Credentials of Jesus

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The WORD in other words by Fr Raymun Festin SVD — Rome, Italy

Monday 3rd Week of Advent

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons, Christ Healing the Sick

Some years ago, I heard the case of a professor who was not allowed to teach in a graduate school simply because he didn’t have a Ph.D. degree.

I was sorry for him. For he was a good, diligent, and eloquent professor.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is confronted by the chief priests and the elders who ask him:

“By what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you this authority?” They are demanding him to show his credentials or accreditation or official recommendation.

But what are the things Jesus is doing?

He is teaching the people in the Holy Temple. He is curing the sick, even on the Sabbath. He is forgiving sins. He is befriending the tax collectors. He is treating women with respect, even the prostitutes. He is raising the dead.

And just recently, he drove away the money changers from the Temple precincts.

In short, Jesus is doing a lot of good. But, now, his critics are demanding his credentials, his identity card, his attestation.

But isn’t it obvious? If Jesus is doing good, why does he need to present his license or bona fides?

People are normally dazzled by academic titles and badges. For instance, even if one is a lousy teacher, one is allowed to teach because he or she has the “proper” credentials. But those who have proven their mettle based on their personal merits are not appreciated.

Jesus does not need to present a letter of credence because of his own good deeds on his behalf. “By their fruits, you shall know them.”

The question is, do our words and deeds bear testimony to us?

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