Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (January 28, 2017)

When was the last time that you or I were ‘astonished’ or ‘amazed’ when faced with Jesus – in the Scriptures or in Eucharist? When have we prepared ourselves to come to Eucharist to experience the mystery unfolding from the hand of our Father?

Perhaps the daily celebration of Eucharist has become too routine: familiar Scripture readings, the same bread and wine. Even the new sound of our praying can be a distraction. It’s too easy to forget that we are invited to Eucharist, invited to experience the continuing mystery of God’s great love for us:

- a mystery that draws us into the intimate mystery of our salvation and redemption: the death and rising of Jesus.
- a mystery that expresses our God’s desire that you and I be one with him by sharing in the Body and Blood of his Son Jesus;
- a mystery that makes us more fully the Body of Christ, the Church;
- a mystery that continues to transform you and me in our efforts to be the Savior walking the earth today.

I was awakened again to this sense of ‘mystery’ as I was reading an article entitled: “Let us proclaim the mystery of faith.” The writer offered me a thought that has led me to some prayerful reflection: “The invitation that comes to us again and again in Scripture, directly or indirectly, is to consent to a relationship with the Lord of Mysteries and the God of Surprises, who waits patiently for us with open arms (and delights we can’t even guess at), while demanding that we put away our childish cravings for smaller securities so as to enter into a wider, richer, more complex intimacy” – into mystery. (McEntyre, Weavings, Jan-Feb 2006)

As I continued to read today’s Gospel, I was struck by the words of the unclean spirit: “I know who you are, the Holy One of God!” It’s possible to know Jesus without really knowing Jesus in the Scriptural sense. When we really encounter Jesus, our hearts are changed, transformed. When Jesus encounters us in the mystery of the Scriptures and Eucharist, we are invited into mystery – a moment of intimate encounter with our God who is loving us into a deeper union with him. The more willing we are to entrust our heart to God, the more God is able to mold us more fully into the image of his Son Jesus.

Once again, you and I are invited into the mystery of this Eucharist. Jesus is present in his Word and will be present in Sacrament. Will we be open enough to being “astonished” and “amazed” during this encounter?