‘Most of them were astonished when they heard him.‘ When Jesus, the local boy from Nazareth, came home, many were astonished when they heard him speaking in their synagogue. Astonished,- but unbelieving. Amazed, but not willing to welcome him and what he said. Astonished, they still rejected him, took him out to the nearest cliff top to be rid of him. And Jesus was ‘amazed’ at their rejection of him, their lack of any faith in him.
At the recent International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin, 70,000 people gathered in faith in Croke Park, home of the GAA, for the final Eucharist. Through the preceding week, more and more people came again to be ‘astonished’ at the mystery of the Eucharist, of Christ present among us, speaking with us. Gradually, they came to have astonished hearts again,- filled with delight in the wonder of its mystery, in the wonder of the event and events celebrated whenever we gather at the Lord’s table for the Breaking of Bread, for Communion in his Sacrifice. So many gathered, astonished and delighted, full of faith in what we ‘celebrate’, what we make such a song and dance about – ’Take and eat,- this is my body, given for you!’ ’Take and drink… Do this in memory of me!’
The title of a Pastoral Letter on the Eucharist, by Bishop Donal Murray of Limerick, some few years ago, was ‘Re-kindle the Amazement’ . Can we welcome Jesus to his home-town, - ours!- and be filled with astonishment AND faith, again. The mystery of faith!- it is indeed ‘astonishing’. Can we re-kindle the Amazement?
Seamus Devitt, C.Ss.R.