It can be very confusing ... .
Who is right? Which candidate would make the best representative? And how can we be sure?
Take a survey!
Surveys have become a popular form of entertainment. Game shows use surveys to test the contestants on what other people thought was the best answer to the questions being asked. TV Commercials promote sharing your thoughts with survey companies willing to pay good money for your responses.
It’s as if they are desperate to learn what the next fad or direction will be so that they can get ‘out in front’ and market their wares and make lots of money on your answers (and ideas).
In the gospel account of Jesus asking his disciples who the crowds thought he was, he wasn’t looking for some sort of adulation from the crowd. Earlier on, the crowd wanted to make him king and he had quietly slipped out of town before they could do so. He was testing the waters to see what people were saying and if his disciples were picking up on their confusion or if they were getting what he had been telling them since he had first invited them to ‘come and see.’
St. Francis of Assisi, the ‘universal’ saint, preached a life of witness, not merely the flapping of gums… Use words sparingly, he said. Let your good works speak for you.
And that is what Jesus counts on when John’s disciples ask if he is the one they were waiting for or if they should seek another. Jesus tells them to tell John (the Baptizer) the witness of the miracles – the lame walk, the deaf hear and the blind can see. Even the dead rise from the tombs. Need Jesus say more?
Anything else would be perceived as self-aggrandizement. A lack of humility. Bragging.
Never-the-less, it must have bothered Jesus that even with all these signs and wonders, people still didn’t ‘get it!’ They were caught up in their own pre-conceived notion of what the promised Messiah would look like and what he would do when he came.
They forgot the words of the Psalmist who said he would be unassuming and would have no stately bearing. And he would bear our sins and suffer.
Jesus wasn’t the ‘warrior king’ that they expected. He wasn’t the Messiah they needed. He would be rejected in favor of the status quo. They would have to continue to wait for another to come…
Meanwhile, the world would continue to conduct surveys, polls and make predictions about the future for millennia to come.
John Degano is a deacon serving at St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish in Riverside.