Monday, June 24, 2013

"Who do you say that I am?"

Leaving Mass yesterday evening, I snagged a copy of my parish bulletin as I do every week. On the cover of this Sunday's edition was a somewhat pixelated representation of Jesus, and my very first thought was, "Wow, that looks like David Copperfield with a beard."

I tried not to laugh, especially since yesterday's gospel reading was the "Who do you say that I am?" passage from Luke, and that very question, along with a reflection on the gospel passage, was directly below the picture of David Copperfield Jesus.

David Copperfield, or is it just me?
Now, I don't follow the illusionist, so I don't know why my mind immediately went in that particular direction (for all I know, the artist might have used Mr. Copperfield as a's probably more accurate than artwork that depict Jesus as a blond). But I think it's a little like people watching in airports. You're sitting there, waiting for your flight, perhaps munching on a snack to pass the time, and you gaze at the people rushing by. I inevitably see people who look like someone I know. Or when people post photos of old school class pictures or yearbook pages to Facebook, especially from the early 90s, the look exactly like people I went to school with, although in that case, I'm pretty sure the clothes and hairstyles have more to do with it than actual recognition.We look for the familiar.

Ultimately, though, it's not what Jesus looked like that's important, but who He is because, until we get to Heaven (God willing!), we won't see His face. Who do you say Jesus is?

Today, we celebrate the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, someone who knew (even while he was in the womb of his mother, Elizabeth!) exactly who Jesus was:

"Next day, John saw Jesus coming towards him; and he said, Look, this is the Lamb of God; look, this is he who takes away the sin of the world. It is of him that I said, One is coming after me who takes rank before me; he was when I was not. I myself did not know who he was, although the very reason why I have come, with my baptism of water, is to make him known to Israel. John also bore witness thus, I saw the Spirit coming down from heaven like a dove, and resting upon him. Till then, I did not know him; but then I remembered what I had been told by the God who sent me to baptize with water. He told me, The man who will baptize with the Holy Spirit is the man on whom thou wilt see the Spirit come down and rest. Now I have seen him, and have borne my witness that this is the Son of God." John 1: 29-34

St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

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