Thursday, January 17, 2008

Can you imagine it?

That moment, when Jesus stood up in the synagogue in Nazareth and read from the scroll of Isaiah -- can you imagine being there, with the others, listening? You are a part of a people who has longed to see His face, who had been begging God to send his anointed one, to bring freedom and peace. How many hundreds of years, through a difficult and often sad history, have your people been waiting for this face to appear? And now, today, this man stands up in front of you in the synagogue, and reads the words of Isaiah -- words you already know by heart, they are such a part of your longing and hope. He reads those words out loud, so that everyone present can hear them well:

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring goood news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

Then, in a silence that was complete, he carefully rolled up the scroll and handed it back to the attendant. Then he sat down. He sat down! Then -- can you imagine this? -- Jesus said, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."

To have been there! To have heard those words! What was it like for all of those people listening?

What is it like for you?

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Dumbstruck by the Mystery

...our temptation is always to impose our prejudices or our measure on reality -- except when we are faced with a fact that leaves us dumbstruck, and instead of dominating the fact ourselves, we are dominated, overcome by it. If there were no moments of this kind, the Mystery could do anything, but in the end, we would reduce everything to the usual explanation. But not even a Nobel Prize winner can stop himself from being dumbstruck before an absolutely gratuitous gesture. If there were not these moments, we would find answers, explanations, and interpretations to avoid being struck by anything. It is good that some things happen that we cannot dominate, then we have to take them seriously, and this is the great question of philosophy. If the conditions for the possibility of knowledge (see Kant) impose themselves on reality or if there is something that is so powerfully disproportionate that it does not let itself be "grasped" by the conditions of possibility, then the horizon opens. If this were not the case, then we could dominate everything and be in peace, or at least without drama. Instead, not even the intelligence of a Nobel Prize winner could prevent him from coming face-to-face with a fact that made him dumbstruck -- instead of dominating, it was he who was dominated. Here begins the drama, because I am called to answer. It is the drama that unfolds between us and the Mystery, through certain facts, certain moments, in which the Mystery imposes itself with this evidence. These are facts that we cannot put in our pocket, which we cannot reduce to antecedent factors.
-- Julian Carron in "Friends, that is, Witnesses."