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September 27, 1996     The Message
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:ptember 27, 1996 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 13 -- Commentary-- Confrontation in Jerusalem: Parable of two sons Gospel Commentary for September 29, 1996: Twenty- Sixth Sunday: Ordinary Time: Cycle A: Matthew 21:28-32 In the framework and plan of Jesus' life that Matthew adopted from the Gospel of Mark, Jesus" has reached Jerusalem for the final confrontation with the reli- gious authorities of his people. Strange to say, this is the only time Jesus visits Jerusalem in Mark and Matthew. His ministry from baptism to arrival in !:i ! d By FATHER DON DILGER COLUMNIST Jerusalem is approximately one year in these two gospels. It is valid to question the historical accuracy of such a presentation because the Gospel of John portrays Jesus visiting Jerusalem many times during what seems to be a three'year'ministry. Whatever the historical situa- tion may be, all the gospels show a confrontation between Jesus and the Jerusalem authorities. The setting for the confrontation is in the tem- ple. During a tumultuous entry into Jerusalem Jesus was acclaimed by the people..He entered the temple and drove out the merchants and money- changers. During this confusion Jesus claims the temple as his own, i.e. "my house." To demonstrate. that it is indeed his own place, he heals the sick in the temple to the further acclaim of the people. He is confronted by the religious authorities and leaves the city for the night. In the morning he returns to the temple, where he is met by a delegation of chief priests and elders. They demand to know by what authority he has acted as he did the day before. Jesus confuses them with a question, then presents to them the parable of the two sons. A man had two sons. To the first he said, "Go work in the vine- yard." The first son refused, but later changed his mind and went anyway. The father gave the same order to the second son, who replied, "I am going," but did not. Then the question: "Which did the will of his father?" They had to say, "The first." Here the parable should have ended as parables do, but Matthew depicts Jesus offering an explanation of the parable. John the Baptist came preaching his mes- sage of repentance. Society's out- casts believed his message and repented. The authorities also heard John but refused to believe and repent. It is clear that the second son of the parable represents them. The sec- ond son only pretended to obey his father but did not. If the historical Jesus spoke this parable to the Jerusalem authorities, it would have been without an explanation. They were supposed to draw the conclusion. This is how parables were used in teaching. The speaker tried to involve those who were the object of the spoken parable. The first son" represents the people who seemed unworthy of their father, who at first reject his appeal. The authorities are invited to see themselves in the sec- ond son. Their positions of power and wealth meant to them that they had found God's favor. The low state of others was interpreted as due to their sin- ful lives. Did Jesus gain his hearers by this appeal? Perhaps, Matthew later mentions Joseph of Ari- mathea, a wealthy man and probably a member of the high council, as a disciple of Jesus. The Gospel of John mentions Nicodemus, also a member of the high council, as a secret disciple of Jesus. Luke tells .us that many priests accepted the Christian procla- mation later on. Thus we see how Jesus may have used this parable. It had other lives, one in the mind of Matthew, another in early catechesis after Jesus and before the written gospels. For Matthew the parable is the opening salvo against the Jewish leadership that did not accept Jesus as messiah. Matthew builds his case with bitter denunciations that come to a climax in chapter twenty-three. He blames all the Jewish religious authorities for Jesus' death, and eventually the whole Jewish peo- ple. He does this despite the many instances in his gospel that show the people acclaiming Jesus and despite the fact that all the first Christians were Jews. His gospel reflects the bitter struggle between emerging Christian Judaism and its moth- er Judaism at the end of the first century, not at the time of Jesus. This parable fits into that whole Matthean picture. The Church after Jesus would have used the parable as a justification for the acceptance of Gen- tiles into the Jewish-Christian community. They were represented by the first son who at first refused his father, then repented and obeyed. The second son represented tongtime members of the Church who scorned the latecomers who were of Gentile origin. Today this parable warns against an attitude of superiority toward others whom we con- sider not as good or as favored by God as ourselves. There is always the possibility of the last becoming the first. As Matthew writes so graphically: "The tax collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you." Readings: Ezekiel 18:25.28; Philippians 2:1.11. Dr. Jane A. Hormuth Chiropractic Physician 474-0704 Hormuth Chiropractic IIc. 1111 S Green River Rd., Suite 104 M&S Fire & Safety Equip. Co. Inc. Over 25 years sales and service in the Tri-state 670 E. Franklin, 424-3863 L. HAUBSTADT ELECTRIC Licensed. Bonded. Insured Industrial, Commercial and Residential EO Box 405 TONy NAZARIO Haubstadt, IN 47639 812-768-5207 1-800-766-2787 ]. (812)254-2641 BUILDING SAVINGS'BANK FSB 200 E. Van Trees St Washington 500 Main St., Petersburg N'S FIRESTONE SERVICE, INC. 1400 W. Franklin Evansville, IN 424-5000 _- SERVICE ELECTRIC INC. IN F .OWENS & MORE Floral Service f"- FREE--,-3 ] CITyoWIDE ] SERVICING ALL AREA HOSPITALS "DELIVERY"I & FUNERAL HOMES (812) 424-8931 1 "800-545-7296 Bob Jacobs 1000 West .Franklin St , Exalayillq" Golden Jubilarians Arthur and Patricia (Buehner) Sammet of Evansville will celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving Oct. 5 at Sacred Heart Church. A buffet and dance will be held at the Evansville Athletic Club. The cou- ple was married Oct. 5, 1946, at St. Anthony Church, Evans- ville by Msgr. Ketter. They are the parents of Gary Sammet of Jacksonville, Fla., and Karen Baehl of Evansville. Their son, Capt. Steven Sammet, is deceased. They have six grand- children. Mr. Sammet is retired from Whirlpool. I Main Street I Pharmacy 217 E. Main St. Downtown Washington Phone: 254-5141 LinCo Coffee Services Total Beverage Distributor Indiana-Illinois.Kentucky 46 Varifies of Coffees and Teas WHATEVER YOUR TASTE, WE CAN MATCH IT Washington 2544409 Evansville 422-1833 I Golden Jubilarians Ray and Elizabeth (Sehroering) Rush of Mount Vernon will celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving at 50 p.m. Oct. 5 at St. Philip Church, St. Philip. A reception will follow until 10 p.m. in St. Philip's Center. The couple requests no gifts. They were married Oct. 1, 1946, at St. Raphael Church, Dubois, by Father Joseph Terstegge. They are the parents of seven children: Kathleen English and Janet Witmeier, both of Newburgh, Marvin Rush of Ste. Genevieve, Mo, Nicholas Rush of Evans. ville, R/chard Rush of Valparaiso, and Alyce Dixon of Evans. ville. Their son, Larry, is deceased. They have 14 grand. children, and three great-grandchildren. Mr. Rush retired from Southern Railway Co. in 1981; Mrs. Rush retired from St. Philip Cafeteria in 1981.