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August 26, 1994     The Message
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lUSt 26, The Message w for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana m 9 ention lease Rock" Commentary -- Clean and unclean: Food and people Gospel Commentary for Au- 28, 1994, Twenty.first Sun- Ordinary Time, Cycle B, 7:1-8, 14-15, 21.23. Jesus has just returned from a of villages on the northwest Sea of Galilee. He min- with all and was physically by many. This seems to be important point for Mark as he the story about clean unclean food. According to some of the more rigid ob- of the oral traditions sur- the Torah or Law of ;s noticed that Jesus' disciples ate without their hands. For these observers the prob- not so much a matter ofhygiene but of rit- purity. To keep pure or clean from a religious or ritual int of view one had to wash when returning from lblic contact, such as a trip to the market place. ere one might come into contact not only with rit- dly unclean Jews, but even with an unclean peo- 5, the Gentiles or pagans. The foundation of this ea is found in Leviticus 15, a chapter having to do ith bodily discharges. In 15:11 we read: "If anyone !s a discharge and touches someone without hav- g rinsed his hands in water he shall wash his thes and bathe himself in water and be unclean ltil evening." By a broad interpretation the tibes, scholars who adapted the ancient laws to ryday life, contended that ritual cleanliness de- tnded the washing of hands before eating. This in kelf is a great idea, but that omitting this ritual ansing excluded a person from religious assem- es and from contact with others seems strange to By FATHER DON DILGER COLUMNIST us. Contact of an unclean person with a "clean" person resulted in ritual uncleanness for the previ- ously clean. The result could be an endless chain of unclean persons. Such regulations could make life difficult especially for working people and for the poor. This was all the more so in a country with limited water sources and long be- fore "running" water in the houses of the majority. The portrayal of Jesus by our gospels indicates that he had great sensitivity toward working people and the poor, that he spoke out against religious laws that made life more difficult than it had to be. So we can well-imagine Jesus reacting to such a law or interpretation of law as ritual washings. This is, however, not what Mark wants to say. Whatever stories he included in his gospel were chosen for their application to the life of Christians at the time when he wrote, probably about 40 years after the death of Jesus. It was a time when Judaism and Christianity were begin- ning to go their separate ways. The Christian Church was now filled with non-Jewish Chris- tians and Jewish Christians. The question there- fore Was: how many of the Old Testament regula- tions for pious Jews are obligatory for Gentile converts? This was an important question because Christianity was still in a sense Judaism and so converts became, so to speak, Christian Jews. We know from other parts of the New Testa- ment that the distinction in the Law of Moses (the Torah) between clean and unclean foods was widely debated in early Christianity. Mark gives his answer in today's gospel reading m that Jesus declared all foods clean. Mark's Jesus at first does not answer directly the objection of the scholarly critics to his disciples "uncleanliness." He confronts them instead with an accusation that the type of re- ligion they promulgate is a religion of rote, of exter- hal observances. He accuses them of letting their traditions obscure and even replace the intention or spirit of the original law. Real uncleanness, the Marcan Jesus teaches, comes from inside, not from outside a person. Then he lists what constitutes real uncleanness w evil thoughts and the deeds result- ing from them. As Mark applied this story to life in his Christ- ian community, so must we do to ours. There are many possibilities but two come to mind. In the matter of tradition obscuring or replacing the lawi we have studied the sixth chapter of John's gospel for the past five Sundays. According to pur interpre- tation of John the author insisted on the necessity of eating and drinking the body and blood of Jesus. Throughout the world one wonders how many Christians are deprived of even the possibility, be- cause making the Eucharist present is possible only through celibate men. Would Jesus say: "You make void the word of God through your traditions?" A second point: Mark uses the declaration that all foods are clean to apply also to people, i.e. there are no unclean people, regardless of color, race, reli- gion, country of origin, gender, or even disease. We read elsewhere in the New Testament: "God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him." Readings: Deut. 4:1.2, 6.8; James I:I 7.18, 21.22, 27. f simP alter ie t ,fe cases ter )penS. , iss ,etrie ' es of s4 at are brPJ'zd y eCe S he U, stiozZ psted' Fen Jubilarians tad Clara (Schaefer) Oeding of Ferdinand will cel- their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of ving at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 3, at St. Ferdi- Urch, Ferdinand. A dinner for invited guests will at I p.m. and an Open House will be held from 3 to it the St. Meinrad Community Center. The couple t no gifts. They were married Sept. 2, 1944, in the ad Archabbey Church. Father Raphael Hirsch of. They are the parents of two daughters, Mary of Santa Claus and Carol DeKemper of Jasper. ave four grandchildren. Mr. Oeding is the retired tad operator of the Oeding-Luebbehusen Feed I I III II I III I I I I I 1994 Annual Charismatic Renewal 9nference "Come Holy Spirit-- Heal Our Hearts" September 10 & 11, 1994 TOPICS: Saturday Healing through the Sacraments Sunday Evangelization Speakers: Fr. A1 Lauer--ordained a Catholic priest for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, OH in 1974. Fr. Lauer has taught high school, ministered as chaplain of a hospital, and ministers in pri- sion. In 1990, Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk assigned Fr. A1 to engage in a full-time, national ministry of evangelization. Jack Elsaesser-Jack is married to Sue and they are fromHamilton, OH. The couple has been empowered to heal in Jesus" name. The), minister in parishes around the country, as well as through their TV program "in Jesus' Name.." Man), have been healed of cancer, heart condi- tions, and MS through their minisW. Jack and Sue have worked in Presentation Ministeries since 1983. Registration is at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Catholic Center in Evansville, LNI (4200 N. Kentucky Ave.), talks begin at approx. 10:30 a.m. Day ending with a Healing Mass at 6:30 with Fr. Lauer. Sunday is to open up at 9:30 a.m. with praise and end at 1:30 with a final mass at Christ the King Church (3101 Bayard Park Dr.) Evansville. PLEASE NOTE: No food (meals) will be served. We have a number of restaurants nearby) Our music will be led by Frank and Martha Cook. There will be "a $5.00 donation/person. For info/reservations for rooms at Sarto please f, flJlll Carol at (812) 425-9787 or  at 771 Tulip Ave., Evansville, IN 47711. n i a] i r ]  I i B B .................. mlrll iii i