We see repeatedly in Scripture that people were astonished, amazed and surprised at the teachings of Jesus.
From Luke 5:26, “Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God, and, struck with awe, they said, “We have seen incredible things today.”
They hung on his every word, they followed him wherever he traveled, and they were in awe of his teaching, preaching, healing and forgiveness of sins. Jesus barely had time to eat or sleep, but he prayed to be filled with the Father’s love to continue to minister to the people then—and to you and me now.
Astonishment can be described as a feeling of great surprise, wonder and awe and it defined Christ’s public ministry.
We also see that whenever Jesus astonished the crowd, it angered the Pharisees who wanted to arrest him, yet they were afraid of the reaction of the astonished crowd.
Do we experience astonishment at the words of Jesus? Are we surprised when his words reveal to us exactly what we need to do to respond to a problem or to a person, or to address an area of sin in our lives? Do we give thanks, with a sense of awe, when he heals one of his beloved children physically or spiritually? Is his endless mercy something we reflect on in prayer with wonder and joy?
St. Augustine said, ”In my deepest wound I saw your glory, and it dazzled me."
I don’t want to miss moments of astonishment, and in fact, I want to meditate on, celebrate and share these moments with others as Jesus calls us to evangelize and encourage each other on our spiritual journey.
I pray to grow in humility and childlikeness so that moments of wonder and dazzlement change me and make me more like him. We pray for him to pour his grace into us as grace can open the door for us to make real changes in our lives.
Recently, I felt called to go to Confession. I wasn’t sure how to make that happen with a full schedule of family, work and ministry commitments. So I prayed for Jesus to make it possible whenever the time was right.
About a week later, I attended daily Mass at another parish and I was astonished when the pastor announced that the Sacrament of Reconciliation would be offered afterward—as Reconciliation isn’t typically offered after daily Mass at this parish. Jesus led me to that place, at that time, and worked out the details so that I could receive this vital sacrament.
Astonishment can take many forms and I love hearing stories about how Jesus works in peoples’ lives in astonishing ways, both in suffering and in joy, in little ways and in big ways too.
I pray that we cultivate a childlike openness so that we see and appreciate Jesus guiding and protecting us in our everyday affairs. May our hearts be open to an astonishing journey with Jesus.