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
"What Do You Want With Us, Jesus of Nazareth?"
- January 11, 2011
In the ancient world, sickness was understood as being in thrall to evil spirits. This is why many of Jesusâ€™s miracles are described in terms of exorcisms. A common feature of such miracle stories is to exaggerate the symptoms of the afflicted one, as in this case, where the evil spirits, speaking through the mouth of the victim, identify Jesus and challenge him.
Itâ€™s not a question of acknowledging Jesusâ€™s divinity here. Itâ€™s just that the demons recognize that they are in the presence of a holy person, a man filled with Godâ€™s spirit, who will surely destroy them.
Again, in the ancient world, to know someoneâ€™s name was to have magical power over him. The demons seek to frighten Jesus by declaring his name. Jesus says but two sentences to the evil spirits: â€śBe silent! Come out of him.â€ť And the spirits leave the possessed man with a loud scream, throwing the man into convulsions.
The crowd is astonished beyond measure. Their own exorcists had lengthy rituals to expel demons and even then they were often unsuccessful. But Jesus is different. â€śHe speaks with authority,â€ť they said. â€śWhen he gives orders, even the spirits obey.â€ť For the first time, but certainly not for the last, this obscure rabbi from Galilee has a way about him which makes others sit up and take note.
As word of mouth spreads the news about this cure, simultaneously another question is bandied around: who can he be?