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October 14, 1994     The Message
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October 14, 1994

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_OCtober 14, 1994 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana I I I 9 -- Commentary-- James and John: Misunderstanding, Ambition, Jealousy Gospel commentary for Sunday, Oct. 16, 1994, Twenty. ninth Sunday, Ordinary Time, Cye/e B, Mark 10:35.45 Our story is this: James and John, brothers whose father's name was Zebedee, approach Jesus and ask him for a favor: "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your g!ory." Jesus tells them they don t know what they are asking. Could they even "drink the cup that he drinks or be baptized with the baptism with which he will be baptized?" The meaning is this: can they undergo the suffering he. is about to undergo? With the thoughtless dar- tg fyouth they answer: "We can." Jesus assures nem Ottuture suffering but not of the positions of honor which they requested. The other 10 disciples heard about this and Were indignant. Jesus calls them together for a les- son. They are not to act like worldly people who are ambitious for honor and power. In his kingdom those who serve others are the most important The m - " , Y ust be hke Jesus himself who came to earth not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many." This story is the climax of a series of correc- tions that Mark has arranged. We think these cor- eons may be aimed first at the leadership of his ,an community, and secondarily at all Chris- aY:clThe context is this: Mark designed his gospel uue taree predictions of Jesus' suffering, #(N FATHER DILGER COLUMNIST death, and resurrection. These predictions are made by Jesus himself. To each one of the predic- tions there is a reaction by one or more of the disciples. All of these reactions are part of a major theme of Mark, that no one, not even the closest associates of Jesus understood who or what he was and what his mission was. In this way Mark tries to apologize for what seems to be the historical fact that during his lifetime Jesus was not recognized as "Son of God" and was never accepted by his own people as Messiah, and least of all as a suffering Messiah. His kingdom was to be one of service and victory through his own death, not through domination and the killing of enemies. Matthew and Luke agreed on some points in this theological plan but not on others. Matthew and Luke disagree with Mark's theme of always portraying the disciples of Jesus as incapable of learning anything or of having very human faults. They change the stories they took from Mark to cover up or simply delete traditions unfa- vorable to the disciples. Thus Luke will com- pletely omit this episode of today's gospel in which the raw ambition of James and John is por- trayed. Matthew has a more interesting ap- proach. He blames it all on their mother, Mrs. Zebedee. In Matthew's gospel it is she, not her two sons, who approaches Jesus with the ambi- tious request. We can hardly blame Mama Zebedee for trying. She wanted the best for her sons, at least according to Matthew. The expressions, "drinking the cup" and "being baptized" do not refer to the sacraments of Eu- charist and Baptism, though one might say they sec- ondarily refer to Eucharist. The primary meaning is the suffering and death of Jesus, his martyrdom. Jesus promises martyrdom to James and John. We are told by Luke in Acts 12 that James, the brother of John, was put to death by order of Herod Agrippa I in 44 A.D. As to the martyrdom of John there are various traditions, some which affirm it while others deny it. We may assume that Mark directs this whole series of episodes on the correction of the disciples to Church leadership first. It was a lesson in humility and service. They were not to struggle with and against each other for positions of power and honor in the Church. Such a struggle was more developed when Matthew wrote his gospel and he vehemently denounces this trend. At the same time Mark speaks to all Christians then and now that power, honor, and glory, are reserved for the time after suf- fering and death but not yet. The resurrection comes only after the crucifixion. Every Christian in imitation of Jesus, and especially those with rank in the Church, are instructed to be not masters but slaves who give their lives for others. That, Mark says, is true authority. This is one of many in- stances in which Mark overturns ordinary human values and replaces them with the values of the kingdom of God. Readings: Isaiah 53:10.11; Hebrews 4:14.16. Jubilarians Dolores (Hillenbrand) Welte of Evansville will their fiftieth wedding anniversary Oct. 22. The married Oct. 26, 1944, at St. Joseph Church, ounty. They are the parents of five chil- Welte of Evansville, Mary Heuring of Chan- Blankenberger of Evansville, and Rita Fox and both of Newburgh They have 14 grandchil- aWflte retired from Hahn Oil Company in 1983; "ured farmer. Mrs. Welte is a housewife. Kimball International Jasper, Ind,ana TH00N00WS00U00,,S..NGCO I ,, Tell City, IN ! rroud to be the printer for The Message COMPLETE INSURANCE SERVICE Auto! Home! Fire & Life! Your Personal Service Agent James L. Will Ins. Agency Inc. 1925 W. Franklin Street 425-3187 HAVE YOU HEARD HIM CALL? DOMINICAN SISTERS OF HAWTHORNE Providing flree care and sbelter to incurable cancer patients. We seek vaomen who are full of loe for Christ, and desire to join a congregation with a strong spiritual and community life. Our Sisters come from all walks of life. Prior nursing experience not required. Contact: Sr.Marie Edward Rosary HII Home 600 Linda Ave., Hawthorne, NY I05o2 (914) 769-4 794 N,xe .... AMre ........ Cirl, .... Su _ Zip ttome TeL ( ). 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