Unreliable Witnesses

Last May I was driving to work on the Grand Central Expressway. Just before getting to the Clearview Expressway I got rear-ended twice. The other driver was coming home after his night shift and he fell asleep at the wheel. When he hit me the first time, he woke up and slammed his feet on the gas pedal of his jeep Cherokee for the second impact. Neither of us was hurt. The other driver was very apologetic, we exchanged information. I had called 911 and I waited in my car for the police to file a report. While I waited, I wrote down as many details as I could because I knew I was going to forget or jumble the sequence of events, time, what the driver told me and so on. Adrenaline distorts perception. When the police came, I was able to give a clear, objective and coherent statement.

The Gospels were written by people who were not present when Jesus was alive. There are discrepancies about the same miracles or events, omissions and additions. If you were Jesus wouldn’t you be saying something like: “Someone should be taking some notes right now.” Decades go by before somebody decides to write down something. The most amazing event in human history is related through unreliable witnesses who got their information through hearsay. Isn’t this a mystery in itself? Last Sunday, at Code auditorium, we were treated to a moving presentation of “The Prodigal Daughter.” This was a moving interpretation of the interpretation of witnesses from long ago. What is the language of Jesus? He speaks through stories and parables? Fiction revealing truth.

When I was studying for my masters, I took a class at SUNY Stonybrook. I remember it was a very small class, I don’t remember the name of the course, the name of the teacher, the name of any of the students nor any of the content. But I will never forget this one evening when one of the students walked in and addressed the whole class saying that an unidentified object with very bright lights hovered over his car while he was driving on the William Floyd Parkway on his way to class. The guy was dead serious. The whole class listened to his account but no one made a comment, pure silence followed. The class was given and everyone went home. On my way home, I wondered if that REALLY had happened to me, would I tell other people about it? I don’t think so, I really don’t think so. Even as an honest to God eyewitness of a UFO, I wouldn’t be willing to tell others about it. However, I’m okay with acknowledging publicly that Jesus gave his life for me. So, wisely Jesus continues to speak to us through parables and stories passed on by unreliable witnesses and we continue to listen and wonder, believing deep in our hearts that the TRUTH is really out there.

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