Homeless Jesus by Toronto sculptor Timothy Schmalz.
Schmalz sees his work as visual prayer and wanted it installed someplace that it would speak not only to the converted but to secular passers by and to the marginalized.
For a while “Homeless Jesus had no home” as the sculpture was rejected by two Archdiocesan administrations. He was told that the image was “not appropriate”.
“Not appropriate” indeed! As even the sculptor recounted: “I was totally used to stepping over people. You’re not aware they are human beings. They become obstacles in the urban environment and you lose a spiritual connection to them. They become inert, an inconvenience.”
Homeless Jesus should make comfortable Christians uncomfortable. Homeless Jesus shatters the illusion that our prosperity is a sign of God’s approval. Homeless Jesus takes our arrogance and superiority and turns it upside down. Homeless Jesus draws us into the common humanity we share especially with the suffering, the poor, and the abandoned. Homeless Jesus reminds us that we cannot get to heaven without them.
Homeless Jesus is “not appropriate” because the scale of suffering, injustice, and inequality in our cities is a scandal.