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
Levi Rose And Followed Him
- February 19, 2012
As Jesus passes by the customs-house by the lakeside, he sees an accountant, Levi by name -- in some versions, the man is called Matthew ‚Äď and calls him to discipleship. Immediately Levi leaves everything, and follows Jesus.
Like the other vocation stories, this one too is characterized by the generosity and the promptitude of the person called.
The second part of the story has to do with a meal at Levi‚Äôs place in which there‚Äôs ‚Äėbad company‚Äô ‚Äď tax-gatherers and other unsavoury characters -- and Jesus is seen enjoying himself in their midst. Once again, the ‚Äėgood people‚Äô ‚Äď the Pharisees and the Jewish theologians ‚Äď take umbrage. ‚ÄúHow can a prophet be seen in such company ?!‚ÄĚ they argue with Jesus‚Äôs disciples. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a shame!‚ÄĚ
Jesus‚Äôs reply is proverbial: ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I didn‚Äôt come to call the virtuous, but sinners.‚ÄĚ I‚Äôm on a mission to heal and save. This includes everyone. Even those not considered worthy.
Most of us have been taught to shun the evil person and keep oneself safe from temptation. That may be a valid principle most of the time. But there‚Äôs also another principle which is as pertinent. Empowered by the spirit, one may be called to mix with those very ‚Äėbad people‚Äô in order to save them. Here one acts as a doctor amid the sick, and one‚Äôs presence brings healing not infection. In other words, it‚Äôs not moral exclusion which operates here, but saving mission.
Jesus‚Äôs answers always stand the conventional wisdom on its head.