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October 12, 1990     The Message
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October 12, 1990

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October 12, 1990 ql Commentary  Mass Readings Gospel Commentary for Sunday, October 14, 1990; Twenty.Eighth Sunday.Ordinary Time- Matthew 22:1.14 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana I I Parable of the marriage feast: a remodeled parable A king gives a marriage feast for his son. He sends his servants to invite people, but they all refuse the invitation. He sends a second set of ser- vants to insist on their attendance but they all give excuses. Nor do they stop with excuses. They abuse the man's servants and kill them. As the say- ing goes, who needs enemies with such friends? The king raises an army,, destroys the murderers and burns down their city. The marriage feast is still prepared. The king now sends his servants to go into the public squares and invite anyone they can find, and so they do. The banquet hall is filled with guests, good and bad. The king comes in and sees some- one without a wedding garment. He confronts the unfortunate man about his lack of proper dress. The man has no defense. The king orders him handcuffed and shackled and thrown out into the darkness. And Matthew adds in his inimitable and grim way: "...where people will weep and gnash their teeth." A strange story indeed that raises a lot of ques- tions. Among them, what kind of friends were these who kill the servants of the king who invites them to a wedding? How did the food for the ban- quet remain edible during all the time it took to in- Vite twice, raise an army, destroy a city, and final- ly issue a third invitation? All this in pre- refrigeration days? How could a man who was in- vited in from the street be expected to have the SPaOper dress for a wedding? Isn't handcuffing, ckling, and throwing a man out into the RUXER FORD - LINCOLN - MERCURY L482.t2ooJ i i i,i COMPLETE INSURANCE SERVICE Auto! Home! Fire & Life! Your Personal Service Agent James L. Will Ins. Agency Inc. 1925 W. Franklin Street 425-3187 darkness a somewhat drastic response to the lack of proper attire? In answer to these questions we can say that parable writers or tellers don't concern themselves with such details. They use a parable to teach what they want to teach and reality sometimes suffers. There are two more primitive forms of this parable available to us. One is found in Luke 14:16-24; the other in an ancient book called the Gospel of Thomas. It seems before Matthew got hold of the parable it was much simpler and made more sense. There was no king who gave a marriage feast, only a man who gave a banquet. One servant was sent out. All the invited gave detailed excuses. In- stead of Matthew's many servants 0nly one was sent and only once was he sent, not twice; nor was there any mistreatment of the servant. There was no army, no one was killed in revenge and no city was destroyed. Instead of inviting anyone from the streets the parable in Luke has the servant inviting, "the poor, the maimed, the blind, the lame." This is a typically lucan addition. The still older form of the parable in the Gospel of Thomas has the ser- vant inviting anyone he meets on the street. Thomas then concludes with a statement excluding all businessmen, a rather strange conclusion. What is Matthew doing here? This parable is the third hard-hitting parable he directs against the religious leaders of the Jews of Jesus' time and perhaps of his own time some fifty years later. He blames them for the death of the prophets represented by the first set of servants. Then he blames them for the abuse and death of Christian missionaries represented by the second set of ser- vants. He has to change the man who gave a din- ner to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son because only a king would have an army capable I 5 WANTED .1300-family parish in Indiana. K-12 religious programs. $22,000- $26,000 salary. Immediate open- ing., Contact Search Committee, ,St. Mary's parish, 302 E. McKee ,St., Greensburg, IN 47240. DRE for rural SE ed, adult of killing the inhabitants of a city and burning down the city. For Matthew the son of the king of the parable is Jesus, Son of Yahweh. The marriage feast celebrates his coming into the world. The prophets foretold that coming according to Matthew. The Christian missionaries told about it after the event. Thus both those who announced the "marriage feast" of the son before and after the event were a- bused and mistreated. The abusers were religious leaders of both the Old and New Testament times. They are punished by the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman army in 70 A.D. Thus Matthew pins the blame for the destruction of Jerusalem on the religious leaders of the Jews. It was a punishment for their mistreatment of the ancient prophets ind the Christian missionaries. The people invited last are the "sinners" who accepted the message of the coming of the son of the king, and perhaps also the Gentile peoples among whom the message of Christianity found fertile ground. So that no one might think that presence at the wedding, i.e., membership in the Christian community is a guarantee of salvation, Matthew adds the little parable about the man without the wedding garment. The wedding gar- ment represents good works of those who do the will of the Father rather than those who only pre- tend to do so. By adding the expulsion of the un- fortunate man Matthew changes the whole parable into a last judgment scene that describes damna- tion with the words: "...the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Other readings for Sunday, October 14, 1990: Isaiah 25:6-10; Philippians 4:12.14, 19-20. Jasper hospital wins award Efforts to educate and pro- mote understanding about emergency medical services have won an award for Memorial Hospital and Health Care. Center in Jasper. The hospital's Ambulance Service has received a public service award from the Indiana Emergency Management Agen- cy, according to a news release from the hospital. "Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center Ambulance Service is active in providing a variety of public service pro- grams to educate persons of all ages," said Susan Schnaus, manager of the ambulanc service. Each year, the ambulanc ser- vice actively promtt,: Emergency Services Week .:, Disaster Awareness Week. '1 his year, a booth was set up at he Jasper Strassenfest with I,]MS information, disaster awarness information and fingerprinting for children by city police. A ride-along program for in- terested persons was also in- itiated this year, so that members of the public are able to go on runs with the EMT ser- vice to experience emergency services firsthand. Memorial Hospital and Health Care (:enter is owned and operated by the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary. HLAU BS.I.AD T ELECTRIC 24-HOUR Industrial, Commercial end Residential TONY NAZARIO P.O. Box 405 812-768-5207 Haubstadt, IN 47639