After Abraham, the next towering figure of Judeo-Christian faith is Moses. Unlike Abraham, Moses is more the archetype of the priest, the one who communicates with God on behalf of the people. And of course, he also brings the people’s complaints to God. Did he ever tire of this method which today might seem a bit dysfunctional? At the moment where God was prepared to give up on the Abraham Plan and start from scratch, Moses talked him out of it.
14. In the faith of Israel we also encounter the figure of Moses, the mediator. The people may not see the face of God; it is Moses who speaks to YHWH on the mountain and then tells the others of the Lord’s will. With this presence of a mediator in its midst, Israel learns to journey together in unity. The individual’s act of faith finds its place within a community, within the common “we” of the people who, in faith, are like a single person — “my first-born son”, as God would describe all of Israel (cf. Ex 4:22). Here mediation is not an obstacle, but an opening: through our encounter with others, our gaze rises to a truth greater than ourselves. Rousseau once lamented that he could not see God for himself: “How many people stand between God and me!”[Émile, Paris, 1966, 387] … “Is it really so simple and natural that God would have sought out Moses in order to speak to Jean Jacques Rousseau?”[Lettre à Christophe de Beaumont, Lausanne, 1993, 110] On the basis of an individualistic and narrow conception of conscience one cannot appreciate the significance of mediation, this capacity to participate in the vision of another, this shared knowledge which is the knowledge proper to love. Faith is God’s free gift, which calls for humility and the courage to trust and to entrust; it enables us to see the luminous path leading to the encounter of God and humanity: the history of salvation.
Are we prepared to see in others, not just priests, not just religious figures, that opportunity to participate in and share a vision of God? Are we also prepared to be mediators for others? Perhaps that is less the role of a priest and more of a simple evangelist.