THE REVERED anthropologist Margaret Mead wrote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
This can be said of the 12 apostles who were sent forth “to all nations” to establish one of the largest and most enduring human organizations. A millennium and a half later, the first seven companions or Jesuits started a community that would blaze a trail and produce some of the greatest human achievements in its 500-year history.
Two kinds of longing
In all this, there is a longing that could be either of two things: a dissatisfaction with the present state of things or a longing for something that has been with or within us from the beginning but has been covered or blurred through time.
It is the longing for change that leads us back to our original integrity, the wholeness of who we are that was with us at birth. This is the longing for change of the “metanoia,” a turning back to, a pagbabalik-loob.
The message and mission of Christ responds to this longing. His message brought us back to the original promise of our Judeo-Christian tradition, a promise embodied in a relationship, a covenant: “I will be your God, you will be my people.”
In Christ, we see the fulfillment of the promise that God will take care of us, redeem us and love us. As the Gospel tells us, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so also you should love one another.”
Christ, using political language, ran on a platform of change, his was the change of the second type. It brought us back to the integrity of who we are. We are loved by God who not only remains faithful to his promise but is a loving Father, a forgiving, compassionate Father.
It is not a mere play on the word “love” that Christ did to inspire his followers, his small group of men who committed to his vision of change.
Life will not end in death and, because of this, everything, potentially, has meaning because, in the words of Roseanne Sanders, “What we have done will not be lost to all eternity. Everything ripens and becomes fruit in its own time.”
This is the game changer. We see this in the work of St. Paul who, in the first reading, together with Barnabas, zealously proclaimed the Risen Lord. Being one of the greatest evangelizers of the Church, St. Paul powerfully proclaimed the Cross and Resurrection of Christ; emphasizing the grace found in suffering as a way to be more Christ-like. He eventually dies a martyr’s death.
In the reading from the Book of Revelation, John beholds the vision of the “new heaven and the new earth” where God will be dwelling among us, renewing his relationship with us. He will wipe away every tear. Death is no more.
Suffering is infused with meaning that gives it, as a sacrifice, a healing and sanctifying power; one that comes only through love. This is the love that Christ lived out on the Cross and the same love that raised Christ from the dead.
In this love of the Cross and Resurrection is the greatest change. Christ, in this passage from life to death and from death to eternal life, becomes the new creation and the new Adam. This is the greatest change that a small group of committed men brought to all nations.