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November 3, 1989     The Message
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November 3, 1989

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November 3, 1989 iii i Commentary The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana i i i i IBI i III I IIII I I I 5 Gospel Commentary for Sunday, Nov. 5, 1989 Thirty-trst Sunday: Cycle C- Luke 19:1.10 The long journey to Jerusalem that began at Luke 9:51 is almost over. Jesus enters Jericho, only 18 miles east of Jerusalem. The chief toll-collector of the area is curious to see this. famous teacher. Since he was quite short he could not see over the crowd. He ran ahead of the crowd, climbed a sycamore tree and from there he could see Jesus. When Jesus got as far as the tree he looked up, told Zacchaeus, "Come on down!" and invited himself to be a guest of Zacchaeus. Since the collection of tolls made Zacchaeus a sinner in the opinion of his fellow-Jews, they com- plained that Jesus "has gone in to be a guest of a man who is a sinner." Zacchaeus hears the com- plaint and defends himself: "I give half of my in- come to the poor and if I cheated anyone I repay them 400 percent." Jesus responds by saying that "today salvation has come to this house, since he (Zacchaeus) is also a son of Abraham." He adds that he came to look for and save the lost. That is today's gospel story. The usual approach to this story is that Luke intended it to be a story of repentance and conver- sion, a favorite theme of his. This is quite possible. But there is another possibility. Not long before this episode Jesus had encountered a wealthy magistrate or official whom he invited to become a disciple. The man went away sad because he could not give up his riches. Zacchaeus however gives half his possessions, probably his income, to the poor and makes restitution of any fraud he may have committ'ed. Zacchaeus thus becomes the foil or contrast to i, L i i THE UNION BANK A FULL SERVICE BANK 295-2624 HWY 50 LOOGOOTEE, INDIANA A FU[ , L --'-----' I:DIG WASHINGTON PLAINVILLE 254"4630 687-7287 PEOPLES MONEY STORE 2514-1313 , the rich magistrate who could not give up anything. This interpretation is based on the fact that Zacchaeus says to Jesus: "I GIVE half my goods to the poor," and does not say, "I WILL give half etc," Both the verb "to give" and the verb "to make restitution" are in the present tense. It is possible that Luke means that Zacchaeus habitually exercised this kind of charity and justice. The defrauding or cheating would have been unintentional and was repaid fourfold accord- ing to the ancient law of Moses. The context into which Luke puts the story of Zacchaeus gives further weight to the above inter- pretation. It was already mentioned above how Zacchaeus is made a contrast to the wealthy of- ficial who could give up nothing. After the Zac- chaeus incident Luke will add immediately the parable of the talents, as if to say that Zacchaeus is like the men who used their talents to gain more. This is in keeping with the advice given at the end of the parable of the dishonest manager: "Make friends for yourselves with unrighteous mammon, (worldly wealth), so that when it fails they may receive you into eternal.dwellings." In other words, use your wealth for the poor and thus store up treasure in heaven. On the other hand, there is some evidence that Luke intended the Zacchaeus episode as a story of conversion. Luke has shown unusual interest in toll-collectors. In most cases before Zacchaeus the toll-collectors are examples of repentance. The most recent example was in the parable of the Pharisee and the toll-collector who went up to the temple to pray, last Sunday's gospel. Jesus not on- ly states that "today salvation has come to this house" as he enters the house of Zacchaeus, but i iii Luke also has Jesus saying: "The Son of man came to seek and to save what was lost." So we have two interpretations of this story. Zacchaeus is either the rich man who habitually practices great charity and justice, or he is the rich man who repents of cheating his clients and now decides to use his great wealth for the poor and to make restitution. Let the reader choose. Either is possible or perhaps both... The final statement of today's Gospel is: "The Son of man came to seek and to save what was lost." These words are a reflection on the text of Ezekiel 34:16. The context of this text in Ezekiel is a prophecy against the shepherds of Israel who had failed as shepherds. Yahweh says through the pro- phet that he himself will become shepherd of Israel. "I myself will seek the lost and bring back the strayed." Jesus shows himself to be that true shepherd. Again and again throughout his Gospel, Luke has depicted Jesus as the one who is interested in the poor, the handicapped, the despised, the out- cast. The story of Zacchaeus is the final example in this "Gospel of the Outcast." The lesson that Luke leaves for his Church in this story is that wealth, whether of the individual Christian or of the Church itself, must be used primarily for the poor. Where the shepherds of Israel in the time of Eze- kiel had failed, may the shepherds of our Church be shepherds of the poor in imitation of the True Shepherd who came to seek and to save what was lost. Other readings for Sunday, Nov, 5, 1989: Wisdom 11:22.12:1; II Thess, 1:11.2:2 I i Washington Nursing Center 254-5117 LOOGOOTEE NURSING CENTER 295-2101 Catholic Services Weekly Medicare -- Veterans -- Medicaid ST. VINCENT DE PAUL CHURCH HIGHLAND WOODS -- VINCENNES (ON HART STREET m JUST BEYOND K-MART 10 : 3 0 A.M. TILL DARK SOUP, HAMBURGERS, SAUSAGE, PIE SOFT DRINKS AND COFFEE AVAILABLE BEAUTIFUL Q UIL T TO BE GIVEN A WAY VISIT THE COUNTRY STORE WITH ALL KINDS OF INTERESTING ITEMS. The public is cordially invited to attend. I,, U ii ii Please patronize Message advertisers! Vl H i i ii i II I I I ,/l DID YOU KNOW THE K of C HAS i:; IRA's, ANNUITIES, HEALTH AND "' LIFE INSURANCE? CALL THE AGENT IN YOUR AREA -- Evansville, Jasper, Ireland ............... Mike Gates- 482-6816 Jasper, St. Meinrad .................. Randy Buchta - 482-2416 Washington, Loogootee .................. John Stoll - 854-7379 Haubstadt, Princeton ................. Roger Mayer - 768-6125 Vincennes, Tell City .................. Steve Brewer- 663-4587 WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU. I I II ill i ' Medical Arts Pharmacy 3700 Bellemeade "Avenue Phone 477-1532 [onald Gutzweiler City-Wide Delivery iiii Duncan's Riverside Pharmacy Prescflptlon Service Drugs-Sundries-Cosmetics 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. 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