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August 27, 1993     The Message
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27,1993 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 9 Commentary .- A suffering Messiah: Taking up the cross Gospel Commentary for Sunday, Aug. 29, Twenty-second Sunday, Ordinary Time, Cycle A. Matthew 16:21-27. BN FATHER DILGER COLUMNIST Last Sunday the gospel read- ing ended with the exaltation of Peter. He professed his faith in Jesus as Son of God. In turn Jesus declared him the rock on which he would build his Church. Peter was given the keys of the king- dom, the authority to make bind- ing decisions for Jesus' followers. Not only did Peter proclaim his faith in Jesus as Son of God, he also accepted him as Messiah, the anointed king sent by God to free his people from oppression and restore the kingdom and line of kings descended from David. This is how Peter seems to understand the term "Messiah," a pow- erful military-religious-political leader. A correction was needed. Matthew now places the first Passion prediction of Jesus as a corrective. Jesus was to gain and establish his kingdom not through wars and politics but through suffering. A strange idea indeed, Peter must have thought. Not only does Jesus speak of his obligation to suffer, but says he will be killed through the influence of the religious leadership, and that he would rise on the third day. Too much for Peter. He pulls Jesus aside and begins to reprimand him. Jesus' reply: "Get be- hind me Satan! You are a scandal to me. You are not on the side of God but on the side of men!" What a contrast to the promise of the keys and proclamation of Peter as rock on which the Church is built! The bedrock of the Church has suddenly become crushed rock. Peter could accept the idea of Jesus as Messiah, but not as a suffering Messiah as God had planned it. It is here that Peter's later public denial of Jesus has its roots. A few remarks about Jesus' words to Peter. The classical meaning of the Greek word for scandal referred to the stick that holds up an animal trap. When an animal moves that stick or piece of wood, the trap falls and closes around it. Peter's interpretation of "Messiah" was a trap for Jesus and the Church. Jesus rejects power as a tool of Satan. We recall that much earlier in this gospel Satan tempted Jesus with universal power of var- ious kinds in the triple temptation scene. In that episode Jesus' reply to Satan is almost identical to his reply to Peter. When Jesus orders Peter to "get behind me," it is a reference to discipleship. It was the custom of a disciple to walk behind his teacher. In other words, the promise of the keys of the kingdom to Peter does not raise him above discipleship. Matthew adds five sayings of Jesus about the difficulties of discipleship and the reward await- ing a faithful disciple. A follower of Jesus must deny himself and take up the cross and follow him. This is the headline. The earliest Christians must have interpreted this statement as meaning to follow Jesus to martyrdom. There is another interpretation. It seems to have been the custom among the Jews of ancient times to mark them- selves with the form of the Hebrew letter tau, equivalent to our T-- a cross-like form. This seems to have been practiced as a sign of repen- tance and of being branded as God's possession. This marking of the tau or cross was connected with penitential rites. Thus Jesus could be saying that those who do not mark themselves with the cross (tau), i.e. in repentance, cannot be his dis- ciples. Others think that the word "cross" was in- serted into Jesus' saying after his death on the cross and after some Christians had been mar- tyred in the same Way. Those who follow this opinion think Jesus said, "Take up my yoke," as he says in Matthew 11:29, "Take my yoke upon you." The "yoke" of Jesus is his interpretation of the Law of Ivloses in contrast to more stringent interpretation, as Jesus said: "My yoke is easy, my burden is light." Whatever the original saying of Jesus may have been, the context of this whole gospel read- ing teaches us today that self-denial is an impor- tant part of following Jesus. Self-denial involves suffering, a non-aggressive way of life. Aggres- sion, power, and pompous display are rejected as being tools of Satan. The kingdom of Jesus is not gained by power. Instead Jesus gave us the possi- bility of using suffering as the path to resurrec- tion and glory. We are also warned that whatever our position in the Church may be, our life must reflect the way of the cross rather than any power or glory that may flow from that position. "What does it profit someone to gain the whole world... ?" Other readings: Jeremiah 20: 7-9: Romans 12:1-2. PART-TIME RECEPTIONIST NEEDED 14 hours per week. Monday through Thurs- 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Responsibilities include: Light clerical work, answering the phone and the door. Knowl- e of Word Perfect and/or some computer would be helpful. Send your resume to: St. Mary's Catholic Church, 609 Cherry Street, Evansville, IN 47713. Attn: Helen Boettcher  Peoples Trust Company SOUTH MAIN STREET P.O. BOX 191 LINTON INDIANA 4744" 1 ,,00W,,erecustome.ssen.','00e,r00en.,s" ' Open nightly til 9 p.m, hop-& Son OLD US 231 SOUTH JXSPEe, iN - 482-2222 G00'O TOYOTA )id You Know: 1-800-937-USA1 Linco Coffee Sences CIERA is most trouble free car made in America J. D. Powers EVANSVILLE SERVICE AND SHOPPING GUIDE II II FOR THE BEST PLUMBING SERVICE RESIDENTIAL COMMERCIAL G (FREE ESTIMATES) RANT PLUMBING CO. 484 S. GOVERNOR AT CANAL Ph. 424-2441 Carpet Cleaning SERVICE MASTER Sales & Service "IV & 2-Way FM 1916 W. FRANKLIN STREET PHONE (812) 423-7849 Herman Goebel Motor Co. NEW OR USED CARS Where the best deals are made Trade up or clown Bank Fmoncing 2OO1 W. Delaware 423-7759 M&S Fire & Safety Equip. Co. Inc. Over 25 years sales and service in the Tri.state 670 E. Franklin 424-3863 For Free Estimates Total Beverage Distributor Indiana - Illinois - Kentucky 46 Vaflettes of Coffees and Teas WHATEVER YOUR TASTE. >.WE CAN MATCH IT Washington 254-4409 Evansville 422-1833 STEEL ROORNG "Over 30 Semi Loads in Stock" 36" coy, #I std. white .......... $40.95 sq. (Prem. & colors slightly higher) 24" coy. 26 ga. white,...$32 95 sq. #2 metal ....... $19.95 to $36,95 sq. Scrap metal panels ...... $18.95 sq. 5V galv ............................. In Stock 1 1/4 calv. corr ................. In Stock 1 1/2 calv. con" ................. In Stock OVERHEAD DOORS Hundreds in Stock 9 x 7 Insulated ................. $209.95 A TRUSS R.AFTRS ny size up to 80 span POST BUILDING PKGS Any Size -- Call for Free Quotes EXCELLENT PRICES DAVIESS CO. METAL Hyw. 50 E,, Cannelburg. 4 mi. E, Montgomery 812-295-4229 II III II I Evansville Wet Heat & Piping Co. Inc. New & Used Boilers, Furnaces Repair & Replacement 24-099 ! s0o E. Oron Golden Jubilarians Edward and Hettie (Peters) Dauby of leffersonville; Ind,, will celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving at 1 p.m. Aug. 28 at Sacred Heart Church, Jef- fersonville. All friends and relatives are invited to attend. They have eight children, including Mary Catherine "Catie" Thompson and Benedictine Sister Agnes Marie Dauby. both of Evansville. i i i H| i " i Funeral Homes WEST CHAPEL 3033 W. MARYLANO ST. Four Convenient Locations