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October 25, 1996     The Message
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1996 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 9 "- Commentary-- A third challenge to Jesus: The greatest commandment Gospel Commentary for October 27, 1996: Thirtieth Sunday: Ordinary Time: Cycle .4: Matthew 22:34.40 Following the Gospel of Mark, Matthew presents his readers with three episodes in which represen- tives of various groups of reli- glous and civicleaders approach Jesus with a challenging question. The first to approach him was a combined delegation of Pharisees and Herodians about the question ot paying taxes to the Roman gov- ernment then occupying the land of the Jews. The second group consisted of Sadducees, SOme of whora belonged to the higher caste of priests. Their challenge was a .question about the resurrection of the dead. They did not believe in a resurrection of the dead. The third challenge comes f scholar a_J.. - rom a scribe, a - -u interpreter of the Law of 'lbrah H- " - Moses, the e m a friendly scribe m Matthe ..... " the Gospel of Mark. _ ,v, aowever, with his animosity toward the Pharisees, changes the sto wlt'h .... thA - ....  into another encounter .... nsees. In Matthew it is no longer a friendly debate but a test "Teache,. 1_. , for Jesus The test: , wmca is the L'reatest commandment of the Torah?, This quest;on was an ongoing debate anm.ong the Scribes. They found 613 commandments the Torah. Which was the most important? Jesus must have been asked this question By FATHER DON DILGER COLUMNIST many times. In response Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy 6:5, "You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, with your whole soul, and with your whole mind." This is part of the great prayer of praise offered by every believing Jew to this day. It begins with the words, "Hear O Israel! The Lord your God is one Lord" This prayer is called "the Shema" because the Hebrew word for "Hear!" is "Shema." It was a per- fect answer with which all could agree. Jesus adds specifically: "This is the greatest and the first commandment." He continues: "And a second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself." This is a quote from Leviticus 19:18. It is clear from the context of Leviticus that a "neighbor" is a fellow Israelite. The same commandment was extended by Leviticus 19:34 and Deuteronomy 10:18-19 to the "sojourner," i.e. a non-Israelite living among the Israelites In New Testanlent writings the command to love one's neighbor becomes universal including even ene- mies. Jesus' final statement in answering the scrib- al question affirms that the whole Torah and the Old Testament prophets depend on or hang from these two commandments. It is sometimes stated that Jesus was the first to make these two commandments inseparable. Perhaps so, but acontemporary of Jesus, the great Jewish scholar of Alexandria, Egypt, wrote: "Among the great number of particular propositions (stud- ied in Sabbath schools) two.., stand out as preemi- nent topics, one of duty toward God in piety and holiness, one of duty toward human beings in gen- erosity and justice." In the Gospel of Mark the scribe now praises Jesus: "You are right, Teacher, you have truly spo- ken etc." Jesus in turn compliments the scribe, not- ing that he is not far from the reign of God. Matthew omits all this. He had made the scribe into a Pharisee and he was not about to compliment a Pharisee about anything. Does this remind us of ourselves? How difficult it is to love our neighbor as ourselves. Not only Matthew but Paul and John show themselves to be just as human as we are. Paul curses his enemies. Matthew never ceases to denounce his enemies and indict them to the point of being ridiculous. John, who speaks so much of love, in his second letter advises his readers not to receive into their houses any who do not agree with his doctrine, not even to greet them. Even greeting them, he says, is to share in their wickedness. It must have taken these good men a lifetime to learn the two commandments of love. How intimately they are connected is illustrated by a statement in the first letter of John: "Those who hate others are liars, for those who do not love their sisters and brothers whom they have seen, cannot love GOd whom they have not seen." Readings: Exodus 22:20.26; I Thessaloni. ans 1:5c.10. Custom I [acle On Your Thous-,. Lot P .'I1" ,,.. eferences 0... DU Is of R Complete Dre e; LDING PKGS. You to buil  g.meered Packages for Xcellent ,-, naPrERS ,"ri eS-Any Size I Off Hun " . S Nob,dreos In Stock MEfAT' Our .%ices Over '2.'00H20 FI N G Any Len ^q. In StOck, Be, n--g! h I';ut To Inch. h--. _ t 'nces Around. u,VIE$s CO. METAL nwy. 50 E., Cannelbur . 4 rni. E. Montgomer g Y s'Year "%% Irtter, Minimum rate .o, deposit $7,000 es Special Jubilarians Ken and Mary Ruth (Bullock) Gremore of Bloomfield will Celebrate their forty-fifth wedding anniversary on Oct. 27. The couple was married Oct. 27, 1951, at St. Simon Church by Father Albert Wicke. They have two children: George Gremore and Darla Bent, and six grandchildren. All reside near Bloomfield and attend Holy Name Church. Mr. Gre- more retired in 1993 from the Rogers Group after 30 years; Mrs. Gremore is a homemaker. ii i 486-3977 off Hwy. 50 tgomery, IN All You Care To Eat Buffet Dining FAMILY STYLE DINING AND A-LA CARTE BANQUET ROOMS AVAILABLE PRE-ARRANGED AMISH TOURS Browse The Village Shops Every Monday Seniors receive 15% offl Golden Jubilarians Cornelius "Neal" and Hazel (Elpers) Kraft of Mount Vernon will celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving at 4 p.m. Oct. 26 at St. Matthew Church, Mount Vernon. A dinner and dance will follow at the Knights of St. John in St. Wendel. The couple was married Oct. 23, 1946, at St. James Church, St. James. They are the parents of Larry Kraft of St. Peters, Mo., Mary Lou Nelson of Evans. vflle, A/. Kraft of Mount Vernon, Kenny Kraft of Evansville, and Marvin Kraft of Mount Vernon. Their sons, Harold Kraft and John Wayne Kraft, are deceased. They have nine living grandchildren; two of their grandchildren are deceased. Mr, and Mrs. Kraft work at Kraft's Cleaning Service. iii i CRANEY'S ] BODY SHOP, INC. i  soW m,m, r s  Cr Pck-ps.  Ser Rt 4 Veaie Creek Rd. Washington, IN Fred O. Cmney ,, (,812) 254-6412 i I [