I am sure you are familiar with the question "What is wrong with this picture?"

Well, let us ask it about the above image of the Sacred Heart  - "What is wrong with this picture?" Let's begin at the very beginning. Our Lord Jesus Christ was NOT a white man, let alone a mamby -pamby ineffective looking sop as represented in the the picture.

He was, as we know born a Jew , a Semite and so not your typical Caucasian. Nor was He a soppy character like the above image. He was obviously, from all the Gospel accounts a compelling personality, no doubt strong from the years of his working with Saint Joseph as a carpenter/builder, and  from three years going about Palestine preaching and teaching. Further we know how various people reacted to him - with respect and awe as in the case of the Roman Centurion whose words are immortalised in the Mass :"Lord I am not worthy....".Even the powerful religious Authorities of the day were ultra cautious about dealing with Him, though they hated Him and sought His death. And here we get another glimpse of His compelling personality, because among the reasons for their caution was the fact that the citizenry followed Him in large numbers.

So why do we have to tolerate these embarrassing and false images of Our Lord?

I first began to be openly irked by these images when I formed a very great respect for some young African men -Seminarians. And the more I got to know them and one in particular, I came to looking at things in my mind as they might see them. And it annoyed me that Jesus was portrayed in this way.

Mind you , these men never said a word to me along these lines and I think they would probably disagree with me.

But if Jesus is portrayed as white when He was notthen why not black,brown or yellow? It is just that silly.

Of course that sort of license is taken with images of the Madonna and Child and has been for some while, I have seen Chinese Madonna and Child, Aboriginal Madonna and Child etc. I believe it is inappropriate at least. We should be aiming at an encounter with the real Person of Jesus Christ, and that is not aided by false images.

In the Movie "The Passion of the Christ" I believe the actor Jim Caviezel with his , I think partly Mexican origins, and with the aid of modern make-up artists produced,, a sufficiently "other" appearance to silence the type of criticism I am making above.

The whole subject became a focus of attention in recent times when a simple statement by a female presenter on FOX News gained instant notoriety on the Internet because she said something stupid and because so many people are hostile to FOX.

It appears that an African -American lady had complained that Santa Claus was always "white", saying that as a black person she felt alienated by that fact. An air-headed female presenter then said she could understand that, and that Santa should be "a Penguin" so that no racial group would be offended! The female anchor of the program then promptly responded, starting off correctly but then putting her foot in her mouth!. She said words to the effect that whilst the "Penguin" idea might be great for birds, It would be offensive to all humans. She then started to argue validly, that people might not like a reality - but that is their problem, we do not ignore reality because it makes someone uncomfortable. 

Then disaster overtook her as she said words to the effect that, after all Santa Claus was a white man, and Jesus Himself was a white man! Perhaps she is a simple enough soul to believe that, and she may think that Santa Claus was someone real and be unaware of Saint Nicholas of Myra. And she may have sub-consciously absorbed all of those "white" Jesus images to form the view that Our Lord really was a white man.

Well, it is all very interesting, but it makes it hard to keep in one's mind a good realistic image of Our Lord and Saviour.I think the Holy Shroud of Turin provides the very best reality check.

                                           Holy Shroud of Turin Positive and Negative

And developed from it I believe is this compelling image which I have come to love and admire.


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