A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Opening of the Synodal Path –

Leading to the 2023 Synod on Synodality

A certain rich man came up to Jesus “as he was setting out on his journey” (Mark 10:17). The Gospels frequently show us Jesus on a journey. He walks alongside people and listens to the questions and concerns lurking in their hearts. He shows us that God is not found in neat and orderly places, distant from reality, but walks ever at our side. He meets us where we are, on the often rocky roads of life.

Today, as we begin this synodal process, let us begin by asking ourselves – all of us, Pope, bishops, priests, religious and laity – whether we, the Christian community, embody this ‘style’ of God, who travels the paths of history and shares in the life of humanity.

Are we prepared for the adventure of this journey? Or are we fearful of the unknown, preferring to take refuge in the usual excuses: “It’s useless” or “We’ve always done it this way”?

Celebrating a Synod means walking on the same road, walking together.

The Synod is a process of spiritual discernment, of ecclesial discernment, that unfolds in adoration, in prayer and in dialogue with the word of God. Today’s second reading tells us that God’s word is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

That word summons us to discernment and it brings light to that process. It guides the Synod, preventing it from becoming a Church convention, a study group or a political gathering, a parliament, but rather a grace-filled event, a process of healing guided by the Spirit.

In these days, Jesus calls us, as he did the rich man in the Gospel, to empty ourselves, to free ourselves from all that is worldly -- including our inward-looking and worn out pastoral models -- and to ask ourselves what it is that God wants to say to us in this time. And the direction in which he wants to lead us.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us have a good journey together! May we be pilgrims in love with the Gospel and open to the surprises of the Holy Spirit. Let us not miss out on the grace-filled opportunities born of encounter, listening and discernment. In the joyful conviction that, even as we seek the Lord, he always comes with his love to meet us first.

Homily, St Peter's Basilica
Sunday 10 October 2021
Source: vatican.va

Being open to the Word of God

The Word of the Lord cannot be received like any news item. The Word of the Lord must be repeated, made one's own, preserved. The monastic tradition uses a bold but very concrete term. It says the Word of God must be ‘ruminated.’ ‘Ruminate’ the Word of God. We can say that it is so nourishing that it must reach every area of life – to involve, as Jesus says the whole heart, the whole soul, the whole mind, all the strength (cf. Matthew 12:30). God's Word must resonate, echo, and re-echo within us.

Dear brothers and sisters, the Lord looks for docile hearts which, welcoming his Word, allow themselves to be changed within. That is why it is so important to familiarise yourself with the Gospel, to always have it on hand – even a small Gospel in your pocket or in your bag, to read and re-read it, to be passionate about it.

When we do this, Jesus, the Word of the Father, enters our hearts, becomes intimate with us and we bear fruit in him. Each of us can become a living, different and original ‘translation.’ Not a repetition, but a living, different and original ‘translation’ of the one Word of love that God gives us. We see this in the lives of the Saints, for example. No saint is the same as the other, they are all different, but all with the same Word of God.

Let us repeat the words of Jesus, let us make them resonate in us – "To love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength and your neighbour as yourself." And let us ask ourselves: does this commandment really orient my life? Is this commandment reflected in my days? It will do us good tonight, before falling asleep, to make an examination of conscience on this Word, to see if today we have loved the Lord and have given a little good to those we have happened to meet. May every encounter be giving a little good, a little love, which comes from this Word. May the Virgin Mary, in whom the Word of God became flesh, teach us to welcome the living words of the Gospel into our hearts.

Angelus Address, 31 October 2021
Source: vatican.va

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