SANTA FE, NM – Christians across the Southwest are flocking to a small home in Santa Fe, to see what some are saying is the image of Jesus Christ that has recently appeared in a painting of Jesus Christ.
Christ’s image in the painting was discovered last month by the painting’s owner Gerard Gabriel. The painting had been hanging in his home for 35 years.
“I was just walking past the picture and I noticed something weird,” said Gabriel. “Right there, right over the face of Jesus was the image of Jesus. It’s a miracle! Praise be to the Lord! I mean, you might have to squint a little to see it, but it is clearly the face of the Lord. It’s got the beard and everything.”
Gabriel has set the painting in a home made shrine and is charging worshipers a small fee to view the painting and to “receive a blessing.”
“I only charge people enough to cover my bills for making the shrine and keeping it lit up and for the pool I am putting in over there,” said Gabriel. “But this painting, this painting has powers. It cured me of my depression and it has cured everyone who has touched it of something. Now, isn’t that worth 50 dollars? I swear to God, this one guy came in and he couldn’t see. But after paying the 50$ he knelt in front of that painting, and after saying a little prayer, I swear to God, he could hear. It’s a miracle! Praise the Lord!”
For the past several weeks, hundreds of thousands of people have come to see and worship at the painting. The news of the finding has also caught the attention of the Catholic Church.
“I have personally seen the, well, I guess the only word that describes this is ‘miracle,’” said Catholic Archbishop Wilson Reyes, of the New Mexico Dioceses. “This painting, with the image of Christ, is just breathtaking. I mean it is the clearest image the world has ever seen of our Lord and savior. This even beats that image of Jesus hang gliding that appeared in a stale piece of bread in New York. That was good… this is better.”
Even though many believe in the power of the painting, many critics have accused Gabriel of simply cashing in on the community’s belief system. One of the most vocal critics of Gabriel has been James Frank, the artist of Gabriel’s painting.
“Wow, all I can say is ‘wow, is that guy screwing everyone,’” Frank said. “When I painted that picture all those years ago, I knew exactly what I was doing. I was painting a picture of Jesus. That’s it. Now for this guy to come out and say that he see’s a picture of Jesus in my painting, that’s just special. I mean, that was the intent. It’s a picture of Jesus. If he’s going to scam all of these trusting people out of their hard earned money, I should at least get a cut, right? I mean, I want a pool too.”
Despite the criticisms, Gabriel feels that he is doing a good thing by restoring people’s faith.
“People are going to say what they want to say, but you know what? At the end of the day I have a picture of Jesus with another exact image of Jesus appearing over it. If making people happy while at the same time earning a little cash on the side is wrong, I don’t want to be right. I’m not depressed anymore because I’m rich and it’s all thanks to that painting! It’s a miracle! Praise the Lord!”