“Homeless Jesus”, that’s the name of the scultpture created by Artist Timothy Schmalz. The sculpture shows a figure lying on a park bench, with a blanket wrapped around his head and body…except for his feet. Only when you look crefully do you see the gaping wounds made by nails in his feet.
The sculpture reminds us of the way Jesus identified with the poor and homeless such as lepers, the blind, etc. It also reminds us of the words in Luke 9;57-58 that read: “As they were going along the road, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’”
I was saddened, but not surprised, to read that two large and prominent North American churches—one in Toronto and one in New York City, refused to accept the “homeless Jesus” sculpture offered them by the artist. It is now displayed outside a Jesuit seminary in Toronto. As the artist says: ” Homeless Jesus had no home! How ironic!”
How many churches in your city and mine would resist displaying such a sculpture? We like to say that Jesus loved the poor and the homeless, and we like to say that as his disciples we also love them.
But would we get close enough to a blanket covered “Homeless Jesus” to see the nailprints in his feet? Would we??