So much has been written — I mean, SO MUCH — concerning the so-called Historical Jesus: a welter of books and “Untersuchungen”. I’ve spent most of my career reading these books, and writing a few, too.

Then Pope Francis came along and put them all in a cocked hat. This is because if you want to see with your own eyes how Jesus operated in the New Testament — how he acted, how he spoke, how he was desired, and how he was received — all you need to do is watch Francis. Phrancis.

The way Christ was with Zacchaeus, Bartimaeus, the man at the Pool of Bethesda, the woman with the issue of blood, Jairus — the beat goes on: that’s the way Francis acts, and acted while he was under the scrutiny of all of us. Just watch him on the Philadelphia Airport tarmac, at the shrine to St. Mary the Untier of Knots in Philadelphia, at Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem, and at the state prison near Philadelphia. Just watch!

All your questions about the conduct and message of the historical Jesus — or almost all of them — will be answered. It just takes a few videos, a couple speeches, a few infants kissed, a few cripples blessed.

Remember the song by The Fifth Dimension, “Blowing Away”? (George Harrison wrote a similar song.) So much of what I read and learned over 40 years just got, well, blown away — by the Real Thing.