UCAN needs your support
You are why we do what we do - report, describe, comment, review. It is to bring to your eyes just what life is like for believers across Asia that we publish UCAN.
But as you know, the effort needs to be sustained if it is to have continuing effect.
UCAN publishes some 150 stories a week in four languages across six websites. We are grateful to benefactors in Europe and the US who support us. But those countries and the Church there are under increasing financial strain and their generosity no longer covers our costs.
We need financial help from our readers to sustain our efforts. Our reporters, editors, video producers and photographers all have families and we need to support them. They do excellent jobs, but they can't do their jobs for nothing.
Will you help us to sustain UCAN? Please click here to help.
Thanks in anticipation.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
"Blessed are you"
- January 30, 2011
The Eight Beatitudes introduce the â€˜Sermon on the Mountâ€™ in Matthewâ€™s Gospel. They are the evangelistâ€™s way of presenting Jesus as the new Moses, giving his people a new way of life. Matthew means this to be an unfolding, a practical presentation of what he calls â€˜the good news of the reign of Godâ€™. And what is that news? God loves us as we are - poor, sick, outcast, sorrowful. And his love will transform us and make us blessed.
In themselves the Beatitudes are paradoxical. This is because it is natural to desire wealth and prosperity and shun their opposite. We believe that wealth will make us happy, that possessions will keep us content. So why does Jesus present happiness as arising from poverty, meekness, compassion and the like? This goes against the grain.
Jesus wants us to realize that God loves not just the rich, but those who are poor and oppressed. In fact He has a special love for the poor and the meek. Ordinary people - the meek, the sorrowful, those defrauded of justice, the honest and compassionate - are much closer to the Lord than we believe. The Beatitudes say, God knows your condition. God is with you. The â€˜good newsâ€™ is preached to you, specially. The kingdom of heaven is yours.
Conventional wisdom thinks the opposite. The rich and successful consider themselves closer to God because of what they have. But Jesus turns the conventional wisdom on its head. You are happy and blessed even though you donâ€™t have much, says Jesus, even though you are exploited and oppressed and sorrowful. Donâ€™t think you are god-forsaken, no! God has a special care for you.
All through his public life, Jesus went out of his way to show how much he cared for the poor, the sick and the outcast. They were truly the â€˜chosen peopleâ€™. And by his works, Jesus made the beatitudes come true.