Saturday, April 11, 2020


A 2013 study from the University of Augsburg, Germany and the University of Wisconsin-Madison postulates that movie watchers “are not necessarily attracted to violence per se, but seem to be drawn to violent content because they anticipate other benefits, such as thrill and suspense. These findings suggest that such hedonistic pleasures are only part of the story about why we willingly expose ourselves to scenes of bloodshed and aggression. Some types of violent portrayals seem to attract audiences because they promise to satisfy truth-seeking motivations by offering meaningful insights into some aspect of the human condition.”

Maybe. Or it’s also possible that some people just like to watch stuff blow up.

You know, some folks get upset when there’s not enough action for their tastes. Some scholars speculate that’s why a lot of those who welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem with waving palm leaves turned on him less than a week later. You see, there were a lot of expectations among Jews about who and what their eventual messiah would be, but it boiled down to two main ideas, one of a suffering servant and the other of a conquering king. Apparently, thanks in no small part to the Roman occupation, the desire for a messianic conquering king was the one most in vogue at the time Jesus made the scene.

People were looking for a man of action; what they got in Jesus was a guy who was imprisoned, tortured, and killed by the authorities. As Acts 1 makes clear, even after Jesus returned, the Apostles were still of the mind that an uprising was imminent. “When they had gathered together they asked him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” Even for those closest to him, it took a little time to get it.

As Father Roger Vermalen Karban writes, “instead of simply reading a messianic prediction and applying it to Jesus, his first followers had to go through a constant process of discovery.  Of course, his resurrection began their discovery. Once they realized Jesus had become, in Paul’s words, a ‘new creation,’ they started to look at things in his earthly ministry from a different direction. His birth, and the events leading up to it, took on new meaning… [and] just as Jesus’ earliest followers didn’t immediately recognize his importance, much less his divinity, I presume many of us don’t recognize the risen Jesus at work in all we are and do… Like our sacred authors, our faith lives are rooted in a constant quest to discover God in the unpredicted and unexpected. If we’re not experiencing that process, we really don’t have a lot to rejoice about.”

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