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
The Birth Of Jesus
- December 25, 2012
Joseph and his wife Mary have been displaced from their home in Nazareth because of a census requirement. It necessitates their moving to their native township, Bethlehem, city of David, from whom Joseph claims descent.
Mary is heavy with child. They arrive late. There is crowding and confusion all around, and no decent accommodation available at any local caravanserai. Finally, place is found in a cave of sorts where animals are stabled, and it is here that Mary gives birth to her first-born Jesus, and lays him in a manger. Yes, Jesus was a “displaced person” from the very first moment of his birth.
It is the poor who receive the “good news” of salvation first of all. These are the shepherds, keeping the night watch over their flocks on the hills around Bethlehem. Shepherds were generally considered vagrants, but another tradition also sees them as the innocent ones to whom divinity reveals itself. In this case, the angel of the Lord announces the birth of the messiah, and encourages the shepherds to go and visit. Three significant titles are given to the infant Jesus: saviour, anointed, lord. They are titles of Jesus rich in meaning in the early Church.
The “glory of the Lord” shone around the shepherds. In the Bible, this phrase is associated with the great redeeming acts of God. God’s actions bring him glory, and the birth of his Son is his greatest saving action.
The angels proclaim, “Glory to God in the highest, and peace to men of goodwill”. It’s not that our goodwill bring us peace, but rather it’s God’s antecedent love for us which
brings us peace and blessings.
There it is, so simply told by Luke. And yet, we know, the birth of this Christ Child changed the world. The birth of the poor man’s child is still a sign that God has not given up on this world.