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October 27, 1989     The Message
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i October 27, 1989 The Message-- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana '5 Commentary II T I I III Gospel Commentary for Sunday, Oct. 29, 1989 Thirtieth Sunday: Cycle C- Luke 18:9.14 Jesus addresses a parable to some who had too much confdence in themselves and looked down their noses at others whom they considered to be sinners. A Pharisee and a toll-collector went up to the temple to pray. The Pharisee took his stand in a prominent place and thanked God that he was better than the rest of humanity and boasted of fasting twice a week and paying tithes on all his income. The publican stood in a less conspicuous place. Out of a recognition of his sinfulness he would not even look up but beat his breast and begged God: "Be merciful to me a sinner." Jesus concludes that of the two men the toll-collector's prayer was acceptable to God while that of the Pharisee was not. If the parable originates from Jesus, we can conclude that he addressed it to some of the Pharisees who constantly objected to his associa-' tion with those they considered to be sinners. In the opinion of the Pharisees the greatest sinners were the toll-collectors, also called publicans. They were considered to be in a class with adulterers, extortioners and any other kind of criminal. What was their crime? They gathered taxes for the occupying superpower of the day, the Roman government. In doing this they sometimes over- charged or even extorted money from fellow- citizens. John the Baptist had advised them not to collect more than was legally allowed. Zaccheus, a ill tFi::!:!:!:::::::!::i::$i":':ii: ...... !!:i::::!i::!::::"::`::::.:::.*..::::.`:.::::..:;:i`.!!i!;i  ,. -  " .............................. " ..... : Washington Nursing Center 254-5117 LOOGOOTEE NURSING CENTER 295-2101 Catholic Services Weekly Medicare -- Veterans -- Medicaid L Medical Arts Pharmacy 3700 Bellemeade Avenue Phone 477-1532 Donald Gutzweiler City-Wide Delivery Duncan's Riverside Pharmacy Prescription Service Drugs-Sund ries-Cosmetlcs Magazines - "We Deliver" Corner Riverside and Governor Evansville 422:9981 CALL 424-5536 TO GET YOUR BUSINESS OR SERVICE LISTED i PAUL'S Pharmacy Paul Mayer, Owner 2170 W, Franklin St. 425-4364 Plaza Pharmacy Newburgh Plaza Shopping Center Fast Prescription Service Ken and Rebecca Hacker 853-7141 Oak Hill Pharmacy Prescription Specialists Hwy. 62 and N. We|nbach Ave. LARRY SCHULTHEIS, Prop. 425-4422 Stratman's Pharmacy City-Wide Delivery 413 Locust Street John and Judy Stratman 425-5293 ili: j!i: chief toll-collector, promised Jesus that he would restore fourfold the amount at which he had defrauded his clients. So they were "sinners." Let's examine some details about Pharisees. Not all Pharisees are to be regarded as enemies of Jesus. There were several who invited him to their homes for dinner. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, Jesus' burial team, were probably both Pharisees. Saul or St. Paul was a Pharisee and cer- tainly at first an enemy of Christianity. Because of their belief in the resurrection of the dead and the moral practices of Christianity, it was relatively easy for a Pharisee to become a Christian, as St. Paul did. In the Acts of Apostles the teacher of St. Paul, the Pharisee Gamaliel, became a protector of Christians before the Sanhedrin or high council of the Jews. The concern of the Pharisees was to keep every detail of the law plus all the traditions and interpretations that developed around the law through many centuries. Some of these traditions and interpretations are discussed in Mark's Gospel, 7:1-23; Matthew 23:4, 16-24. The traditions that were meant to protect the lw sometimes in prac- tice actually nullified the law itself. In their zeal to keep the letter of the law they sometimes forgot the spirit of the law. Jesus did not condemn their keeping of the law but rather their forgetting of the spirit. Pharisaism of this type never died. It found a comfortable home in Christianity, not Christianity as it should be, but Christianity as it should not be. We do not have to look very deeply into our own Church to find examples of traditions that nullify or at least obscure the law of either Old or New Testament or both. With a clear and prophetic vision Jesus cut through those traditions of his time. Throughout history God has raised up prophetic men and women who confronted traditions that nullified or obscured the law. One thinks of people like Fran- cis and Clare of Assisi who confronted the wealth and power of the Church with a total renunciation of worldly possessions. In our own time the saintly John XXIII challenged a comfortable church to reexamine its traditions and practices, to become a servant rather than a master. Luke is not interested in the historical circum- tances of these men. One of the central issues of Luke's Gospel is his concern for repentance and  conversion. The toll-collector's prayer examplifies the correct disposition of everyone before God. It is a recognition of sinfulness and of the need to be forgiven. He displays repentance and conversion. The Pharisee shows none of this. He does not recognize any need of repentance. He is confident that by his perfect keeping of all details and regulations of the law of Moses and all the tradi- tions that grew up around that law he has become completely acceptable to God. It is true that his prayer is a prayer of thanksgiving, but there is no recognition of dependence on God or of his own sinfulness. Luke intends for his readers to ask themselves: "Which of the two represents my prayer?" Other readings for Sunday, Oct. 29, 1989: Sirach 35:12-18; II Tim. 4:6.18. i Legal handbooks offered by I.C.C. A new legal handbook is available "to help Hoosier pastors deal with the legal pro- blems.., in everyday pastoral work," according to Ann Wadelton at the Indiana Catholic Conference. Protes- tant, Jewish and Catholic lawyers cooperated for the book, edited by William J. Wood, senior partner in the law firm of Wood, Tuohy, Gleason, Mercer and Herrin in In- dianapolis, Ind., and attorney for the Indiana Catholic Con- ference and the for the Arch- diocese of Indianapolis. "Many small parishes have no regular legal counsel or even attorneys as church members to advise them," said Wood. The Indiana Pastors' Legal Hand- book covers federal and state law, discussing matters such as building and remodeling con- tracts, clergy malpractice, copyright, gifts, bequests and insurance of church property. A chapter on confidential com- munications discusses the privilege from disclosure and the statutory duty to report cer- tain matters. Copies may be ordered from the Idiana Catholic Con- ference, P.O. Box 1410, In- dianapolis, Ind., 46206. Price is $6.95 plus 35 cents tax; add $2 shipping and handling per order for up to 20 books. Clergy recognition day Father James Rogers receives a certificate honoring him for 50 years of priestly ministry, from Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger during ceremonies at Sarto Retreat House, Evansville, Oct. 19. Honored for 40 years of service were Msgr. Omer Meyer and Father,Raymond Schroering; for 25 years, Fathers James Blessinger, John Davidson, Raymond Kuper, Joln Schipp, Edward Schneider and Theodore Tempel. -- Message Photo by Paul Lelngang i.=_