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December 9, 1994     The Message
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December 9, 1994

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__=December 9, 1994 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana _ II "- Commentary-- Preaching of John the Baptist: Luke's three sources d GOSpel commentary for Sun- ay, December 11, 1994, Fourth Sunday of Advent, Cycle C, Luke 3:10.18. Last week Luke introduced us to John the Baptist He portrayed John as a prophet in the pattern of 01d Testament prophets. To de- scribe John and his mission Luke Used words first spoken of and/or by Second Isaiah about 540 B.C., Words that promised consolation, By FATHER DON DILGER Joy, freedom, a return from exile, COLUMNIST and a vision of God's saving power. The core of John's preaching was q.escribed as a message of repentance for the for- glVeness of sins Luke placed special emphasis on the Universal claracter of John's message. It was rneaat not only for John's own neonle, the Jews, but for t ,- .- sal- he Whole human race: "All flesh shall see God's ration hat on an earlier os el, Luke depended somew the .Go g p ,, spel of Mark, when he described John the u'ts'.He Wove Mark's words into ideas that he ri'- lI. had gathered in his own research, as he i _s m his introduction to his gospel, "having fol- wed all things closely for some time hast." A sec- if.llwed that included a scathing ndictment of usm, SOmewhat uncharacteristic of Luke who " es .to he a kinder and gentler type of convert to I iseStiunity. But Luke depended on sources and , SOUrces sometimes were vehemently anti- J ,Wish. As said before in this column, inspiration d uot remove human -re'udices from those who rote ..... P c ade u:hgl spels" Thus when Luke chose to in- t Le ido, ,SOurces, he also accepts and agrees with -"o mey express. In today's gospel reading, how- ever, Luke returns to his own ideas. Here we see the real Luke speaking. It is a message full of compassion for the people who come to John for baptism. They ask him for advice. To the question, "What shall we do?" Luke advises sharing with the poor. This is far more characteristic of Luke than denunciations. Through- out his gospel he shows great con- cern for the poor, for minorities, for women, especially widows, and for all who were hated and shunned by others. For example, tax collectors. When they come to John to ask for advice, he advises them to collect no more than they have a right to collect. The tax collectors' much needed bodyguards come up next. John advises them not to extort money from the clients of the tax collectors, nor to falsely accuse people of not paying their taxes, and to be content with their wages. Ob- viously these soldiers were known for extortion, as were the tax collectors, and for falsely accusing peo- ple of not paying their taxes when they didn't agree to be victims of extortion. Today we would call it protection money. Luke's John the Baptist speaks to the heart of all who are looking for a better life. This little dialogue with repentant sinners is found only in Luke. Luke points out that John was so popular that many thought he might be the long awaited Mes- siah who was to deliver his people from oppression -- in this case, Roman oppression. John responded that he was not the one, but someone mightier than himself was on the way. John's relationship to this "mighty one" is described as that of the lowest slave to his master, "the thong of whose sandals I am not 11 worthy to untie." Because John was so revered and had generated a great following, our four gospel au- thors are ever careful to put John into his place the role of servant to Jesus. When our gospels were written 40 to 70 years after the death of John and Jesus, the followers of John the Baptist were still so many and so important that the gospel authors found it necessary to repeatedly point out John's lower status. The major difference between John and Jesus: "He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit .... "To describe the relationship of John to Jesus Luke had been following Mark's lead. Now he turns to a source he had used earlier -- a source that is full of denunciation. Its author must have been a fire and brimstone preacher. He speaks of clearing out the threshing floor and burning the chaff in everlasting fire. Then Luke allows himself to speak once more when he adds: "So with many other exhortations John proclaimed Good News to the people:" And so Luke portrays John the Baptist full of threats, denunciations, condemnations, a fire and brimstone preacher, a fiery prophet like the Old Testament prophets before him. That is one side of the coin. The other side is a man of deep compas- sion who brings hope in the midst of despair, who takes time to be with the poor, and above all a man of humility who recognizes his role as that of a ser- vant. Whether John historically reflected both sides of the coin or is so portrayed because of Luke's use of different literary sources we do not know. It is the message that is important: To share with the poor and to deal honestly with all. Only then will we be ready for him "who baptizes with the Holy Spirit and with fire7 Readings: Luke: 3:14.18; Philippians 4:4. 7. oQOlden dubilari "ns ?tedahdei ldred (Benk, Wallace of Haubstadt cele- a uttleth versa wth a Mass of L , ks-_. " wedding anni ry " elr s'VlUg. A dinner, hosted b their children and i.,areiea'Was held at the Log Inn Dec. 4. The couple Walp.  uec. 6, 1944, at St. James by Father John Ji''t ee of F eyare the parents of seven children: Tom  Wallae: rt B.ranch, Barbara Stolz, Karen Elpers and 0t'Ville, ,_all of Haubstadt, Richard Wallace of tiC:t: Welldelldt.Pam Wilderman and Steve Wallace, both f:u fom " ley have 12 grandchildren. Mr. Wallace re- ym the ,eOrge Koch Sons and Mrs. Wallace retired I'll E'rLE R MOVING Van '- STORAGE SVllle,s First Family of Movers .Vsvi I I e, Indiana Kimball International Jasper, Indiana 1994 Victorian Christmas "A CHRISTMAS JEWEL" November 25 thru December 30 Open Every Day 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Adults -- $4.00 Students -- $2.00 Children -- $1.00 Gift Shop & Sweet Shop Victorian Jewelry on Display REITZ HOME MUSEUM 224 S.E. First Street Evansville, Indiana RESTAURANT SPECIALIZING IN DELICIOUS GERMAN FOOD PRIME RIB CHARBROILED STEAK COUNTRY FRIED CHICKEN SEAFOODS SALAD BAR BANQUET ROOM FOR PRIVATE PARTIES FOR ALL YOUR /TNG NEEDS, CALL I 482"2640 ]  I'hW. 162S. 393 3rd. Ave., Jasper, IN "Over 50 Semi Loads In Stock" 36" coy. #I white from $41.95 sq. (13 colors slightly higher) #2 metal ....... $26.95o $37.95 sq. #3 metal ....... $18.95 to $29.95 sq. 5V and 1-1/2"galv. 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If doing this interest you, please wdte or Mr. Raymond Hill, 2591 OIde Hi!! E:. N. Columbus, OH 43221-3638, 614-488-6033, I I II I