18b; Eph. esians 5:21.32. KofC 6679 !RGING WITH SERVICE" WINNING COUNCIL , INDIANA Count on us for professional medical care, any time of the day or night. IB IBV1 FSS IImCOUhHY M BHOSP1TAI. J314 Grand Avenue Washington, Indiana 47501 (812) 254-2760 www.ddmsp.org POST UILDINGS Your Lot References BUILDING PKGS. -engineered packages for Low Prces. SS RAFTERS to 100' AD DOORS Hundreds in Stock Our Pr/ce= ROOFING In Stock.  Inch. ices Around, !SS CO. METAL E., Cannelburg. Montgomery 812.295-4299 812-295-4344 Golden Jubilarians Clarence and Emma (Buechler) Wilmes will celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 31 at Holy Family Church, Jasper. A din- ner for invited guests will follow at the Knights of Columbus Home in Jasper. The couple requests no gifts. They were married Sept. 6, 1947, at St. Ferdinand Church, Ferdinand. They are the parents of three children: Allen Wilmes of Auburn, Betty Verkamp of Jasper, and Arthur Wiimes of Indianapolis. They have seven grandchildren. Mr, Wilmes is retired from Jasper Lumber Co.; Mrs. Wilmes is retired from Holiday Liquors. Golden Jubilarians Linus and Hilda (Metzger) Rahman of Ferdinand will cele- brate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a Man of Thanksgiving at 2 p.m. Aug. 23 at St. Ferdinand Church, Ferdinand. A dinner for family and friends will be followed by an Open House from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Ferdinand Com- munity Center. The couple requests no gifts. They were mar- ried Aug, 26, 1947, at St. Ferdinand Church. They are the parents of 11 children: Marcella Harpenau of Branchville, Carol Lueken of Birdseye, Martha Demuth and Frank Rah. man, both of St. Meinrad, Margaret Hoffman, Mary Jo Giesler, Doris Klein, Alan Rahman, Edwin Rahman, Steve Rahman and Connie Rahman, all of Ferdinand. They have 25 grandchildren, and four great.grandchildren,