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September 4, 1992     The Message
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September 4, 1992
 

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_September 4, 1992 The Message Monthly Commentary -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 15 ByFAT.E. l DONALD DILGER I Gospel Commentary for Sunday, Sept. 6. 1992, Twenty.third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C: Luke 14:25-33 In the preceding parable of the great banquet, ast Sunday's gospel, the lord of the house ordered is servants to go out into the streets and bring in all they could to dine at the banquet rejected by those invited first. Not only were they to bring in especially the "poor, the lame, the blind, the maimed," but they were to compel people to come in from along the highways and streets. The ques- tion therefore arose in Luke's church community: "If everyone is compelled to come in, won't there be SOme who are not fit Matthew dealt with this question by adding to his version of the parable of the great banquet a second parable about a man who got in without a Wedding garment. We come now to Luke s version of qualifications for entrance: "If anyone does not ate his own father and mother and wife and chil- dren and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his OWn life, he cannot be my disciple." How can such a statement appeal to anyone? Did Jesus ac- ually say this or is it Luke's theology of renuncia- on or the theology of the Christian community r which he was writing? Matthew put this same severe and unappeal- ing statement into another context. Either he made a change in the original or Luke did. Matthew Renunciation of family and life: A serious undertaking writes: "The one who loves father and mother more than me is not worthy of me," then adds the same about son and daughter. If Luke's state- ment was the original statement of Jesus, then the usually grim Matthew finds it indigestible and changes it to a statement that is no longer con- trary to the basic instinct of love for our own family. We might add that frequently members of the same family do hate each other,but usually this is rather due to jealousy, envy, greed and love of money rather than love of Jesus. But Luke adds a clause about hating even one's own life. So much for "I,m O.K. You're O.K.!" The usually gentle Luke knows no com- promise in the matter of following Jesus. He be- comes more explicit. Those who would follow Jesus must be ready to follow him all the way to the cross. Luke is well aware that by the time he is writing his book some Christians have already followed Jesus to the cross by being crucified Luke, however, also knows that such an event is not likely for his community. Thus elsewhere in his book he changed this saying to read: "Those who wish to come after me, let them take up their cross daily and follow me. "From actual crucifixion Luke has broadened the concept of taking up the cross to mean the daily troubles that afflict all of us, especially those troubles that we undergo because we are Christian. Now Luke adds two short parables to demonstrate that Christianity, the following of Jesus, is not something to be undertaken lightly. Those who intend to put up a building must first sit down and figure out how much it will cost. Otherwise, they will begin but be unable to finish. The other parable speaks of a king who wants to wage war. He has to sit with his counsellors and see if they have the means to accomplish the pur- pose of the war. If not, he sends an ambassador to his potential enemy and asks for the terms of peace Although we find Luke's approach of "hating" one!s family a bit overdone, we can ac- cept Matthew's interpretation of this "hatred" as meaning that a Christian loves Jesus more than spouse, or parents, 0r children. The gospels do need interpretation. Just as the gospel writers el: ready widely practiced interpretation and further application of Jesus' sayings, so we may do the same. The basic message of today's gospel is per- haps best summed up by a statement written in the Letter to the Romans: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Tribulation, distress, per- secution, famine, etc.? I am sure that neither death nor life.., nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Other readings for Sunday, Sept. 6: Wisdom 9:13-18; Philemon 9-10, 12.17. .... .... for ......... " Excerpts special love for those whom society You cannot serve God and y. Following ects. Luke 1fl:1,13, A crooked manager: a clever d parables: the manager. : Luke takes up a frequently occurring theme dled "the of his gospel -- the wise use of wealth .... Luke The message Luketries ends with a statement that cuts to the heart of the hook is that God matter .... 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