Change is the heart and soul of all life, the measure of days and the burdens of time. The human struggle to grow and become more human comes through every exchange of time for experience and memory. That means discovering over and again the need to improve, to change. It means being able to see and choose a path and to trust that there can be Wisdom and Knowledge beyond the scope of human vision and ideas. All that seems appropriate to the adventures of youth and the richness of discovery. Truth, though, shows that change belongs to each life each day, every day. That pertains to persons and institutions.
There is a certain humiliation, a sadness, in the wide scope of scandal within the Roman Catholic Church today. Heartbreaking for some and faith-altering for others, the attempt to grapple with the intertwining of what is perceived as sacred with what is so basically human has deepened wounds and opened layers of scar tissue. It has earned charges of hypocrisy and ignorance, charred innocence in generations and resulted in discrediting persons and communities. And yet, the scandal reflects a subculture captured in the fissures of a broader culture evolving in a global community of shifting mores. It is about change after all.
Jesus was all about change, all about process. Like the prophets of the Old Testament, his was not a ministry or life free of conflict, re-consideration, or rejection. The stories of Peter and Paul are peppered with the same levels of controversy as they pursued growth and change and encouraged others to do the same. In this time of calamity, that reality is an anchor. To trust that good can come of all this is to stand at the foot of the cross with Mary and then go to the empty tomb with the Magdalene. Most of all, it means gathering with the confused disciples in the Upper Room and breaking bread together. That action, that imitation of Christ, in all its simplicity and grandeur speaks of the meaning of community and the power to be changed.
None of us travels totally alone but few of us are truly fully available to another. And yet, the Eucharist is that Presence and that Promise: always available, consistent and real. While as humans we struggle to change and grow, the Eucharist represents the Unchanging, the Love of God. As individuals and as a Church, laying down burdens and sinfulness and embracing the need for change and reformation is essential. Placing trust in God, in what is so far beyond human, provides a groundwork for that very difficult process. Sitting in prayer, embracing the moment of quiet to share all that is a beginning of change within the person and the insitution. It means allowing the Unchanging to be present to the awareness of the need for change.
The meeting of the human and divine that produces sparks of goodness and hope occurs at every liturgy and in so many encounters between persons. Scandal can discolor illusions, but it also invites the people of the Church to hope and growth for the next generation. We can denigrate one another, but we can also embrace the sacred. We can deny God, but we can trust that God will not deny us. Change is the foundation of trusting in the Unchanging Presence of God.