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
Conversion Of St Paul
- January 25, 2013
Paul himself was an expatriate Jew, born and brought up in Tarsus of Cilicia (southern Turkey today). He was a devout pharisee and a rabbi by profession, knowledgeable in the Judaic law and its applications. He was also a Roman citizen by birth, and had trained as a public speaker in Greek and in Aramaic. He was familiar with Jerusalem, having studied there as a young man, and was distressed at this new “way” of interpreting the Law and the Prophets supposedly started by the Galilean called Jesus. When Stephen, one of Jesus’s followers, was lynched by an outraged mob in the Temple precincts, Paul nodded in approval.
But this wasn’t enough. Paul determined to stamp out Jesus’s followers wherever they might be, and this is why he was on his way to Damascus with letters of authority from the high priest. What happened to him on the road to that city shattered his life forever.
What was this? Jesus made himself present to Paul and challenged him. This took the form of a blinding light, which dazzled Paul and his entourage, and cast him to the ground, blinded. A voice called out, asking Paul why he was persecuting him. Paul asked who this was. “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting,” the voice said, and told him to get up and continue into the city, where he would be shown what to do.
Paul had never persecuted Jesus; he had merely hounded his disciples. For the first time now, he realizes – and it was a realization which never left him all his life – that in his disciples, in his Church, the Lord is present. It is a re-casting of Jesus’s dictum: “whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do to me.” Paul will later rephrase this in his own way, writing to his young Christians: “You are the body of Christ.”