Here’s how this week’s arts and culture column begins:
One of our Gospel readings during Advent was Matthew’s account of the miracle of the loaves and fishes. Christ went up on the mountain, near the Sea of Galilee. He sat down. “Great crowds” came to him: the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute. “They placed them at his feet and he cured them.”
You can picture the stage set: Christ, the Messiah, seated on top of the mountain: the crowds so far below they are literally at his feet. They have to crane their necks to see his face.
This would be the place where an earthly king would whip out his scepter, call for his crown, and start issuing orders to his minions. But Christ is completely different than an earthly king.
Far from using his office to summon more power to himself, he lets his power go out to those who need healing, which is another way of saying those who need love. They’re thronging his place on the mountain, jostling, elbowing, handing forward the sickest one by one to the front. We can picture him bending down, cocking his head to hear, reaching out to tenderly touch heads, faces, hands.
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