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!ust 28, 1992 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Commentary 9 00y00AT.00R DONALD DILGER Gospel Commentary for Sunday, August 30, 1992, Twenty-second Sunday, Cycle C: Luke 14: 1, 7-14 Luke teaches us two lessons in today's gospel: (1) not to exaggerate our own importance: (2) a special love and concern for the poor and handicapped. Jesus is invited to dinner at the home of an important Pharisee. The Pharisees were the lay religious leaders of the time, strict observers of the law and all its traditions. Like any other social group there were good people and not so good people among them. In general the gospels do not speak well of the Pharisees, but there are indications that some of them were quite friendly with Jesus while others strongly opposed his views. The dinner at the home of the Pharisee was on the Sabbath, perhaps after synagogue services. Tle food would have been prepared prior to the beginning of the Sabbath at sunset on the seventh day of the week. A man with edema was at the dinner. Jesus asks if it is lawful to heal on the Sabbath. He knew that their answer would be negative but they did not reply. Jesus healed him and put them to shame with a statement to this effect: "If your child or animal falls into a pit on the Sabbath, wouldn't you pull them out?" We might say that Jesus did not conduct himself well as a dinner guest when he committed an affront to the religious sensitivity of his host. But he didn't stop there. Jesus noticed that as the guests came in they were seating themselves in the most honorable places, i.e. next to their host and his family. Jesus Places at the table: The guest list tells them a parable based on ancient folk wis- dom and on similar statements in the Scriptures. When you are invited to a dinner, take the lowest place. When your host notices this he will tell you to move to a more honorable place and you feel yourself honored in the presence of all the guests. If you take too high a place, you will be asked to move down and will feel ashamed in the presence of all. Then the lesson: those who exalt themselves will be humbled, while those who humble themselves will be exalted. Let's look at some similar statements from both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. An in- teresting form is found in Ezekiel 17:24: "And all the trees of the field will know that I the Lord bring low the high tree and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish." Paul writes in I Corinthians 1:28: "God chose what is low and despised in the world even things that are not, to bring to shame the things that are." The prime example is from Philippians 2:8-9: "Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not consider equality with God a thing to be tightly grasped, but emp- tied himself, taking on the form of servant, born a human being." Now Jesus' peculiar conduct as a dinner guest continues. He turns to his host with some advice. Instead of inviting your friends, relatives, rich neighbors to your dinners, he ought to invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind. This would pull down a blessing upon the host, because such guests cannot repay in kind. One suspects that this was the last invitation Jesus re- ceived from this particular host. Whether or not Jesus actually affronted his host in this way is beside the point. The story contains a typical Lucan theme which is un- doubtedly based on the interest Jesus himself took in the poor and handicapped. Luke in- cludes it in his gospel not for biographical pur- poses, but rather to teach his own Christian community a lesson in conduct toward the poor and suffering humanity. We may suspect that Luke saw some abuses in his community in this matter, perhaps similar to what the author of the Letter of James saw, when he wrote: "If a man with gold rings and fine clothes comes into your gatherings, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in, you pay attention to the one who wears fine clothing.., and you dishonor the poor man." It should be obvious to us that Jesus/Luke is also speaking directly to us. It is much easier to associate with those we call our own kind. Most of the readers of this column and the hearers of this message are not among the economically depressed. They are people with homes, cars, savings, and other comforts of middle and upper class American life. If we cannot invite the poor to our table, we can at least share with them so they have a roof over their heads, a table at which to eat, and food upon that table. God bless Habitat, the St. Vincent de Paul Soci- ety and their Ozanam Shelters, Food Banks and Food Pantries for their response and imitation of Jesus to come to the aid of the poor. Other readings for Sunday, August 30: Sirach 3: 17-18, 20, 28-29; Hebrews 12: 18-24. Movie code is focus of meeting with Cardinal Mahony By MARK PATTISON Catholic News Service HOLLYWOOD (CNS] The head of the Writers Guild of America's Hollywood branch has met with Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of Los An- geles over the cardinal's con- cerns with the content af cur- rent movies. Del Reisman, president of the Writers Guild of America West, said he met Cardinal Mahony after a February sym- posium during which the car- dinal suggested "perhaps the time is ripe for the entertain- ment industry to consider the advisability" of having a code to guide the making of movies that would be apart from the Motion Picture As- sociation of America's rating system. Reisman and the cardinal have also met since then, Talks also have also contin- ued between Reisman and Capuchin Father Gregory Coiro, the Los Angeles Arch- diocese's communications di- rector. Cardinal Mahony's remarks at the symposium were widely misinterpreted as a call for bringing back the Hays Office code, which gov- erned movie-making from the 1930s into the 1960s. But the cardinal was asking for a voluntary industry code "in which guidelines can be developed by the industry it- self," Reisman said. Such a code would deal with personal values, per- sonal relationships,-a mini- mizing of violence, sexual ac- tivity, and so on, he added. Reisman said Cardinal Ma- hony was "bothered" that his idea for a voluntary code and the call made later in the symposium for a return to a Hays-style code by Dr." Ted Baehr, head of the Atlanta Christian Film and Television Commission, were "seem- ingly joined as one." "The cardinal firmly be- lieves there is a causal rela- tionship between (action) on Diocesan employees required to sign morals, ethics statement SUPERIOR, Wis. (CNS] Starting this fall, lay, clerical and religious employees in the Diocese of Superior will be required to complete and sign a "morals and ethics as- surance statement." The statement certifies that they have never been con- victed, disciplined or dis- charged from employment be- cause of juvenile prostituting, child pornography or ex- ploitation, physical or sexual assault or illegal distribution, possession or use of drugs. Violation of the policy could mean loss of employ- ment or some other disci- pline, said Father Philip Hes- lin, moderator of the diocesan curia. "We make it clear in our policies that (such behavior) is contrary to Christian prin- ciples of morality ... and will not be tolerated," he said. All diocesan priests, pas- toral administrators, youth ministers, school principals tors have been encouraged to attend workshops explaining the policy. Under the new policy, if a priest admits or is found guilty of sexual misconduct, or if he does not contest it, he will immediately be sus- pended from ministerial the screen and what happens in our streets," Reisman said, adding that he disagrees with Cardinal Mahony on that point. "My own experience is a very simple one, in which the use of narcotics by an entire generation some years ago, in the '60s, was not dramatized, in television or feature fihns, at all -- until that was a fact of life," he said. Reisman said he and Father Coiro have debated the con- tent of movies several times on radio and before audi- ences. "We're coming closer to- gether. I'm now saying to writers we have to do a better job Of our homework. We have to listen to all of the American voices. Not all evangelicals are like Jimmy Swaggart or Tammy Bakker or the fictional Elmer Gantry, . and we have to look at that." and religious education direc- duties. I I I SECRETARY/TYPIST The Tribunal Office at the Catholic Center has an opening for someone proficient in word-processing. 40 hrs/wk. Phone 424-5536, ext. 127. II II I III I I I St. Vincent- Vincennes PICNIC Sunday, August 30 Chicken Dinners Fricasee Serving 11 a.m. - 2 p.m, 11 a.m. till ??? Bowl & Carryout Family Games Country Store - Flea Market Novelty Booths Fun, Games and Concessions for Young and Old HIGHLAND WOODS HART STREET ROAD 1 MI. S.E. OF VINCENNES I I I III