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Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Answer is Blowin' in the Wind

In 2009, rock legend Bob Dylan was on tour with Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp and decided to kill time before the evening's performance by walking around a neighborhood near the seashore. Someone called the police to report that a man was wandering around the low-income area. Two young officers equally unaware of American pop culture icons approached him.

"What is your name, sir?" the officer asked.
"Bob Dylan," he said.
"OK, what are you doing here?" the officer asked.
"I'm on tour," the singer replied.

Dylan wasn't carrying any identification so they took him to his hotel, where several tour staff vouched for him. The officers stated afterward that he couldn't have been nicer to them.

Apparently, according to a new poll, Jesus suffers a similar fate. Unfathomable amounts of ink have been spilled over the centuries since the invention of the printing press in writings about the person of Jesus Christ. But the truth of the matter is that none of them, not one, help us know Jesus. No matter how well we may think we know Jesus, we do not. No matter how much of the Bible we have studied, how thoroughly we have studied it, how exhaustively we have sought out the main character of the New Testament, Jesus of Nazareth, none of that, none of it, helps us know Jesus at all. And it is probably also true that the more we think we know Jesus, the less likely it is that we actually do.

The same notion as to the unrecognizability of Jesus is also in the Gospels. Mary Magdalene did not recognize him at the tomb. Two of the disciples walking on the road to Emmaus did not recognize him either. In another episode, Thomas looks at Jesus straight in the eye but does not know him until he places he hand in his wounds. What makes us think that we who are alive today are any better? Yet by the sounds of it - many commentaries, writers, journalists and church goers believe they have Jesus all figured out. But is that really possible?

Today, an insightful poll officially closes here at Homeless In America. For the past year, we asked the following question of our readers, visitors and bloggers:

“The first time God entered our world, unrecognizable to the “church” – He came as a helpless baby, in a barn and as a migrant. He journeyed with 12 dirty, sweaty and uneducated homeless men. If He obscurely came in poverty today, would the church know Him?”

Here is how they responded . . .

11% said, “Yes, I think that most Christians would recognize Him.”

88% responded, “No, I think that most would be clueless.”

In closing, it's hard to imagine an icon of a generation like Bob Dylan being unrecognized. Even in 2009, one would think his face would serve as his ID with anyone over the age of twenty. It has been said, and is backed up by our poll, that if Jesus came back today, he might be arrested for loitering. What is the world coming to? "The answer, my friend, is blowin in the wind, the answer is blowin in the wind."

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Anonymous said...

Indeed, I truly believe Jesus would be arrested if He returned here, and he wouldn't pass the psychological tests to serve others either. And dare HE say he could cure! Not allowed without a state license.

newguy40 said...

Frist of all, I voted that He would not be recognized in today's world.

But, that does not mean that he is unrecognizable to us. You cited Mary Magdalene as not recognizing his newly resurected self? True.
But, surely, she DID recognize him when He spoke to her.

How can we today recognize Jesus and come to know him? I have to disagree with you. Just as Jesus spoke to Mary Magdalene, he will and does speak to us! We can hear and recognize Christ in the gospels. We can recognize and be with Christ in the most Holy Eucharist. He IS waiting for us hidden in the bread of life in the nearest Catholic church. Can you imagine this great grace and blessing?! He is there in the other sacraments too! And, Mass! And, of course, in our most private personal prayers, too

Of course, as you say so frequently on this site, we see him in the poor and suffering brothers and sisters.

ALL of these help us know Jesus. He wants us to know him and thru Him God the Father. All that requires is the tiniest opening in ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Inspiring newguy!