Who said this?: If you want to make enemies, try to change something!

President Woodrow Wilson in 1913

Not change for the sake of change, but to add new or proper meaning

We still resist it!

In 1964, the Catholic Church (at which time everyone one under the age of 52 or 75% of all our members weren’t yet born—-and 90% of all of us don’t remember)….

And a Catholic Church that usually moves at a snail’s pace….and most of the time, the snail wins…………

Turned the understanding of Christian life….the Mass….the Bible ….

Upside down……..and inside out…..

Not change for the sake of change……….but to add new meaning

Pope John XXIII called it Argiamento (fresh air)

He chose other words, but all in all, he said:


For previous centuries Catholics would come to mass, it was in Latin, all the action took place on the altar…..and we rang bells to alert you to get your head out of a missal or praying the rosary.


He said, “that form of mass was to be abolished”

WHY? Because it had no resemblance to the experience of THE LAST SUPPER and what it was supposed to mean.


Here’s the biggest ‘upside down’ part that affects us here….right were we are.

We believe that Christ appears when we celebrate communally.

Other Christian faiths have differing understandings of how Christ appears:

But Catholic jargon believes in the ‘real presence’

And so, in this Eucharist, where does Christ appear?:


  1. In the consecrated bread and wine prepared for communion
  2. but that is the last of the 4 experiences of the Christ presence.
  3. We teach that when we celebrate Eucharist, the presence of Christ appears in the community gathered.
  4. The presence of Christ appears in the priest and ministers of the Eucharist………celebrant, musicians, lectors, ministers of communion
  5. The presence of Christ appears in the Word of God proclaimed

So if I were to guess, I would these percentages:

90% of Catholics believe in the real presence of Christ in the consecration and communion

75% believe that when we proclaim the Gospel, Christ appears

50% believe that the presence of Christ in the priest, musicians, ministers

(nothing personal)

A very small percentage seem to believe that the real presence of Christ appears in the community gathered.


However, It is present Catholic teaching that when the Eucharist is celebrated,

The presence of Jesus Christ can only be fully experienced when all 4 of those elements are present simultaneously.

If we Catholics get desperate, we think we can survive a boring priest, poor lectors and drab music, and a congregation that doesn’t have a pulse, and we are still guaranteed the real presence of Christ thru the consecration and communion.


The church would say that is a minimalist version of experiencing Jesus Christ.

Even more noticeable in European and American Catholic culture:

  1. The smallest number of us coming to celebrate mass when the only thing very exciting is consecration and communion
  2. A higher percentage come when you add in a decent homily and good music
  3. A yet higher percentage come when the Word of God is opened up so that the people can be challenged in their daily life
  4. A yet higher (or highest) percentage come when the people celebrate with full, conscious, and active participation. (energy)

Reading from the church document: the present goal is that full and active participation of all the people is to be considered above all else.


Ya, ya, ya…………you might buy that………we don’t know if we will do it, but we probably won’t disagree.


But here is the BOMBSHELL……that is 60 years in the making, but we’ve have the hardest time to make real:


Once inside the walls of the celebration hall, you are in the play.

You don’t watch the play…..don’t just observe the people on the stage

Just participate when you feel like it……….you are not really important to the success of the experience.


Tell that to Jesus at the Last Supper.  Was he on stage and the apostles were an audience?…………THERE IS NO AUDIENCE!

It was a communal event of a close-knit group…..everyone had their part, had their lines………they had been rehearsing and acting, rehearsing and acting………..for 3 years.


The church believes it………….and you prove it

That when you rehearse………energetically deliver your lines in prose and song.

That’s when we experience the highest number of people who want to be part of it…………the highest attendance……the best connection.


How do we evaluate ourselves?  I think we would say we are GOOD!

You have to remember:  Good enough isn’t good enough!

And to the degree we say we are great……….will soon make us comfortable and over time, we are back to GOOD


Now is the time to make a leap of faith……..commit to a higher goal,

Risk ourselves to be a stronger community……..one that is on fire.

You have heard my first 3 messages that challenge us believe in this leap of faith

You have a new refrigerator magnet………that says:  I’M IN!

You might be there now…or it might signal a future time.


The pastoral council is ALL IN

The staff is ALL IN

I as your pastor am ALL IN

We have been accepted as  your leaders, so are going to LEAD!


And the liturgy I’ve been talking about is UNDER CONSRUCTION

We need you to give us 4 weeks to push us toward full and active participation…………there’s the risk

But if you don’t feel like the presence of Jesus Christ is more fully experienced, then I’ll be the pastor of Harlan by the following Monday.


But for now, pull out the pew cards for WE’RE UNDER CONSRUCTION

You were emailed this already and it is in the back of today’s bulletin.

We have identified these building blocks that will help secure success in our re-construction.