Hermerding: If I were Jesus …
Fr. Joe Hermerding (email)
Ok, I must admit, this is a dangerous way to start a sentence: “If I were Jesus…”
It sounds more than a bit pompous for a mere human to suggest that Jesus could, or should, have done something differently than he did. I mean, he is the Son of God, right? That’s kinda the trump card. But I couldn’t help myself from wondering that very thing as I meditated on the Gospel from last week about the Transfiguration.
Here’s what I was wondering: Why is it that Jesus chooses to bring only his three closest disciples up the mountain to see the amazing miracle of his transfiguration? He does not bring anyone else. This strikes me as a little bit odd. If I were Jesus, I would’ve left my closest disciples behind and taken the countless throngs of doubters up to the mountain so that they would finally believe beyond any shadow of a doubt that Jesus is the Messiah. Why, I wondered, does he take with him the three people who have the strongest faith already?
Maybe because Jesus’ intention was never to prove himself to the doubters with miraculous displays like this. Jesus takes with him up the mountain the people whose physical vision has been sanctified—by faith.
And here is revealed one of the great mysteries of Christianity: it is through faith that we receive our sight. It is those who possess the faith to see Jesus for who he really is that are gifted with the reality of that faith. And not only do the doubters not get to see this great mountaintop miracle, but Peter, James, and John are forbidden from even speaking about the experience to anybody until Jesus is raised from the dead. It is through faith that we receive our sight.