Patricia Sánchez holds a master’s degree in literature and religion of the Bible from a joint degree program at Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary in New York. She is a regular contributor to NCR's sister publication, Celebration.
Patricia Datchuck Sánchez
Spiritual Reflections: Although the desire to assign places for others in the afterlife is tempting, the sacred texts summon our attention and our energies elsewhere.
At the peak of his 40-year career, radio broadcaster Paul Harvey (1918-2009) was heard on 1,600 radio stations by 24 million people weekly. He was best-known for what he called "The Rest of the Story." In that segment, he'd feature some well-known person or event and then supply his listeners with some added and perhaps previously unknown information that completed the story and made it all the more fascinating. Hence, the rest of the story.
Humans have a penchant for cultivating an "us and them" mentality. In the ancient world, some among Jesus' contemporaries had grown up with such a mentality, and it was difficult to overcome. For centuries, the Jews had been accustomed to their special role as God's chosen people. They were to be uniquely instrumental in God's plan of salvation for all people.
Growing up, we each had chores so that we might contribute toward the family's well-being and learn responsibility. One of mine, not my favorite, was to keep the fire going when my dad set up the grill for a cookout. After the charcoal was lit, it was my job to keep fanning the embers so they'd glow with heat until all the food was cooked.