It jogged some ideas in my deranged brain which really have nothing to do with that story or Mark’s post.
Random thought 1: All good religious writers are in fact mystery writers. What can be a greater mystery than the Trinity, the Incarnation, salvation, and redemption. To plunge ahead and write about the inexhaustible depths of these mysteries and to try to ply the finite against the infinite.
Random thought 2: The Bible itself can be viewed in the sense of a mystery in the Columbo style. At the beginning we find out whodunit, Adam and Eve, and towards the end we find out whoundunit – Christ. As in the traditional rules for a mystery we are giving clues pointing towards the solution that we could work out ourselves to some extent. The Psalms and prophets pointed ahead to Jesus.
Random thought 3: The Jesus – Columbo connection.
When Columbo would appear on scene people would doubt that he was a police lieutenant; he did not fit their preconceptions of what a police lieutenant should look like. Jesus did not fit the Israelites perception of what the Messiah would be. They expected a warrior-king that would open a can of whoopass on the Romans. Even at the end his own disciples did not expect the scourged and crucified Jesus.
Columbo can even be thought of as a modern day metaphor for the famous poem The Hound of Heaven by Francis Thompson. Columbo was relentless in his pursuit and never gave up. Just when you thought you had intellectually given him the slip and that you had outsmarted him he came back to ensure justice prevailed. Jesus also never gives up on us until we have chosen with our lives in the instant between this life and eternity. He never leaves us and pursues us no matter what intellectual arguments we use to ignore or deny him. He keeps showing up when we least expect it and had thought we had put him far behind us.
I better give up on this Columbo/Jesus metaphor before it’s too late or I will start imagining Jesus wearing a crumpled gray robe in need of dry cleaning and driving around in a Peugeot 403 Cabriolet while I pray the rosary.