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October 7, 1994     The Message
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fit October 7, 1994 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana IIII IIIIII Ill IIIII II I IIII III I I II I I I I J I I II I I -- Commentary __ Another debate: A Christian and wealth Gospel commentary for Sunday, Oct. 9, 1994, Twenty. eighth Sunday, Ordinary Time, Cycle B. Mark 10:17.30. Among the many wonderful practices Christianity inherited from its mother Judaism was the care of the poor and needy. From various statements in the gospels we know that Jesus himself prac- ticed almsgiving, especially on the feast of Passover. In doing so he continued a practice which he must have learned from his parents and at the synagogue school. Although all four gospels speak of helping the poor, Luke de- By FATHER DON DILGER COLUMNIST God is possible the kingdom of God." The disciples are astounded at this statement which flies in the face of an Old Testament theme that wealth is a reward from God for a good life. Jesus only repeats the saying and adds that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of needle than for someone rich to enter the kingdom of God. Overcome with amazement and disbelief the dis- ciples ask just who can be saved. Jesus answers that what is impos- sible humanly speaking is possi- ble for God. In other words salva- tion or a right relationship with for anyone because it is God who velops this theme as a major theme of Jesus' "Good News." Luke does this in both his books, the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of Apostles. Here we are concerned with the Gospel of Mark. Even in this earliest of our four gospels the theme of helping the poor is already present. The segment of the gospel we read today tells about a man who runs up to Jesus, gets on his knees, and asks Jesus what he must do "to inherit eternal life." Jesus tells him to keep the commandments. To which the man replies that he has always done so. Mark, never afraid to depict an emotional Jesus, now adds: "Jesus looked at him and loved him." Jesus tells the man he lacks only one thing: "Go, sell what you have and give to the poor.., and COme follow me." This saddened the man because he was very rich and he walked away. In the discussion with the disciples that fol- lOwed this good man's departure Jesus says: How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter brings it about. Peter, as spokesperson for all the disciples, reminds Jesus that they left everything behind (perhaps including a profitable fishing enterprise on the Sea of Galilee), to follow him. Jesus as- sures all the disciples that those who have left everything for him and to serve the Good News will get back 100 percent in this life, plus perse- cutions, and then eternal life in the age to come. To which Mark adds: "Many that are first will be last and the last first." We may think that a demand to give up everything for "the kingdom of God" is original and unique. This is not the case. We now know that the people of the Dead Sea Scrolls, some- times called the Essenes, also had a program by which those who adopted their way of life gradu- ally gave up everything to devote themselves to the causes of that community. The community held the purse. So it seems to have been with I I I I Jesus and his group also. They were not beggars but put all their means together into a common purse administered by Judas. There may have been many such groups and communities since "kingdom of GOd fever" was widespread. The idea was that GOd would suddenly intervene to punish the wicked and set up the good in security and happiness. The Christian spin was that Jesus would return as judge and ac- complish this work. We are convinced that Mark expected a quick end to the present age and the imminent return of Jesus. Thus it was not so major a matter to give up everything. This situation would be of only short du- ration. All things were held in common by the Chris- tian community and all would be cared for. But in the long run such a system does not work. If Luke is correct, this system was practiced by the Church in Jerusalem and they became poverty-stricken and had to be supported by other Christian communi- tiee. Thus the wisdom of Jesus seems to shine through today's gospel-story. Like the man in the story there are many people who keep the command- ments of GOd, but God will always call some to a life beyond these requirements. Not all are called to such a life, yet GOd loves all and his saving love is present to all. Those who have given up everything are an asset to society and especially to the Christ- ian community because they remind us that we are not on this earth primarily to acquire wealth of all kinds. If God has blessed us with wealth and posses- sions, let us share it with those who have less and with those who gave up all to serve God and his peo- ple in a more intensive way. Readings: Wisdom 7:7-1I; Hebrews 4:12.13. II I I 00Pecial j..,--.- -. tto alla uuuarlans th Weddrene (Riney) Market will celebrate their sixti- uct. 9 at H:.K anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving il| be h, Rosary Church, Evansville. An Open House OOnvileuuct. 16 from 2 to 4 p.m. at St. Clement Church, ?'y 00ouple was married Oct 9, 00934, at St uren .... -, vansville Th re the arents of six chil- --., na ey a p drerl. Al,  e 13 grandchildren and four great-grandcbil- Ope n ":::lends and relatives are invited to attend the ,,e. The Couple requests no gifts. 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HELFRtCH Mater Dei Class of 69 co.sT..c00. THE Mater Dei Class of '69 ] .----.._ ,, n" , MESSAGE We support Catholic Educatio I I I I]1111 [ I II III IIIIII III I II I IIII] II !111 I