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December 2, 1994     The Message
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1994 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 9 -- Commentary -- Luke&apos;s sense of history: The baptism of John Gospel Commentary for De- cember 4, 1994, Second Sunday of Advent, Cycle C, Luke 3:1-6. With a strong flavor ofhistori- d context, Luke begins the main dy of his gospel with 1 .., J a ong list . ,uLers. They range from Tiberius aesar at Rome to the high priests L Jerusalem This ran e sets out uke's -" " g plan of beginning and end- lg his two volume work (the )Spel of Luke and Acts of A os- By FATHER .'s) With SOme reference to :me. DONcoLUMNIsTDILGER rough Rome dominated Luke's World politically, the first center of eml^his Universe was Judea, Jerusalem and the Jewish reere" Thus he had prefaced his first book with a t,,_,ace to Judea and a settin in the Jerusalem ;le, (Luke 1:5-23) and ende it with a scene of ^. oUaea, in the Jerusalem temple, (Luke z4:52.53). In a brief introduction and dedication of his g:l Le had noted that ,,n,, h,e, ro h,-- ha Dt - - ... j .... . ....... .u. . , =u o do what he was undertaking, descnb lag the ori'n - "" m._i s of the Jesus movement within Ju- w ese "many" included the Gospel of Mark, rect aa hich Luke obviously was concerned to cor- %rdep.". uPdate. Luke says he is going to write an 'y(lescri . his __ ptmn of events This may explain c"cera ab " and j-- . out placing both John the Baptist had dUeS lnto a more historical context than Mark Joha the long list of rulers at the beginning of Call of Old, try Luke uses expressions from the "t o .._ ". estament provhets to describe that t hhw:r  sGsOd  me i :h:ssS wno :f:: h eriaahe i: east and southeast of Jerusalem toward the Dead Sea. Luke de- scribes John's message as "preaching a baptism of repen- tance for forgiveness of sins." Then he follows the Gospel of Mark in citing Isaiah 40:3 to de- scribe the mission of John the Baptist. He is "the voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord. Mark: his paths straight."' But Luke has an- other concern that Mark, who was preoccupied with the end of time, did not emphasize enough -- that the message of Jesus was univer- sal, a message addressed to people far beyond Ju- daism. And so Luke adds more from Isaiah -- "All flesh shall see the salvation of God." John, son of Zechariah, is called "the Bap- tist," or "the Baptizer," because of his practice of baptizing people as an external sign of their in- ternal repentance. Did he originate this practice or adopt it from Judaism of his time? One form of Judaism at the time of John was that observed at Qumran. a settlement on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea. These are the people probably re- sponsible for the preservation of what we today call "the Dead Sea Scrolls." They seem to have had a ceremonial washing or baptism that went beyond merely external ritual. In their rulebook we read the following about those entering the community: "When his flesh is sprinkled with pu- rifying water and sanctified by cleansing water, it shall be made clean by the humble submission of his soul to all the precepts of God." Because of John's baptismal practic e some people believe John was a member of the Qumran group. Like John in the Gospel of Luke they were situated in the Judean desert or wilderness. But un- like John they avoided contact with outsiders. These were referred to as "children of darkness" while the members of the community were "children of light." John did not avoid outsiders but sought them out with his message of "repentance for the forgiveness of sin." If John the Baptist ever was a member of that community, he must have left it to begin his mission when "the word of God came to him in the wilderness." John and others may have found the foundation for a ritual washing or baptism within the Old Tes- tament, in the prophets. For example, in Ezekiel 36:25 we read: "I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean of all your uncleanness .... A new heart I will give you and a new spirit I will put within you." And Isaiah 1:16, "Wash yourselves. Make yourselves clean. Remove the evil of your ac- tions from before my eyes." Whatever the origin of the external practice, the emphasis is on the internal disposition -- repen- tance for the forgiveness of sins. The Church places John's message at the beginning of the liturgical year. We are reminded that just as John encouraged people to change their ways to prepare the way of the Lord! to make his paths straight, the crooked straight and the rough ways smooth, so we are re- minded to prepare ourselves internally and exter- nally for the rebirth of the Lord in our lives, repen- tance means a change, a change enabling all whom we encounter to see the salvation of God. Or as Luke writes: "All flesh shall see the salvation of GOd." Readings: Baruch 5:1.9; Philippians 1:4.6,8.11. i):i i! , :  i <i i : S ) : ii ! SPeaker EdWard Carter, a Xavier University theol- recently spoke on devotion to the Sacred Immaculate Heart at St. Theresa Church, Carter has recently begun publication fChrist, a spirituality newsletter for priests, to 4fi,000 priests nationwide. & MILLER "A family name you can trust" 424-9274 oAUt O! Home, Fire.&.Life, rersonal Ser00ce Agent L. Will Ins. Agency Inc. ktin Street 425-3187 Family, pope heralded at Totus Tuus Conference PHILADELPHIA (CNS) About 4,000 Catholics gath- ered in Philadelphia's Pennsyl- vania Convention Center for what was billed as the Totus Tuus II Conference, but it could have just as easily been called"a national meeting of the Pope John Paul II fan club. Grade school basketball play The following fifth and sixth grade basketball results from league play Nov. 26 at Holy Rosary Church, Evansville, were submitted by Steve Schlachter. St. Benedict Blue 47 -- Holy Spirit15; Holy Rosary Green 34 -- Evansville Christian 20; Good Shepherd 34- St. Bene- dict White 23; Christ the King 30 -- St. Theresa Red 6; Holy Rosary White 44 St. Theresa White 41. HAUBSTADT E-EcT-,c Licensed Bonded Insured Iustrial. Commcial and Residential P.O. Box 405 TONY NAZARtO Hat.-'tadt, IN 47639 812-768-5207 1-800-766-2787 I Focus of the conference was the pope's "priorities and spiri- tuality," according to Jerry Coniker, founder of the Aposto- late for Family Consecration. His Bloomingdale, Ohio-based organization hosted the confer- ence. "We are celebrating the Holy Father's Year of the Family. This is also a reaction to what went on at the Cairo confer- ence," Coniker said. He was re- ferring to criticism of the Vati- can for insisting that abortion not be included in a definition of family planning in a U.N. document on population acted on by nations in Cairo, Egypt, I earlier this year. "We really stand with the Holy Father," he added ........ "When the family is in  " health  spiritual, physical, mental, religious and other- wise -- there is hope for soci- ety," said Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze at a press brief- ing during the Nov. 18-20 gathering. "When the family is sick, all parts of society are in trouble. Religion does have a role to play, does have a word to say, in matters such as the family. If religion is not to marginalize itself, it must help motivate and uphold the family," he said. I II Position Available Secretary in Diocesan Tribunal Office at the Catholic Center. Contact Father James Endress at the Catholic Center, P.O. Box 4169, 4200 North Kentucky Ave., Evans- ville IN 47724-0169, or by telephone 424-5536. (If oulide the Evansville calling area, phone 1-800-637-1731.) I ] = Ed. L. Lee = Mortuary 101 North Meridian Street Washington, IN 254-3612 II II HAMM'S MUSIC beSl m rl insl,eds and accessories Churc Suppls and Chns Lerature SEFWiNG SCHOOLS IN SOUTHERN INDIANA W. IN 254-0643 MUENSTERMAN'S ] FIRESTONE SERVICE, INC. Evansville, IN ' [ " " ,i i, SHETLER MOVING & STORAGE Evansville's First Family of Movers Evansville, Indiana o I, Over 25 years sales and I rvice in the Tri-state | 6,70 E. Franklin 424t4B{ I - .... i ,,i, 1 (812) 2542041 SAVINGS BANK, FSB 200 E Van Trees St. Washn91en 5<X Mare St, Pete