Saturday, September 29, 2012

They Were Amazed!

Saturday's Gospel is a very short story.  It's not a story, really, just a snippet of one, but it is, nonetheless, filled with meaning.  The one thing that jumped out at me the most was the verse, "They were all amazed at his every deed."  (Lk 9: 43)

The Apostles had been with Jesus for some time.  They had witnessed miracles.  They had heard Him forgive people's sins and tell them that their faith had saved them.  They sat at His feet as He taught the multitudes and in even more intimate settings when they were the only ones with Him, soaking in all He taught.  They saw Him leave them in the evening, often to climb a hill or mountainside to pray all night long.  They had seen Him walk on water and calm the storm.

He told them who He was.  They heard the words, witnessed His deeds, and saw the reaction of the crowds as He taught.  Yet, somehow, most of the time, they could only see the man, not the Son of God.  They knew He was extraordinary, they knew He was virtuous, they knew He was very special, but they were still amazed at the things He did.

We who profess our belief in Jesus have the advantage of twenty centuries to understand just Who He is.  And yet, we, too, stand in amazement at the things He continues to do.  We may not personally witness miracles as did the Apostles, although they do continue.  However, we are witnesses to His mercy and love. We are the benefactors of His infinite love for us when we go to Him in sorrow and true repentance.

Every day, all around us, there are events taking place that seldom, if ever, are noticed.  Yet, these can be considered as miracles as well.  The change of heart in a son or daughter who declared one day in the past that they did not believe in all this ridiculous religious stuff because it was all pretty little stories empty of any meaning and based on some fairy tale god.  The businessman who appears to be quite successful, yet, who is wildly addicted to narcotics decides that these drugs are destroying his life and, so, he turns his life over to God.  These are but two examples of modern day miracles that happen but we fail to notice.  They seem to be such natural occurrences.

Yet, one wonders how many lives Jesus changed through these very same kinds of miracles without one of them being recorded in the Gospels.  That doesn't make them any less of a miracle.  Just not publicized.  Jesus changed hearts wherever He went because of His attention to detail.  The details of people's lives were important to Him because all were and are important to Him.  He listened intently.  He spoke honestly and with authority.  He loved genuinely.  And, yet, the Apostles were amazed!

Again, isn't that how we are?  We are astounded every time we recognize the action of Jesus in our lives as if we had never heard of it before or experienced it in our own lives.  We wonder at who this man is.  And we wonder if we aren't deceiving ourselves, finding someone that we very much would like to have in our lives but doesn't exist.

Faith is the key here.  If we but have faith in our Lord, our amazement will turn into sheer delight in knowing that Jesus works in all good things.  We would be able to recognize Him more clearly in the events of our lives and clearly be more willing to worship Him through lives dedicated to the Father's will.  We would be more charitable toward those in need who are around us.  There are those who are impoverished in terms of lack of possessions, but others are in need who have lost heart because of the way life has battered them about.  There are those who reach a point of emptiness because of their pursuit of worldly goods and fame only to be left hollow and a sense of nowhere to go because they have achieved all they wanted from life.  And then, Jesus comes into their lives, usually through another person.

In one way, we should be amazed at his wondrous deeds.  They are not human but divine.  They are beyond our comprehension.  And, yet, so often we are the instruments of is wondrous deeds.  His miracles are worked through us, we who believe in Him as the Son of God, Savior of the World.  Recount what He once said, "What you do unto the least of these my brethren, you do unto me."  (Mt 25: 40)

And so, when we begin to fully realize the real miracle of Jesus, of His unending love for us, we then, become truly amazed and no longer confused.