When I was 12-years-old, I was convinced that Duran Duran was the best thing to ever happen to pop music. While I willingly admit that I was a Johnny-come-lately fan and barely joined the bandwagon while they were still on the cover of Bop Magazine, I can clearly remember the summer when my pre-teen hormones kicked in, I fell in love with John Taylor and decided “Wild Boys” might be the greatest song ever written. (Cut me some slack, I was 12!!!)
My brother told me I was nuts. He was into a heavier sounds and told me that the fab five couldn’t hold a candle to acts such as The Who, Led Zeppelin or any other band that was at least 10 years out of fashion. He said if I had to like a newer group, the least I could do is listen to this band out of Ireland whose members boasted strange names and penned songs that had a social conscious, but no matter how many times I tried to get into U2, I remained firm in my belief that Duran Duran was far superior.
I’ve never been more wrong about anything in my entire life.
The thing is, hindsight is always 20/20. When I look back on the people, places and events of our lives (no matter how significant or minor) the end result always seems more obvious than it did at the time. After all, the signs are right there! Duran Duran was one James Bond theme song away from a break up, but U2…was U2 for crying out loud! They had weird names like Bono and The Edge. They wrote songs that actually meant something and next to Queen, they were the breakout act of 1985’s Live Aid concert (and yes I am counting the out-of-tune Plant, Page and Jones “reunion.”) How did I not notice any of this? Was I not paying attention?
Well maybe, but sometimes I wonder if we are focused on the wrong thing. In some cases we might be focused on the small details but fail to see the big picture. In others we might concentrate on the whole without stopping to consider the various components. Sometimes we might be looking one way and not notice what’s coming from the other direction. Whatever the reason, we fail to recognize what is right in front of us and as a result, we do whatever we want. Sometimes the consequence is minor – such as backing the wrong band. Sometimes there are major ramifications.
In today’s gospel when Jesus and His apostles are descending the mountain after the Transfiguration, it is pretty clear that the guys are still so mesmerized by the event they just witnessed that it doesn’t even occur to them that there might be a symbolic interpretation of the Old Testament prophecy until Jesus points it out. Even then, they have no reaction to it or not one that Matthew wants to tell us about. They just go about their day.
So when do they have that light bulb moment? When do they connect all of the dots? When do they revisit this conversation and grasp the full weight of what Jesus was trying to tell them? It doesn’t happen that night or next morning or the day after that. It only happens with the benefit of time, when the truth can no longer be denied, when all of the facts can be examined in retrospect, when the prophecy is already fulfilled…when hindsight is 20/20.
And you wonder why you didn’t see it all along.
Today’s readings for Mass: SIR 48: 1-4, 9-11; PS 80: 2AC and 3B, 15-16, 18-19; MT 17: 9A, 10-13