Today, the older boys and I attended Mass on base here. Little J is on day 4 of his tummy bug. Rather than risk making anyone else sick, he stayed home with dad. This made it a little easier for me to focus on the homily. The following is a summary of today’s homily with some of my own personal reflections.
The priest who celebrated Mass started off by posing the question of whether one ordinary person can change the world.
As Christians, we are called to live our lives the way God intended, both through our words and our deeds. By living this way, we show others by our example. And it is through this example that we can affect change in our world.
He provided several examples of actions we can take that honor God’s way, yet goes against the world’s way. One that resonated with me is our language. Specifically, what words we choose to use in our lives. Words can have power when spoken. They can build up relationships or tear them apart. If we are speaking in ways that honor God, then we are positively impacting our world. But, when we speak cruelly to others, then we can negatively affect the world.
I remember watching broadcast TV shows as a kid and there was no fear that I or my sisters would hear curse words. But, over time, the networks have loosened up what is allowed (both spoken and visual.) Now I have watched shows with the boys only to be surprised by the interjection of a curse word.
While I may try to set the example with my own language (including a lack of vulgarity), they get the (mixed) message that these words are okay when hearing them used by peers or actors on a favorite show. And, they are poised to lash out at each other with one of these words in an effort to harness the ‘power’ it holds and hurt the other person.
It was this specific example that had me talking with Father after Mass. I told him that I really appreciated his homily, but found that there are times when all my positive examples seem to fall on deaf ears.
He said that while it might seem like the message is lost at the moment, if I persevere in living the way God intends and setting a positive example, then I will ultimately see fruit. I can’t say I completely disagree, but I do admit to wishing the fruit would arrive sooner than later.
I might not be in the spotlight and able to sway the masses through my actions. By striving for perfection in my spiritual life, then I can see my actions rubbing off on those around me. Ultimately, it is through a trickle down effect that I, an ordinary individual, CAN change the world.
If enough people live their lives this way, just think of what a wonderful world this could be!