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 Rich Man And Lazarus
- February 28, 2013
It’s addressed as a warning to the Pharisees who were fond of money, but who felt that a formal observance of the Law protected them. Jesus points out that external observance doesn’t help, if internal attitude is wrong. The internal attitude ought to be one of compassion. He illustrates it with the story of the rich man and the beggar.
As a story, this parable has no nuances. It’s all black and white: bad rich man, good poor man. Rich man enjoys good times on earth; poor man, bad times. Poor man in heaven, rich man in hell.
It’s also the only parable in which one of the characters has a name, Lazarus, which means ‘God helps’ in Hebrew. This may be an allusion to Lazarus of Bethany, whose resurrection from the dead failed to convince the Jewish leadership that Jesus was the messiah.
The crux of the parable is the insensitivity shown by the rich man to Lazarus the beggar Lazarus. This insensitivity meets its just retribution in the afterlife, when the tables are turned. Then the rich man begs for one little act of kindness, from someone whom he denied it to on earth.
The moral of the story is that if we do not act with justice and compassion towards our fellow men, here and now, we can expect a crushing retribution in the time to come. What blinds us is our fondness for riches. It blinds us not only to the observance of the Law, but even to a warning from the dead !