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September 8, 1989     The Message
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September 8, 1989
 

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September 8, 1989 C, 00mmentary The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5  Mass Readings By FATHER DONALD DILGER Gospel Commentary [or Sunday, Sept. 10, 1989 Twenty-third Sunday, Cycle (74 Luke 14:25-33 Luke has just composed his version of the parable of the. great banquet. All those invited had excused themselves from acceptance of the invita- tion. The head of the house tells his servant to go out into the city and bring in the poor, the maimed, the blind, the lame. These are Luke&apos;s favorite classes of people and we don't find them in Matthew's version of the same parable. But there was still room at the table. The head of the house again tells the servant to go out to highways and hedges and compel people to come in "that my house may be filled." Here Luke refers to the Gentile or non-Jewish people, some of whom made up the Christian community for which he was writing. But no doubt the question was frequently asked: Just what are the qualifications for being a follower or disciple of Jesus? Can absolutely anyone walk in the door and be a part of the Christian community? There must have been dif- ferent answers in widely separated communities. For his answer Luke reaches into one of his literary sources, the source we call "Gospel Q". There he found the qualifications that the "Q" community demanded and made them his own. "If anyone comes to me and does not HATE his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot by my disciple." This is a severe saying and not characteristic of the gentle person we usually see behind the Gospel of Luke. Absolute renunciation: a severe side of Luke How can we explain a saying that seems so contrary to nature and common sense? We could blame "Q" whose theology breathes fire and severity but we have to admit that Luke made this his own point of view by adopting it into his Gospel. Luke frequently changed one of his sources, the Gospel of Mark, to express less severi- ty toward groups like the Gentiles or the Twelve Apostles whom Mark depicts in such a derogatory way. But in the sayings about following Jesus, Luke allows no compromise. Can we interpret this saying so that it does make sense to the ordinary Christian? One interpretation is that a Christian is called to this type of "hatred" if the persons to be re- nounced would be opposed to one's following of Jesus. In the face of family opposition natural af- fection that would keep a person from being a Christian would have to be renounced. Such situa- tions are not to be relegated to the century from which our Gospel comes. They can and do occur to this day. We do not like the word "HATE" that Luke uses here but for him it expressed the ab- solute necessity of separation from family in the face of unalterable opposition to one's being a Christian. Like ourselves, Luke was a child of his times and this type of theological atitude was not unique to Christianity. At Qumran, (the monastic com- munity from which the Dead Sea Scrolls originated), the members of the community were instructed to HATE "the children of darkness," i.e. all those who were not members of their com- munity. It is not unlikely that after the destruction of Qumran in about 73 A.D., some of these people would have fled and found a home in Christianity. Their influence could be at work in such a severe statement as we have before us. The Gospel of Mat- thew also indicates the influence of Qumran theology (see Matthew 6:43 and "HATE your enemy"}. There is another interpretation, a very official one, of this severe saying from "Gospel Q". We find it in Matthew 10:37. Matthew retains the same saying from "Q" but changes "HATE" to "he who LOVES father and mother MORE THAN ME." The Matthean version makes a lot more sense to us. It does not change Luke's words or intentions but it allows us to have an interpretation of the original statement making it far more palatable to us. We can thank a usually severe Matthew for just once allowing us to see a softer side of his personality. However, the point of Luke's Gospel remains the same. Christianity is a serious matter and should not be undertaken without thorough reflec- tion. This is why Luke next adds two little parables. A person who wants to put up a building must first be certain that he has the resources 'to complete it. The king who goes to war must con- sider whether he is able to win. Otherwise he had better not start the battle. Those of us who were "horn" into Christianity have a tendency to take it lightly. This gospel reading calls us to a considera- tion of what it can mean to be a Christian. Other readings for Sunday, September 10, 1989: Wisdom 9:13.18; Philemon 9.17 iiii "Where customers send their friends!" , Open nightly til 9 p.m. .:, 7 , . our Convenient Locations it L_ ZIEMER-SHEAF .!: t &S! CtiAP{ t t,/)k) S. tl t/4ON Avl Miraculous Medal shields woman from bullet By KATE PIPKIN Catholic News Service BALTIMORE (CNS) -- If she hadn't been wearing her Miraculous Medal, 53-year-old Lennis Fewster of Shrine of the Little Flower Parish in Baltimore might not be alive to- day. The Miraculous Medal was the only thing that came be- tween her heart and the thief's bullet, she says. She said the incident began about 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 9, her birthday, when she was waiting for a bus in Baltimore, on her way home from her part-time job at a public library. She was silently praying the rosary as she stood at the bus stop, she said. Her prayerful reverie suddenly was inter- rupted by someone trying to grat) her pocketbook, The 4hief yanked her around ; si. clut(:h'ed the !ol:ketbuok. Then ".',i.; heard i hm! :rm:k. "". tl:(.!4!',t h,.' it!ri .i IdT. 'i{q Vn::. ' \\; h I :" ' ,-[,i' ,','!U!.! ,'; IL'. ' EATON Monument Company Inc. 2200 State Street Washington, IN 254-0500 punched her in the stomach and knocked her to the ground, she said. At that point he got the pocketbook and ran off. Still unaware she had been shot, Ms. Fewster climbed unsteadily to her feet and went back to the library to get help. It wasn't until she arrived there that she noticed blood and knew she had been hurt, she said. Paramedics soon arrived and took her to Johns Hopkins Hospital. "The Miraculous Medal had been split in two by the bullet, and the bottom half was embed- ded in my chest," Ms. Fewster said. "The doctor said the medal saved my life." Police recovered Ms. Fewster's rosary and a bullet casing at the bus stop. Ms. Fewster said she keeps the, broken medal with her m a plastic bag. "'] think this was re,ire than itl>;l ;oil]ci(hmce," :-;hi; .'aid. "] ieal'nc, i Ihli, X-liii"' !s ;)l:Ot,-Cli!ig ,]!' ']"lit} i,(Jl'(! [)4i [ :'t?dli\\; i'l' lit' ill? x,!ir;li',tih)th'-; \\;ll'! i :(!hx-, t<1il\