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They Could Not See Him for the Press
Thursday, February 2, 2017
How might the mainstream media have covered Jesus of Nazareth? It’s worth trying to imagine.
[Galilee Post, c.f. Luke 4:21] Nazareth-native Jesus ben Joseph today made quite a stir at his hometown synagogue, completing his reading of the prophet Isaiah by declaring: “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Such an announcement likely belongs more to the tabloids than to serious news. Indeed, analysts have noted that such as an assertion – which amounts to claiming the title of Messiah – seems a bit premature, given Jesus’ humble beginnings as the son of a poor carpenter, let alone widespread allegations that his birth occurred under notorious circumstances. Would the Messiah really choose backwater Nazareth as the springboard for his campaign?
[Herodian Herald, c.f. Matthew 10:1-4] As part of Jesus ben Joseph’s surprising (and ill-fated) attempt to run for Messiah, the carpenter’s son has reportedly chosen his inner circle, or Apostles, as they are now calling themselves. What is most unfortunate about Jesus’ “cabinet” is its crude uniformity, all of them young Jewish men. Moreover, there is a palpably disproportionate number of fishermen, suggesting this nascent movement will be heavily biased in favor of the fishing industry. At least half are a real basket of deplorables. Indeed, what is the public to make of his choice of spokesman, an abrasive, and loudmouth fisherman named Simon, who is known more for his poor professional tradecraft than leading a populist movement? That Simon is now going by the name Peter will fool no one.
[Judaean Times, c.f. Luke 14:26] Jesus of Nazareth continues to raise eyebrows with his shockingly binary declarations, including, most recently, this: “If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Our editorial board cannot condone these kinds of statements that so casually encourage “hate,” especially in this time that is so desperate for moderate voices. Some have sought to defend the Galilean’s pronouncements by claiming that his comments should be interpreted hyperbolically or metaphorically. This will simply not do: a man of Jesus’ public character can ill afford to allow his comments to be so easily misinterpreted, as they most certainly will be, particularly by his more radical followers.
[Pharisee News Network, c.f. Matthew 15:21-28] Witnesses in the districts of Tyre and Sidon have recorded a particularly concerning interaction between Jesus and a Canaanite woman who sought his help in healing her demon-possessed daughter. According to several individuals present, Jesus compared the Canaanite woman to a “dog” to whom one would not throw one’s food. Even more disconcerting is the fact that Jesus praised the woman for pleading with him that if she were a dog, she at least was deserving of the “crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Such misogynistic language on the part of a hopeful Messiah can scarcely be tolerated.
[Sadducean Post, c.f. Matthew 8:5-13] In what is likely a face-saving measure given earlier criticism of his derogatory comments toward a poor Canaanite woman, Jesus appeared to praise another Gentile, this time a Roman centurion. Jesus reportedly declared, “Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” It is unfortunate that in his attempt to make up for his earlier insensitive remarks, Jesus is now resorting to a praise that can only be deemed to be deeply patronizing. Jesus’ “my Roman” declaration ultimately comes off as too little, too late.
[Daily Sabbath] Reports continue to abound of Jesus’ alleged miracle-working, as witnesses note his ability to heal an assortment of individuals across Judea and the hinterlands. The blind, crippled, sick, demon-possessed, and many others suffering all manner of maladies have allegedly been cured at the hands of this snake-oil salesman. Even if these reports are true, Jesus’ actions are highly insulting, implying that there is something wrong with the diverse crowd he encounters. Rather than “heal” such individuals, this supposed Messiah should instead seek to affirm them where they are, and stop trying to change those who don’t need to be changed.
[Jerusalem Globe] The ne’er-do-well Nazorean’s first few days in the capital have been both appalling and unsettling, with Jesus declaring a list of “seven woes” directed at the leading scribes and Pharisees of Judea. That a man aspiring to the title of Messiah would so brashly censure the intellectual and cultural elites of our country demonstrates his deep naiveté, making enemies with the exact people he would needs as allies. The circus act that was his driving out the moneychangers from the temple court in turn exemplified how little Jesus understands even basic economic principles. Furthermore, his preposterous claim to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days demonstrates the levels of irrationality and absurdity to which his entire campaign has been reduced.
[Sanhedrin Weekly] The trial, guilty verdict, and execution leveled at the supposed Galilean prophet Jesus of Nazareth are a fitting, if unfortunate, end to the “ministry” of this would-be messiah. Such an outcome is perhaps the inevitable and necessary result of the words and actions of a man whose caustic language and indecipherable actions so frequently riled our nation’s increasingly tolerant sensibilities. One can only hope that the rural bumpkins responsible for Jesus’ meteoric rise and fall will recognize that their needs are best left to our country’s elites, who truly have the best interest of the nation in mind.
[Judean Press] A leaked document from inside the Sanhedrin notes the claims of several of Jesus’ followers that the ersatz messiah has purportedly raised from the dead. Here to provide commentary on this development is Saul of Tarsus, who offers five reasons, drawn from Torah, why Jesus couldn’t possibly have been resurrected. . .
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