Extra! extra! jesus christ returns to Earth
JOURNALIST It’s about to happen here, in Jerusalem. They have confirmed there’ll be a press conference.
CORRESPONDENT Mikes? Cameras? Everything ready?
WOMAN REPORTER Hurry up! He should be arriving soon!
RACHEL Stop pushing, for heaven’s sake! … You people may be from BBC or CNN, but everybody has a right to be here, no? Or do you think you have exclusive rights?
JESUS My, what a lot of people… Shalom! Peace be with you!
RACHEL And who are you?
JESUS Well, let me ask you who are you? … You look a bit bereft of friends.
RACHEL It’s just that these television people think they own everything…. I’m Rachel Perez, a reporter for Emisoras Latinas. And you? Are you from some Palestinian paper?
JESUS No… I’m coming from some distance and …
RACHEL Ah, you’re here as a tourist… As you can see, everybody here has been waiting and waiting, and he still hasn’t arrived…
JESUS And tell me, who are they waiting for? Who is supposed to be coming?
RACHEL Jesus Christ. They’ve announced his Second Coming to Earth, and you can just imagine … it’s front-page news!
JESUS You don’t say? And who made the announcement that he was coming?
RACHEL How do I know? Maybe some angel. I came on the first plane I could get… Let’s see if I’m in luck and can record his words from here when he arrives…
JESUS Well … I have arrived. I am Jesus.
RACHEL You’re who?
JESUS I’m Jesus. Jesus Christ, as you said.
RACHEL What do you mean? You’re Jesus Christ, the one that all these people are waiting for?
JESUS Yes, my friend. Why don’t you believe me?
RACHEL Because…, because…, because you don’t….
JESUS I don’t what?
RACHEL Well, you don’t look like…. Jesus Christ.
JESUS And according to you, what does Jesus Christ look like?
RACHEL I don’t know, because I’ve never seen him,… but … to begin with, you don’t talk the way Jesus Christ would talk.
JESUS And how is Jesus Christ supposed to talk? [in a deep voice] Like this, with a voice like thunder?
RACHEL I don’t really know… I’m not very religious, but …
JESUS I’m serious. I am Jesus, from Nazareth, the one these people are waiting for.
RACHEL Really?… But… but how do I know it’s you, I mean, that you’re Jesus Christ, … sir?
JESUS And how do I know that you are … what did you say your name was?
RACHEL Rachel, Rachel Perez, special correspondent for Emisoras Latinas.
JESUS How do I know that Rachel is Rachel? Trust in my word. I am Jesus.
RACHEL It’s not a question of trust, but you just don’t look like the Christ of the King of Kings … or the one of Zefirelli … or the one of Mel Gibson’s Passion.
JESUS And who are those gentlemen?
RACHEL People who have made films about you.
RACHEL Movies, films… I’ll explain it to you later. But are you absolutely sure you’re Jesus Christ? You aren’t pulling my leg, are you?
JESUS Yes, that’s who I am.
RACHEL Jesus Christ, the son of the Virgin Mary? The one who lived here in Palestine two thousand years ago? The one on the cross, the one in the Bible, the one…?
JESUS Yes, the very same, but you’re beginning to make me doubt it with all those questions!
RACHEL Well, then, I’ve been lucky indeed. I’m getting the breaking news. What luck to find you in the middle of this crowd of reporters! … Will you give me an interview, Mr. Jesus Christ?
JESUS Of course, Rachel, but let’s get out of this crowd, because there’s too much noise here, all right?
RACHEL Put me on the air, control… One, two… Yes?… Yes?… I’ve got him right here! Hello, friends of Emisoras Latinas. Thanks to our exceptional journalistic nose, we have succeeded in finding Jesus Christ in the middle of this multitude that has been waiting hours for him here on the esplanade of the mosques, in the very heart of Jerusalem. We’ll be right back with you after this short break!
ANNOUNCER Another God is Possible. Exclusive interviews with Jesus Christ in his second coming to Earth. A production of María and José Ignacio López Vigil, with the support of the Syd Forum and Christian Aid.
*More information about this polemical topic…*
Anxious … and with good reason
The “second coming” of Jesus Christ, which is mentioned in the gospels, was anxiously awaited by some of the first Christian communities. Saint Paul himself was convinced that the final day was coming soon (1 Thessalonians 4,13-18), but he had to admonish some Christians because their concern about the future was preventing them from dealing with other matters. For example, they weren’t working, and were living with a futile impatience that tended to make them irresponsible (2 Thessalonians 2,1-7 and 3,6-12). Those were times when Christians were suffering great persecution, and the communities were anxiously awaiting the day of their definitive liberation. The final book of the Bible, the Apocalypse, was written in a similar context; its beautiful but sometimes terrifying symbolism about the end of the world was aimed at consoling the Christians who were suffering at the hands of Rome’s imperial power.
Millenarianism yesterday and today
Christian expectation of the second coming of Jesus Christ is expressed in the words of the Creed: He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. The second coming of Jesus Christ may best be understood as a symbolic representation that helps to bolster our efforts to build a new and better world. But many preachers and many religious publications, both Catholic and Protestant, announce it today as something real and often even imminent. Not only does such preaching foster fear and anxiety, but it often presents the second coming as the only possible solution to the complex problems of humankind. In the year 1000, as the first millennium gave way to the second, many beliefs of this sort were common among the people, and they gave birth to a movement called “millenarianism”. More recently, in the year 2000, at the beginning of the third millennium, the same kind of fright took hold again.
The end of the world, with date and all
Among the many people who have announced the imminence of the second coming of Jesus Christ, even giving an exact date, is the American minister and preacher William Miller, who headed a strong millenarian movement. His followers were expecting the end of the world and the second coming of Jesus Christ on October 22, 1844. When his prediction failed, some of his followers founded the Seventh Day Adventist Church, which today has spread throughout the United States and Latin America. A few years later the Jehovah’s Witnesses arose, with very similar ideas; they are now waiting for what they call “Armageddon”, the moment when Jesus Christ will return and take with him to heaven the 144 thousand persons who are the “chosen ones”. They also believe that Jesus Christ already returned to earth, although in an invisible form, in 1914.
Simply a literary device
In the programs of this series, “Another God is Possible,” the second coming of Jesus Christ is just a literary device for organizing reflections about Christianity, its origins, its dogmas, its practices, its beliefs, its essence. Those who listen to these programs or read these scripts may wonder: Where was Jesus Christ during the past two thousand years? Hidden? With God in heaven? Where did he come from? Such questions are asking for a logical and theological answer that the authors cannot supply. What we can do is try to imagine how Jesus Christ might today examine and evaluate what has been said and what has been done in his name during the last two millennia.