We might listen to today’s gospel at mass and wonder: “Is this the same Church?” Jesus told his apostles to cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and drive out demons, yet we don’t hear very much about such activities any more. (In fact, such supernatural actions do still happen, I believe, but they are rare and not well reported to the public at large.)
And Jesus told his apostles to travel in severe poverty, with no money at all, no sack, no sandals and not even a walking stick, yet we don’t hear very much about Christians travelling in such poverty any more. (In fact, there are still some who do so, I believe, such as the Franciscans, but they are rare and not well reported to the public at large.)
But we might be wondering, “Is this still the same Church that Jesus set up?” The answer is yes, of course. Jesus, himself, knew that after his death, things would not continue exactly the same. Consider what he asked his apostles right before his passion: “When I sent you forth without a money bag or a sack or sandals, were you in need of anything?” “No, nothing,” they replied. Then Jesus said to them, “But now one who has a money bag should take it, and likewise a sack, and one who does not have a sword should sell his cloak and buy one.” See Luke 22.
The point is that Jesus commanded his disciples to do some things differently after his time on this Earth was over. We need not be surprised to see the Church changing in some ways, even while, in other ways, remaining unchanged, serving the one true Lord and preserving the one true faith.