Six days a week I offer Mass in a hospital chapel. Going into the chapel twenty minutes ahead of time yesterday, I found a Muslim there. He had put down his prayer rug, and he was saying his morning prayers.
That Muslim was using the chapel to pray the way Mohamed taught him to pray, while we use that chapel to pray the way Jesus taught us to pray. Of course, the two ways are completely different, but still, we do both pray to the same God.
With that I recalled a Latin phrase I often heard when I was a seminarian sixty-five years ago. Our text books used to point out that things that we regarded as completely different can be quite similar “mutate mutandi.i” In English that phrase would be “having made the changes that must be made.”
So, mutatus mutandi the Muslim and I were doing the same thing in that chapel: we were both praying to God.
The Bible readings in today’s Mass were written in a very different time two thousand years ago. However, mutatus mutandi, or making the necessary changes, they still apply..
What was said back then about slaves and masters getting along together, can now, mutatis mutandi, be seen to apply to employers and employees getting along well.
What was said back then about striving to enter through the narrow gate, mutatus mutandi, now applies to working hard for salvation, rather than taking it easy.