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Supreme

What would Jesus do?

- Nicola M. Sebastian -

MANILA, Philippines - He stands alone. Shouldering the burdens of a sinful, shameless world. A man who can never be one of us. Born with a destiny that transcends all time and trumps history itself. The Messiah in haute couture.

He’s gone through every transformation possible — and not just the obvious, corporeal one, resurrection and all — since His death started the stopwatch and ushered in the first New Year ever: from the fallen hero of a secret revolution to the figurehead of an empire, from the battle cry on a crusader’s lips in the Holy Land to the sermon of a street preacher in NYC, from the hope of a nation to Buddy Jesus in Dogma, and, today, just a fairytale to some.

It may seem ludicrous to most, and blasphemous to the pious few, but, hey, the bed sheet and overgrown beard was getting old, anyway. The genetically unlucky and domestic dumps get ’em, so why doesn’t JC deserve a little makeover?

’Course, soaking in the images of a Jesus look-alike offering salvation in local designer threads from the likes of Randy Ortiz leads to another idle question. If 2009 were 0001AD, what would Jesus do?

Would He be sipping up a Frappe and some free Wifi all alone at Starbucks on a Saturday afternoon, a ready ear to a needy stranger? Or that pesky friend of yours on Facebook, inviting you to be a fan of World Peace and posting random status messages about fishermen and sheep? Maybe He’d be a club kid — sneaks, sunnies, and all — losing Himself in some underground D&B. Perhaps He’d be a surfer dude, soaking up good vibes and sharing the stoke with the stressed and the landlocked. He could be a rogue journalist, a political rockista, even a radical rallyist taking a stand against the Man.

The possibilities, in this world of overwhelming options, are endless. But rather than the who, the what, and the where, the stats and facts he’d list down in the “About Me” section on his online profile, the more pressing concern would be the challenges he’d face, trying the save the jaded and restless of our time. In a community that’s connected but out of touch, in-sync but remote-powered, could he possibly poke us to the kingdom of God, maybe buzz us on YM till we put down our worldly possessions and follow Him? Somehow, the good ol’ soapbox fails to impress these days.

Everyone’s looking for a hero. We say, “yes, you can” to Obama and text in our votes for the next American idol. But the truth of the matter is, it’s hard to be a hero these days. Jesus, like Iron Man and Optimus Prime, is the stuff of Hollywood legend.

Whether or not you say “Amen” and mean it, WWJD isn’t a doctrine, it’s a rallying cry. A challenge to stand up and proclaim whatever message, idea, or mission you wake up to. To have a face in an anonymous universe of user IDs and online profiles. After all, before the Nike baller bands, before the Yabang Pinoy abaca bracelets, it was the WWJD strap that hung from the wrists of optimistic adolescents.

At the end of the day, saint or sinner, believer or cynic, the saviour you’re looking for is in the mirror looking back right at you. Generation Me is at hand — and that calls for some serious Messiah complexes. Whether it be oppression, despair, or plain mediocrity, we all have our own crosses to bear. Tough lot, some might say. But don’t forget, Jesus was a cross-maker.

ABOUT ME

BUDDY JESUS

GENERATION ME

HOLY LAND

IRON MAN AND OPTIMUS PRIME

MAYBE HE

NEW YEAR

PERHAPS HE

RANDY ORTIZ

WORLD PEACE

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