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October 13, 1995     The Message
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13, 1995 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 9 --- Commentary-- Ten lepers cured: The grateful Samaritan Gospel Commentary for they were still outside the town be- The statement about the Samaritan's "faith" October 15, 1995, Twenty. eighth Sunday, Cycle C, Luke " 17:11.19 The first words of today's gospel remind us that Jesus is still en route to Jerusalem. The long collection of miscellaneous traditions that Luke has put into this journey to Jerusalem distract from the primary direction of all this material, that it is part of the education of Christians as they follow Jesus to the cross and res- urrection. Luke returns to an old theme: Jesus' outreach to the re- jects of society. Not only does Jesus reach out to lepers, but one of those lepers was a despised amaritan There was a centuries-long animosity between Jews and Samaritans Unlike Mark and Matthew, Luke repeatedly porays the Samari- tans as good people or a group of people Jesus cared about. In his usual poor grasp of Palestinian geogra- phy Luke notes that "Jesus was passing between Samaria and Galilee." No one has ever figured out just what that is supposed to mean. It should be noted that Luke took the idea of the one jour- ney of Jesus to Jerusalem from Mark where Jesus ::idss going through Samaria. Instead Mark has . e going to Jerusalem on the east side of the dordan River, thus avoiding the more direct route through Samaria For Luke (and the Gos el of John " P Sa,0it is Important that Jesus' life touches the ,,,atlcans Jesus is about to enter a Samaritan village Tea lepers approach him. We must assume that cause, according to the Law of Moses, they were not to enter towns at all. Luke knows this and writes: "They stood at a distance." The Torah (Law of Moses) reads as fol- lows: "Command the people of Israel that they put out of the camp every leper ...that they may not defile the cmp in the midst of which I dwell," Numbers 5:2-4. Nor were lepers al- lowed to associate with non-lepers. They had to warn all others away: "Th0 leper who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose and he shall cover his upper lip and cry: 'Unclean, unclean.' He shall dwell alone in a habitation outside the camp," Numbers 13:45-46. When Luke portrays Jesus in his own stories rather than stories he took from Mark or another source, Jesus is always shown to be the pious Jew who observed the Torah. Therefore Jesus does not touch the lepers in this story as he had touched a leper in an earlier story Luke adopted from Mark. The ten lepers cry out for compassion. Jesus tells them: "Go and show yourselves to the priests" Again Luke reminds his readers of Jesus the pious Jew who observes the Torah. Leviticus 14 gives detailed instructions for a priest to examine a leper and decide whether he is cured or not. Obediently the ten lepers comply. En route they are cured. One returns to say "Thank you." Luke has his outcast hero: "He was a Samaritan." Jesus responds: "Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner." He reas- sures the man and tells him that his faith ef- fected the cure. By FATHER DON DILGER COLUMNIST is more important that we realize at first glance. The Hebrew Scriptures associate the inhabitants of Samaria with idolatry, I Kings 12:31; 13:32; II Kings 17:29. To proclaim that one considered an idolater is a man of faith was a bold leap forward for a pious Jew. Luke has to do this because he is concerned to show that Jews and Samaritans and all other peoples of the earth are acceptable to God. He demonstrates that Jesus' concern did not stop with the poor, the handicapped, the outcasts of Judea, that Jesus reached and reaches across the boundaries of race, of nation, and even "of dif- fering religion. The words that Luke puts into the mouth of Peter in Acts 10:34 say it best: "I see that God shows no partiality, but in every nation any one who reveres him and does what is right is acceptable to him." We live in a nation that established its do- minion "from sea to shining sea" on a ruthless policy of ethnic cleansing -- the persecution and deprivation of native Americans. Major portions of our country were built and sustained on the slave labor of dark-skinned people who were con- sidered to be not quite human. We are still haunted by these sins of our ancestors and we have our own sins. That the attitude of"Unclean! Unclean!" still exists among us is evident in the prejudice toward immigrants, and this in a nation mainly descended from immigrants. The more ob- vious lepers of today are people with AIDS. Whether or not the message of Jesus and Luke in today's gospel penetrates our lives is known only by the compassion we show toward "outsiders." 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Main St. w,'ntown WSshington I Phone: 254-5141 / K / Golden dubilarians Fidelis and Agatha (Hopf) Marks of Jasper will celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiv- ing at 7 p.m. Oct. 19 at St. Joseph Church, Jasper. A dinner for the immediate family will be held at the Knights of Columbus Home. The couple was married Oct. 18, 1945, at St. Joseph Church, by Msgr. Wernsing. Mr. Marks retired after 47 years with the Jasper Wood Products. KREMPP LUMBER CO. BUILDING MATERIAL SUPPLIES & GENERAL CONTRACTING NOMECENTER CONSTRUCTION 482-1061 41i2-6838 i i i i JASPER LUMBER CO. COMPLETE BUILDING SERVICE Ph: 482-1125 RT. 4, JASPER It RAY FRrl"Z REJ13' AND PPRS.AU,8 (812] 482-6630 JASPER, IN i i i i ii