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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Jesus is Sitting Next to us in the Movie Theater of our Lives

by Fr. Richard Veras

There is a scene in an episode of a popular cartoon in which two women are in a movie theater watching a documentary about a homeless man. The documentary is apparently very beautiful and, as the women well up with tears, one tells the other how wonderful the man on the movie screen is. It turns out that the homeless man himself is sitting right next to them in the movie theater and, as he nudges one of the women to express his appreciation, both women shudder with disgust at this smelly, crass homeless man that they have had the misfortune to encounter.

This scene impresses me as a paradigm of the way we can relate, or fail to relate, to the real Jesus … The Jesus of art, hymn, poetry and spiritual reflection can be beautiful and attractive, but powerless to effect real conversion ...

The Word has become flesh and has pitched his tent among us. He has moved next door to us, he sits next to us in the theater. In fact, he wants to marry us! Do we welcome him in all his otherness or do we shudder in disgust? The real Jesus, relentlessly challenging and disturbing, is seeking a home in our hearts; let us not reject him in favor of fleeting images on the small screens of our minds.

Richard Veras is the author of Jesus of Israel: Finding Christ in the Old Testament published by Servant Books
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