NOTE: This is an extra blog about the "Homeless Jesus". See my August blog below this one.
Vatican City, 23 March 2016 – A natural-size bronze sculpture of Jesus, represented as a homeless person resting on a bench, entirely wrapped in a lightweight cover with only his feet uncovered and bearing the signs of the nails of crucifixion, was located for the duration of Holy Week in the Sant'Egidio Courtyard in the Vatican, at the entrance to the offices of the Apostolic Almoner.
The work inspired by Mathew 25:34-46 was by the Canadian artist Timothy P. Schmalz, who had the idea of representing Christ in this original way after seeing a homeless man sleeping on a bench in the open air during the Christmas period. From Gospel to life in art!
A smaller copy was presented to Pope Francis during a general audience in St. Peter's Square in November 2013. The artist recounts that the Holy Father, upon seeing the work, touched its knees and feet and prayed.
The statue, donated to the Apostolic Almoner by the sculptor, is cast in bronze from the original. The first cast was located in Regis College, in the Jesuit Faculty of Toronto, Ontario, Canada after two other churches decline to accept it.
Its popularity is growing and there are about 100 other copies of "Homeless Jesus," with several now in Canada. One is outside Holy Rosary Cathedral, Vancouver, BC, and others abroad in Australia, Cuba, India, Ireland, Spain, the USA, and UK while another statue by Schmalz, "Whatsoever you do", is located at the main entrance of the "Santo Spirito" Hospital, Rome.
The castes are all the same. The only difference is in the photography i.e. the angle, distance and lighting which affect the clarity and some do not show the feet nail holes very well because they are in shade.
Schmalz intended for the bronze sculpture to be provocative, admitting, "That's essentially what the sculpture is there to do. It's meant to challenge people.”
The sculpture suggests that Christ is with the most marginalized in our society. The Christ figure is shrouded in a blanket with His face covered with the only indication that the figure is Jesus being the visible wounds on the feet. The life-size version of the work provides enough room for someone to sit on the bench. Pope Francis: “We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.” (3 June 2020, General Audience)
The one now at the top of my blog shown below is outside the Papal Charities Building, Vatican City.
They love the message. It points to the idea that all of human life is sacred and this is ... one of the great gifts that Christianity brought Western civilization and the world,” Schmalz has said.