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August 23, 1996     The Message
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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 13 August 23, 1996 Commentary-- Teaching mission continues: The promise to Simon Peter Gospel Commentary for August 25, 1996: Twenty-First Sunday: Ordinary Time: Cycle .4: Matthew 16:13-20 Jesus and his disciples go northward into heathen territory. Jesus asks of his disciples a sam- pling of public opinion about him- self, "Who do people say that I am?" They reply that some think he is the martyred and resur- rected John the Baptist, while others think of him as a returned from heaven Elijah, or a returned from the dead Jeremiah. Then Jesus asks their own opinion. Simon Peter, speak- ing for all, says: '`you are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." Now Jesus compliments Peter: "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona (Johnson), for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven." Then follows the promise to Peter: "You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death (gates of hell) shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, whatever you.unbind on earth, will be un- bound in heaven." The ontext or arrangement of material into which Matthew put this episode is instructive. Jesus warns the disciples about "the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." By the word "leaven" the disciples are reminded that they brought no bread when they left home. They become "straight men" for the lesson that is to follow. They think materially while Jesus elevates their thoughts to the immaterial. He scolds them for crass material- By FATHER DON DILGER COLUMNIST ism. He directs their thought to the miraculous feeding of five thou- sand, then four thousand people. Then he clarifies that the real meaning of the feeding of the mul- titude with bread and fish is that the material food was symbolic of his teaching. It is this teaching which is to replace the "leaven" or teaching of the religious leadership of Matthew's time. But after Jesus' departure into a life of glory, how is Jesus' teach- ing mission to be continued? The episode related in today's gospel answers this obvious question, a question that must have been hotly debated toward the end of the first Christian century when Matthew wrote his gospel. Mark, Luke, and John, all written in the last third of the first century, all had to deal with this question. Mark portrays Peter as spokesperson for all the disciples and sin- gles him out as a special recipient of the news of Jesus' resurrection. Luke not only portrays Peter as chief spokesperson, but depicts Jesus telling Peter to "strengthen your brethren." John adds to his gospel a whole appendix chapter (21) describing Peter's role in the Christian Church. Interestingly, in the Gospel of John, Peter is neither fisherman nor keeper of the keys, but rather the shepherd who feeds Jesus' lambs and sheep. But all four gospels have the same message: Simon Peter was left in charge by Jesus. The metaphor and concept of the keeper of the keys is adopted from the Old Testament and recast in a new set of circumstances. The keeper of the keys was an officeholder in ancient royal adminis- trations, a kind of prime minister. In Isaiah 22:15- 23, Shebna, steward of the House of David, master of the royal palace, is removed from office. In his place is chosen Eliakim of whom it is said: "I will clothe him with your robe, and will BIND him with your sash, and will commit authority to his hand. He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the House of Judah. And I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David. He shall open and none shall close and he will close and none will open. And I will fasten him like a peg in a sure place.., and they will hang on him the whole weight of his father's house .... " Roman Catholics believe the office or mission of Peter is continued in the Bishop of Rome. Whether we think of Simon Peter and his successor spokesperson for the Christian Church (Mark), or as the one who strengthens his brothers and sis- ters (Luke), or as shepherd of Jesus' sheep (John), or as keeper of the keys (Matthew), we must not imagine that the office of Bishop of Rome or what came to be called the papacy had evolved in the time of Peter as it is today. We should rather imag- ine Peter as a simple Galilean, a Jewish-Christian missionary proclaiming Jesus as the promised Messiah of Judaism, as he traveled from city to city, from church to church, riding on an ass, a humble beast of burden or farm animal. One doubts that acclaiming and swooning crowds waited to greet him and touch him. Simon Peter came to the churches as the humble and repentant servant he was. St. Paul tells us he was accompa- nied by his wife. It is important to occasionally look back to how it all began. Thus we can be re- minded that those who style themselves as ser- vants of God's servants must live and act as ser- vants. Readings: Isaiah 22:19.23; Romans 11:33.36. M&S Fire & Safety Equip. Co. Inc. Over 25 years sales and service in the Tri-state 670 E. Franklin 424-3863 O.O.W'N'T'O'W'N 301 MAIN ST. VINCENNES, IN 47591 Vincennes Bicknell Sandborn Monroe City AmBank. P,n00t0n Member F.D.I.C. & MORE Complete Floral Service FREE--3 SERVICING ALL Y-WIDE I AREA HOSPITALS LIVERY -J & FUNERAL HOMES (812) 424-8931 1-800-545-7296 St., Evansville Golden Jubilarians Richard and Frances (Donahoo) Luigs will celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a dinner and dance Aug. 31 at Resurrection Church, Evansville. The couple was mar- ried Sept. 28, 1946, at St. Joseph Church, Evansville. They are the parents of two children: Gary Luigs of Dallas, Tex., and Ronald Luigs of Evansville. They have six grandchil- dren, and one great-grandchild. Both Mr. and Mrs. Luigs worked at Bernardin. 486-3977 Just off Hwy. 50 All You Care To Eat Buffet Dining FAMILY STYLE DINING AND A-LA CARTE BANQUET ROOMS AVAILABLE PRE-ARRANGED AMISH TOURS Browse The Village Shops Every Monday Seniors receive 15% off! Golden Jubilarians Lowell and Joan (Jerger) Glendening of Celestine will cel- ebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving at 10 a.m. Aug. 25 at St. Raphael Church, Dubois. A dinner for invited guests will be served at the Knights of Columbtm Home, Jasper. An Open House will be held there from 2 to 5 p.m. The couple requests no gifts. They were married Sept. 3, 1946, at St. Mary Church, Ire. land, by Father Louis Becher. They are the parents of five children: Elaine Klag of Portland, Ore, Charles and James, both of Celestine, John of Vail, Col, and Paul of Gresham, Ore. They have three grandchildren. Mr. Glendening is re. tired from the Dubois County Bank. DUBOIS COUNTY BANK MEMBER OLD NATIONAL NCORP Member FDIC YOUR FIVE i If i STAR SERVICE BANK