The Voice of Jesus
The Oscars are next Sunday! I love the Academy Awards. They give us a chance to recall the outstanding films of last year. My favorite was a documentary called “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” It’s a moving portrait of the television personality Fred Rogers, who inspired generations of children, like me, with his imagination and compassion for others.
“Mister Rogers” was my first encounter with a truly Christ-like teacher. A recent critic noticed how he moved us, gently and liturgically, through his home. Each episode included an “opening greeting, invocations of friends and family, followed by a physical movement through the set’s spaces. In the kitchen, Rogers might learn from a friend how to make paper hats. He concluded where he started, changing back into street clothes and singing a dismissal, with a last spoken note on the value of caring for others, followed by a song.”
This film reminded me how grateful I am for early faith teachers like Fred Rogers. He helped me to feel what the warm welcome, friendly smile and kind voice of Christ might have been like. I use all that to imagine Jesus speaking today’s Sermon on the Plain, the sum of his ethical teachings. We’re told in John 7:46, “No man ever spoke like this Man!”
How might the voice of Jesus have sounded to our ears had we stood with him on that “level place” long ago? Try to imagine him speaking the words to you that Fred Rogers often sang for his audience at home: “It’s you I like!”
—Joe Kraemer, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the Jesuits West Province currently finishing his second year of Regency in the Advancement Office in Los Gatos, California.
Please share the Good Word with your friends!