Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
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.