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October 10, 1997

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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana + October Instruction continues: A Christian and we By FATHER DONALD DILGER Columnist Gospel Commentary for October 12, 1997: Twenty-Eighth Sunday: Ordinary Time: Cycle B: Mark 10:17-30 After the questions about divorce, remarriage, and the status of children in the Church, the next issue Mark takes up in his catechism is the Christian atti- tude toward wealth. Mark had already told the story of Jesus' call of some disciples, how they left their family and profession to follow Jesus. In his version of the missionary instructions Mark detailed how those who preach the gospel are to do so with trust in God and those to whom they preach rather than relying on their own material resources. The Marcan Jesus had however criticized those who dedicate all their prop erty to God in order to avoid family obligations. Later Jesus said, "What does it profit a person to gain the whole world but forfeit his life?" The question of a Christian and wealth needed more enlightenment. Mark does this with a story. A man runs up to Jesus, kneels before him, and asks him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Note again as in the previous stories that Mark refers to Jesus as "teacher," Le. Jesus is here teaching the Church of Mark's time. Jesus seems to reject the title "good" in his response to the man, but this may be Mark's way of implying that Jesus is Son of God. Mark had already claimed this title for Jesus in the first sentence of his gospel, but no hutnan being in this gospel is allowed to know this until Jesus him- self reveals it under oath at his trial. In response to the man's question Jesus lists the commandments of God that are concerned with love of neighbor. Again call- ing Jesus teacher, the man claims he has done all that since he was a child. As in the previous sto W Mark Golden Jubilarians Othmer "Oddie" and Marie (Reuber) Schepers of Celestine will celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving at 10 a.m. Oct. 19 at St. Peter Celestine Church, Celestine. A dinner for family and invited guests will follow. An Open House for friends and relatives will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Celestine Community Club. The Special Edition Band will play from 2 to 4 p.m. The couple was married Oct. 22, 1947, at St. Joseph Church, Jasper. Msgr. Othmar Schroeder officated. They are the parents of two daughters, Rose Nixon of Celestine and Mary Griffin of Jasper, and five sons, Bill, Kenny and Den- nis, all of Jasper, and David of Celestine. Their son, Ronald, is deceased. They have 16 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. Mr. Schepers retired as a truck driver for Jasper Engines and Transmissions after 34 years. notes an emotional response from Jesus, "Jesus looked upon him and loved him." Luke and Matthew have the same story, but true to form, they omit the emo- tional response. The questioner is thus obviously a candidate for discipleship as an immediate disciple of Jesus. Then comes the crunch, "You lack one thing. Go, sell what you have, give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, and come, follow me." The man went away sad because he was very rich. In response to thisstory Christians would have wondered whether only a few could be disciples of Jesus, i.e. only those who gave up everything. Isn't every Christian a disciple of Jesus? Didn't Jesus also insist on the fulfillment of family obligations? Mark reinforces the demand of giving up all and notes the danger of wealth. Not only is it difficult for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God, but it is eas- ier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. There is no need to get around this statement by sup- posing there was a gate in the city wall of Jerusalem through which a camel could barely squeeze. The statement is obviously hyperbole and is important for the rest of the story. Jesus' disciples are absolutely astonished. Wasn't wealth a sign of God's favor throughout the Old Tes- tament? Abraham and other patriarchs and matri- archs were blessed by God with wealth as a reward. But the Old Testament was somewhat ambivalent about wealth. It could be a blessing, but it could also be a curse, especially for those who use it to oppress others. The astonished disciples rightly ask, "Who then can be saved?"' Apparently there is a way in Mark's theology even for the rich, for Jesus says, "This is humanly impossible, but with God all things are possible." The ever-practical Simon Peter sees an opportunity to find out about their own future, since it was now clear it did not include material wealth and the power associated with it. He reminds Jesus, Golden Jubilarians "Look, we have left everything to follow you." Jesiii promises those who leave all for him and the gos (perhaps meaning the proclamation of), that they abound in homes, families, property, with persec now, and "in the age to come eternal life." In viewS[ the thrust of the whole story the possessions of th! who follow Jesus cannot mean material possession| but rather a rich social and religious fellowship. "P| i i secution" reflects the actual experience of Mark s Church. We could wish that Mark might be more spJ with an example of a rich person for whom God salvation possible. Luke did just that when, after demning throughout his gospel both wealth and who acquire it, he relents enough to give us the e pie of the very rich Zaccheus, a man who gave  wealth to the needy. Mark, however, does allow fq more than one type of discipleship. He did write the rich man who came to Jesus and who had k the commandments of love of neighbor, that Jes loved him. 'That he was unable to leave everyl not a condemnation, only a condition that could der discipleship of Jesus more difficult. He could/ always have turned out to be another ZaccheuS.):+ Briefly we might say that the lesson of Mark's ve+. of the story of the wealthy man who could not lea all is this: Jesus' love goes out in a very special way those who leave all to follow him and to proclaim! gospel. He also loves those who for various reas i and j circumstances cannot follow in this way, thoS who do the commandments all. B! ; without leaving . combining Mark's rich man loved by Jesus with  Luke's Zaccheus at whose house Jesus stayed we I propose that after Christians prudently provide foi self and family the rest belongs to God whose lov6 poured out upon the needy through the wealth of those he loves. .! ! Readings: Wisdom 7:7-11; Hebrews 4:12-13. I BL.00 IF..J + Amish Restaurant & Bakei I Hwy 57 S. M & S Fire & Safety Equip. Co. InC!! Over 25 years safes and  service in the Tri-state : :!:]! Leo and Florence (Elpers) Kissel of Haubstadt will celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving at 9 a.m., Oct. 19, at St. James Church, Haubstadt. They were married Oct. 21, 1947, at St. James Church. They are the parents of five children: Mildred Vollman of McCutchanville, Kenneth Wissel of St. Wendel, and Marilyn Kern, Martha Deer and Ma W Hirsch, all of Haubstadt. They have 15 grandchildren: Mr. Kissel is a retired home builder. 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