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October 6, 1995     The Message
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_October 6, 1995 The Message- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 9 --- Commentary- Faith and works: Service without claim Gospel Comntentary for the Twenty-seventh Sunday, October 8, 1995, Cycle C, Luke 17:5.10 Luke finally gives us a break from the drumbeat of renuncia- tion of all we own. As mentioned in earlier commentaries, Luke has collected material in this section in a framework of Jesus' journey to Jerusalem. Every disciple is ex- pected to take that same journey, a journey that ends with the cross and resurrection. The framework of the journey to Jerusalem is ;" ........ 1 By FATHER DON DILGER COLUMNIST used by Luke as a time for inst- ' ruction of Jesus' disciples. What Luke really in- tends is a kind of catch-all or catechism for in- structing the people of his Christian community long after Jesus left the earth. Not everything in this catechism follows a logical sequence. Under a supposed title of"mis- cellaneous', the apostles suddenly say to Jesus: "Increase our faith!" Jesus responds: "If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted, and be planted in the sea,' and it would happen." That's it. There is no more on the subject. Luke will immediately switch to another subject. Why this subject here? Since we see this section as a cate-' chism, and since there has been not one mention of faith in the journey to Jerusalem, it was time for Luke to raise this subject. What does it mean? Obviously moving a mul- berry tree with its huge root system is a .metaphor, symbolism. To use faith to move a tree is strange, but it is even stranger to plant a tree in the sea. We are used to a say- ing attributed to Jesus about faith moving mountains but that is Matthew's version of Jesus' say- ing. In fact, Matthew has two sim- ilar sayings. The first, Matt 17:20, speaks of faith moving a mountain from place to place. The second, Matt 21:21, speaks of faith casting a mountain into the sea. Matthew puts the first into an understand- able context of faith bringing heal- ing. He puts the second saying within the context of prayer. Prayer with faith brings results. Luke has no context at all, just something to preserve at this point because he has no other.place to put it and wants to insist on the importance and effectiveness of faith or trust in God. The metaphor says no more than that faith can accomplish great things. The next subject Of instruction on our jour- ney to Jerusalem is a parable. If you have an em- ployee who does good work and finishes his work, does the employer then invite the employee to come and dine and waits on him? No. Instead he asks the already tired employee to prepare sup- per for him and serve as waiter at his table. Only then may the employee eat. And all his work was done without so much as a "thank you" from the employer. What conclusion does Luke draw from this parable? When you have done everything you are supposed to do, the proper attitude is this: "We are unworthy servants. We have done only what was our dutv." Luke never heard of "I'm O.K. You're O.K." Perhaps this is part of his theme of total renunci- ation. More likely it is his way of saying that no matter what we do, it gives us no right to demand anything from God as if God owed us anything. Paul would say that there is no room for human boasting. Since the previous section was about faith, one might be tempted to say that Luke preaches that faith alone suffices to make an indi- vidual righteous or acceptable to God. But Luke did not omit the duties of the servant, plowing, herding sheep, waiting at table. These are all in- cluded as duties or works. In early Christianity the terms "plowing, shepherding, waiting at table," all took on theo- logical meaning. One may see this little parable addressed not only to all Christians but more to the special ministries developing at the time when Luke was writing, the eighties of the first Christian century. The New Testament indicates by this time the ministries of prophet, teacher, preacher, elder, deacon. Luke may be talking to Church leadership. This is all the more possible since it is the apostles who have just been men- tioned as requesting faith and it is to them that the Lucan Jesus directs this parable. Thus, Luke would be close to Matthew, though more delicate, in warning Church officials against perks, privi- leges, or any kind of special recognition. This does not prevent today's gospel from being taken to heart by all. Faith will accomplish great things. Even though we do our work and await God's gra- cious mercy without claim, the Lucan Jesus also said: "Blessed are those servants whom the mas- ter finds awake when he arrives.He will.., have them sit at table and will come and wait on 'them." Readings for 27th Sunday, Cycle C, He. brews 1:2.3; 2:2-4; H Tim 1;6-8, 13.14 Box 68 * Montgomery, Indiana 47558 Traylor Phone: 486-3285 Miller & Miller Colonial Chapel Supports the Knights of Columbus MEMBERS Bernie Miller Gerald Miller Jon Miller Greg Betz "Something good is right on your way" DELICIOUS ,426-2311 .479-O511 426-0011 .426-1011 477-2711 5am-lpm DONUTS, CAKES, BAGELS, & COOKIES k ]3HIX3IUG:IG SUpPort Catholic schools by using the Tradition Card. VtgA A Percentage of each purchase ......... ,h Tr dt=on Card g es to SUpno., ,., you make u=,.y ,,,= a " ' ' '[ L, atholic education Call 464-3322 or 1-800-777-3949 extension 3322 for details. Issued by Citizens Bank. A00v,.00ser,  HAUBSTADT ELECTRIC Licensed Bonded, Insured Industrial, Commercial and Residential P.O. Box 405 TONY NAZARIO Haubstadt, IN 47639 812-768-5207 1-800-766-2787 FIRST FEDERAL Savings and Loan Association Washington & Loogootee Help Wanted. Trainee, Driver, Labor. Flexible Hours. Can be part-time. Start at $5  $6 per hour. Depending. DoOI ht, w-t (812) 853-2400 i Main Street Pharmacy 217E. Main St., Downtown Wshington Phone: 254-5141 ii I I LinCo Coffee Services Total Beverage Distributor I Indiana-Illinois-Kentucky 46 Varifies of Coffees and Teas ,f,j_ WHATEVER YOUR TASTE, I  WECAN MATCH IT I ,|  Washington 254-4409 I  Evansville 4-1K3 JOHN MANGIN Owner The Decorating Corner 21 East South Washington, IN 47501 Bus: 254-7794 Home: 254-3087 Golden Jubilarians Joseph and Eleanore (Aders) Lasher of Evansville will Celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving at Holy Rosary Church, Evansville. A re- ception will follow for invited guests. The couple was mar- ried Oct. 16, 1945, at Holy Cross Church in St. Croix, In. They are the parents of 13 children: Susan Werner, Catherine Wooldridge, Martha Coomer, Dan Lasher, John Lasher, Jerome Lasher and Mark Lasher, all of Evansville, Benedictine Sister Patty Lasher of Ferdinand, Little Sister of the Poor Caroline Joan Lasher, Phil Lasher of Bristow, David Lasher of Boonville, Teresa Townsend of Chandler, and Loraine Lasher of Dallas, Tex.. They have 28 grandchildren. Mr. Lasher is retired; he is a member of Carpenters Local 90. i i i COMPLETE INSURANCE SERVICE Auto! Home! Fire & Life! Your Personal Service Age James L. Will Ins. Agen:y Inc. 1925 W. Franklin Street 425-3187 i ] i[