Would you like to amaze Jesus?
Would you really like to knock His socks off? (in case He were wearing socks?)
We all want to know that God has some idea what we're doing, and we'd like to know how He feels about it. Often, in my own prayer, I look for signs that I am on the right track - that Jesus is noticing what I am doing and approves. But how can I know that? No voice from the clouds has told me so yet.
So, if we want to amaze Jesus, just how do we do that?
Well, here we are in luck! Scripture actually gives us the way we can do just that. Today, we hear that "Jesus was amazed." Jesus is "amazed" in other places in the Gospels as well. However, there is only one circumstance that is common to each of those occasions of amazement. It surrounds faith.
So, let's see how to amaze Jesus:
Christ came sharing with us the relationship with the Father that He Himself enjoyed - a powerful, secure, loving relationship tht nothing could shake. Jesus, the Son, trusts the Father totally - no matter what. And, this is the sort of faith that Jesus looks for in His disciples. When He finds it - truly finds it - when someone completely abandons themselves to Him and what He has promised and what He can do, then Jesus reacts.
"Woman, great is your faith!"
"Never have I found faith like this in all of Israel!"
Therefore, one of the ways that we can amaze Jesus is to simply and profoundly believe Him! He promises wholeness to those who are broken, healing to those who are sick, forgiveness to those in sin; and He wishes to comply with those promises. He can do it, because He is God.
Think of the power that you feel when you see someone who has been suffering greatly - who has not reason to be joyful - but who also is keenly aware of how God is continuing to bless him or her - even amid affliction. What powerful faith that takes! And it is amazing to Jesus too.
The other way we can amaze Jesus is similar.
Don't believe Him.
Amid the power and witness of those whose lives are transformed by a real relationship with Jesus - amid the promises that He has made to you and me (and we need only a short reading of Scripture to find them) - ignore that power and deny that He is Who He says He is. This was the response of the people of Nazareth today. And it was amazing to Jesus.
While Jesus came to give so much to the world, He also came looking for something. That is faith: "When the Son of Man comes, do you think He will find faith on the earth?" He is looking for people to show forth the same trust and confidence in God the Father that He Himself knew. When Jesus sees that same trust and faith, it is amazing. When we see it, it is amazing.
This is the faith that St. Paul is describing in the Second Reading. It is faith that is most clearly portrayed through our own human weakness. When we are at our worst, then God can truly reveal Himself at His best. "When I am weak, it is then that I am strong." When Christ sees this kind of faith, He is caught up again into the wonderful intimacy of love that is the Triune God. When we see it, we are given a glimpse of heaven.
And that is truly amazing!