"IF NOTHING CHANGES, THEN NOTHING CHANGES."
Posted on: November 2, 2017
“If nothing changes, then nothing changes.” During the month of November we traditionally remember our loved ones who have gone before us. While the experience of loss brings sadness with it, the prayers of the Catholic funeral rite are very consoling in their tone. For example, the Preface is the prayer during Mass that leads up to the “Sanctus,” or what is commonly known as the “Holy, Holy.” In the Preface for the Mass of Christian Burial, there is a line that is very comforting. These are the words: “…Lord, for your faithful people, life is changed, not ended…” “Changed but not ended…” No doubt, the loss of someone we love changes each of us. For those who have passed, they experience the ultimate change, the ultimate transformation, from life in this world to eternal life with God. It changes us as well but also challenges us. Those same words are intended to remind us that we are supposed to be about a certain type of change while we are here . While on this earth, we are called by God to allow ourselves to be transformed into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ, as much as is humanly possible, more and more each day. As the years and days of our lives pass by, as time on the clock continues to move us forward, we, at the same time, are supposed to be changing: -More and more, our choices are supposed to be good choices… -Our words, especially about others, are supposed to be charitable words… -Our mind, our body, and our spirit are supposed to be treated as a sacred gift… -And our attachment more to Christ and holiness, rather than self and worldliness… On Thursday I was asked to take on a role that I’d never taken on before. My nephew, who is in the fifth grade over at Our Lady of Mercy, asked his Mom if I could join him for grandparents day—as the grandparent! His Mom and Dad both work, and my Mom is not able to attend such events any more. It was VERY important to him that he had someone there with him. We had fun, although the other grandparents were looking at me with a curious look. One older gentleman was, like, “you got kids?” I was, like, “uh, no?” Anyway, on our way home, we passed by the neighborhood church located just around the corner from his house. It’s a Lutheran church. Each week, this church, like many churches, puts a new message up on the sign-board out front. Usually the message is 1 to 2 sentences. This week, however, the message was incredibly simple. It read, “IF NOTHING CHANGES, THEN NOTHING CHANGES.” I thought, “Wow! Truer words were never spoken,” because, as we get older, the kind of change that needs to happen in us does not automatically happen. While holiness is real and reachable, holiness does not just automatically happen. We have to want it. We have to consciously and willingly choose to pursue it. And, if we pursue it, we don’t do it because others are watching, or to gain points, or to avoid punishment. We do it, ideally, because we know it’s what we are made for. This was Jesus’ problem with the scribes and the Pharisees. The DID NOT practice what they preached. They WERE ONLY CONCERNED about how they looked to others. They HAD ABSOLUTELY NO DESIRE to change at all. They were WAY TOO COMFORTABLE and just simply DID NOT CARE. His words are for us also. What do we desire more? Jesus Christ and holiness, or ourselves and worldliness? Regardless of our age and what we think we have or have not accomplished in this life, it’s a good question to ask ourselves. But then again, if we’re not willing to answer honestly, “then nothing changes.” On All Saints night, as some of you know, we celebrated our annual candlelight memorial Mass. We called out the names of the 32 members of our Saint Jude family who had passed from us during this year. I took that opportunity to remember my loved ones who, to use the expression, “got it right.” I asked myself, “how did they do it?” What made them different from others? What made them different from me? Right away the answer came. They “got it right,” because they knew that such change must start now. Being honest, making good choices, giving from our blessings to the poor and needy, caring for our bodies, our lives, the sacred gift of our sexuality, and so on—these are not things to be put off to the last minute. “Lord, for your faithful people, life is changed, not ended…” What change do we need to work on before our time here is ended. God is a patient God, but if we are not willing to make the turn, well, “then, nothing really changes.”
Posted in: From the Desk of Fr. Trey