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October 4, 1996     The Message
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October 4, 1996

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1996 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 9 Commentary-_ Another parable: Anc ther vineyard Gospel Commentary for 1996: Twenty'Seventh Time: Cycle Matthew 21:33.43 Two Sundays ago we began a of parables from Matthew's are known as "vine- ." The first was laborers hired at different My, yet all receiving the ame pay. Last Sunday's gospel a parable about two sons who asked by their father to work family vineyard. Matthew vineyard parable. A planted a vineyard. He surrounded it with a and built the equipment needed for wine- He rented it out to tenant farmers and left live in another country. Eventually he sent to collect rent. The tenants beat them them. They did the same to the second sent by the owner. Finally he sent own son, thinking the tenant farmers would respect his son. Instead they threw him out eyard and killed him. At this point the parable as Jesus spoke it have ended, perhaps with a frequently used "Those who have ears to hear, let them an invitation to search for the meaning of the This is how the parable of the wicked ten- in the Gospel of Thomas. What did to teach in what seems to be the origi- form of the parable? As in the preceding para- he was speaking to his critics and their objec- his association with the poor and the By FATHER DON DILGER COLUMNIST outcasts of society. Jesus' critics knew instinctively that reference to a vineyard was a reference to the whole people of Israel. Often in the Old Testament a vineyard is used as symbol for Israel. Isaiah 5:1-5 speaks of a man planting a vineyard and caring for it. Isaiah's parable is the source for the vineyard parable in the gospel. The vineyard fails to produce good fruit and is destroyed. Isaiah then explains: "The vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel and the people of Judah are his pleasant planting." They also knew that Isa- iah used his parable to criticize bloodshed and injustice toward the poor. Jesus therefore warns his critics by hinting that they are no better than their ancestors who were criticized by Isaiah seven hun- dred years earlier. The parable is also an invitation to them to join him in reaching out to those suffer- ing injustice and to the outcasts of society. Taking their lead from Isaiah who already alle- gorized his parable by naming the owner of the vineyard as "the Lord of hosts" nd the vineyard itself as Israel, the early Christian Church devel- oped and added to the parable. The servants sent by the owner have undoubtedly become the ancient prophets sent to the Israelites. They were frequent- ly mistreated. Some were killed. A question was added to the parable about what action the owner would take. Jesus himself answers the question in Mark, while in Matthew "the chief priests and elders of the people" answer the question. This is Matthew's way of indicting their ancestors for per- secuting and killing the prophets and blaming them for the death of Jesus. Later in his gospel he will blame them for the death of martyrs even before there were any Israelites or Jews. Strange indeed but understandable in the bitter climate created by the conflict of emerging Christianity with its moth- er Judaism. Their answer to Jesus' question: "He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their season," has two purposes for Matthew. The first is to refer to the destruction of Jerusalem about fifteen years earlier than Matthew's gospel was written and to put the blame for its destruction on the chief priests and elders. The second purpose is to justify the Church's turn- ing to the Gentiles. To be sure no reader misses his point Matthew adds: "Therefore I tell you, the king- dom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing its fruits." If we understand the parable as Jesus taught it, we are invited, as were the critics of Jesus, to join him in reaching out to the poor, those in every kind of need, to the outcasts of society, to do so even in the face of criticism. We can also learn from the parable in its more developed form. First, we disas- sociate ourselves from the obvious bitterness and anti-Judaism we see in Matthew's form of the para- ble. We recall rather the words of St. Paul that God has not rejected his people, that they are the holy root onto which we have been grafted. Secondly, we are cautioned against rejecting through slander, harassment, ridicule, silencing, or excommunica- tion those who may be today's prophets. Readings: Isaiah 5:1.7; Philippians 4:6.9. Sarah W. Bess, B.M.. M.A. I! FIRST LESSON ..................... All ages.. P/ay with pleasure }1 S. Bennighof, Evansville, IN 47714 (812) 477-2233 SHOULD WHAT SAYIN6 AJIOUT US. I depend on . lot. I don't know what would have done without her." Gilbert &hm.itt, Oakland City, IN I've felt that I have to do this type of woak. will very rewarding to be a You must have love in Worktn omatter ;, "" ! love i. g  r VNp. " ,.n .od:k,,. Pc;i, of,h, v...r. needs the specialized , please Plus today. Golden Jubilarians John and Mary Margaret (Zinkan) Bradley of Washington will celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving at noon on Oct. 6 at St. Mary Church, Wash- ington. A dinner for family and invited guests will follow at the Community Building at East Side Park in Washington. An Open House for friends will be held from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Community Building. The couple requests no gifts. They were married Oct. 1, 1946, at St. Peter Church, Mont- gomery.. They are the parents of Elaine Phemister. They have two grandchildren. Mr. Bradley served in the army during World War II; he worked at N.W.S.C. for 30 years. Mrs. Bradley is a graduate of St. Vincent School of Nursing; she worked at D.C.H. for 22 years. TAWIL ELECTRONICS, INC. COMPUTERS, NETWORKS, SALES & SERVICES INDUSTRIAL ELECTRONICS PARTS DESIGN, INSTALLATION, TRAINING & REPAIR ON LOCAL & WIDE AREA NETWORKS LANTASTIC NOVELL UNIX ZENIX 812-425-1100 , 2!21 NORTH BEDFORD'AVENUE EVANSVILLE, 11(i47711 SERVINGTHE TRI-STATE SINCE 1977 SO I  WASHINGTON-SHOALS-LOOGOOTE E I Golden Jubilarians Edward and Ardella (Klem) Humbert of St. Anthony will cel. ebrate their fiftieth wedding anniverury with a Mass of Thanksgiving Oct. 6 at St. Anthony Chm'eh. Dinner for fam. ily and invited guests will be served at the St. Anthony Community Center;, an Open House will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. at the center. The couple requests no gifts. They were married Oct. 8, 1946, at St. Anthony Church by Father Aloy. sius Fischer. Mr. Humbert is retired from Hoosier Desk; Mrs. Humbert is retired from Styline Furniture. I I All You Care To Eat Buffet Dining . FAMILY STYLE DINING AND A-LA CARTE BANQUET ROOMS AVAILABLE PRE-ARRANGED AMISH TOURS :: :: ....... , ,.... ,,,-, :.., .. ;, ;;., ': Village, Sho I..:: ' a800-3900z. ,,: , ' PS I I . _ =Y Y receive 15 ;S offl I ! In Montgomery, IN , .. i