“ ... and they were astonished at his teaching ... They were all amazed ...” (Luke 4:32, 36)
In today’s Gospel, Jesus is in Capernaum teaching and healing on the sabbath. Eventually, this sort of activity on the holy day will get him into trouble. But for now, in the presence of the power and authority of God incarnate, people are responding appropriately. They are astonished. They are amazed.
I find myself asking when, of late, have I allowed myself to be astonished, amazed? True, on the way in the door to work this morning I stopped in my tracks to listen to a bird’s song. So, I guess that counts. Really, though, I think that for most of us these moments are far too uncommon.
Appropriately many of them are inspired by the basic awe that nature calls forth — astonishment at the destruction of a storm or amazement at the colors of the sky at sunrise. They are a little harder to come by in the realm of coworkers, spouses, crabby patients and wiggly children. But Pope John Paul II said of Christianity that it is “an attitude of amazement before the dignity of the human person.”
So, the challenge this quote and this Gospel give me is to be astonished and amazed at the presence of God wherever and however it manifests today. Later this morning I will be with twelve wiggly, curious, wounded, excited, “you name it, they are it” first graders. It is there that I am called to be astonished and amazed at the presence of the power and authority of God incarnate. Oh, and earlier, in that staff meeting, I think I missed it, but I know it was there.