Outside of watching "Dora the Explorer" with my daughter every now and then, I don't watch much TV these days. However, there was one "reality" show that got my undivided attention this spring: "Undercover Boss."
The show is produced by one of the major networks. For those not familiar with the show, it normally profiles a CEO of a major company posing as an average person supposedly doing research or some project that requires hands-on experience at their workplace. The cameras follows the bosses in disguise, as he or she interacts and works next to the employees who do most of the grunt work – be it at a factory, or providing a service or a product. At the end of the show, the CEO meets with the employees who appeared on the episode at the company's headquarters. Then, the boss discloses his/her true identity to them, they watch clips of the episode together, and the boss normally commends the employees for a great job and rewards them for something the employees wished they had earlier on the show. (Of course, at that moment there's always tears of joy flowing from the pleasantly surprised employee.)
I've never been crazy about reality shows, but for some reason "Undercover Boss" really appeals to my spirituality. The similarities between what Jesus did when He became one of us are quite many. Like "Undercover Boss," only Mary and Joseph knew Jesus was the Son of God. Although He had no cameras following Him around Nazareth, Jesus lived a normal life for his first 30 years on earth and earned a living as a carpenter. Then, when Jesus began His three-year ministry, He identified with the lowly and promised them a better life in the Kingdom of God. Yet His "suits," the religious leaders at the time who were supposed to recognize the CEO's Son, rejected Jesus and eventually killed Him.
Jesus is still "undercover" in our midst. Besides the poor, the sick and the incarcerated, to name just a few, Jesus also hides in that co-worker who always complains about something, but who just wants someone to listen to them. Or perhaps Jesus is behind that neighbor kid who is always acting out because he's starving for the attention his parents never give him.
Who is not to say that at the end of our time here on earth, we will sit with the Lord and watch different "clips" from our lives. Wouldn't it be nice to hear: "Well done, my good and faithful servant. For I whined to you at work frequently, and you were kind to me anyway. For I was a pain in the rear growing up, and you were a patient parent to me in spite of it all."
To quote another popular show, the only other phrase we'll hear Jesus say to us if we live a self-centered life and don't labor for His Kingdom is going to be: "You're fired!"
Rico De Silva is a member of St. Gabriel Church in Charlotte.
"In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also." (Jn 14:2-3).