On October 9, 2021, Pope Francis opened the worldwide Synod at St. Peter’s Basilica. On October 17, 2021, Bishop Rojas invites all of us to the Opening Mass of the Synod at our diocese. What is a synod? What is it about?
Have you ever seen a work of art, a beautiful sunset, a moment of extreme beauty reflected in a mother holding her child in arms? A moment of beauty that takes your breath away, that almost brings tears of joy from a place deep within your being? That is exactly what this synod is about.
As a work of art, it is not static. It has movement and is a movement. It can not be an object that one judges, it is a movement in which we participate. It speaks of God who in his longing to love, empties himself in such a way that all of creation comes into being. God who, in the gentle movement of his love and the reception of that love by creation, constitutes history. A history that will always be measured by the ultimate participation of humanity in the love of God, in the person of Christ. A movement that in an ebb and a flow that sings renewal, new creation, conversion, discernment, communion, participation, mission. This is to be the “Synod on Synodality”. A two-year global process culminating in October 2023 with the gathering of bishops in Rome.
The Gospel of Luke, chapter 15, provides the seƫng. The Church gathers to discern the Spirit of the Lord and with courage embrace the changes necessary for a hope-filled future. In a monumental way, this took place at the Second Vatican Council. And now, can you feel the excitement of the Spirit? These are Pope Francis’ words addressed not to bishops, but to the People of God, “imagine a different future for the Church and her institutions, in keeping with the mission she has received”. The entire People of God engaged in a mutual listening to the Spirit that is found in every single person, an attentiveness especially to the smallest of brothers and sisters.
What is at stake is a cultural change that may bring about the freedom necessary as Church, to be a more authentic servant in the world, in service to its Lord. It is a discernment, ultimately, with a missionary objective; not just for the people but with the people. The synod is a process not tied to any particular agenda, not to what has been decided ahead of time, it is about being attentive to what the Spirit is trying to say to the Church today. It is a Christ event that calls for the dynamic movement of the Spirit, the People of God and bishops, in the context of today’s global reality. The Spirit is asking us to move, let’s move!
Father Francisco Gómez, S.T.