The church is a communion of believers of Jesus Christ. And this reflects the communion that exists in the Trinity with the three Persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Through our baptism, confirmation and the eucharist, we form one Body, the Church, in Christ, who is the head of the Church. The Holy Spirit unites use together in faith. He is the bonding-glue. Just as there are different organs in a body, so there are different groups within the Church. All of us have different talents and abilities which we share with others to build up the Church. All groups are called to work together as part of this communion. Sometimes it is easy to focus on one specific area of the Church’s mission, at the cost of not seeing the overall picture of the Church. It is easy to focus on one’s little projects or interests, rather than realizing the church is made up not just one type of organ but are different organs forming a whole body. And this communion, is not just in our parish, but within the Diocese, our country, and throughout the universal Church.
Through our baptism, all of us have been made priests, prophets, and kings. We have been for conformed to Christ. We have the duty and responsibility to live a Christian life, modeling our life after Christ. All of us share a responsibility of building up the kingdom of God. And participation is not limited to just limited to the liturgical sphere of coming to Mass, but to be a beacon of light in the world, and sharing the Gospel in our families, friends, and workplace. Our talents and abilities are shared with others to build up the Church and society – that is true participation in the life and mission of the church.
the last focus theme of the synod – ‘mission’ – the sharing of the good news of the message of Jesus Christ with others. This is end purpose of the synod, of bringing people closer to Jesus Christ, so that all people of the world may share in the fullness of life. Sometimes we need effective tools and language for our missionary work to be successful and to reach people of all walks of like. We listen and walk with people, not just for the sake of listening or walking, but that they may encounter the person – Jesus Christ – not merely as some sentiment or intellectual thought – but a living person. The dismissal at each and every Mass, invites us to go forth in the world, to go forth in our workplaces, to go forth in our families, to go forth to our friends, to go forth in our political structures, to go forth in our culture to share the good news of the Gospel.
• COMMUNION •
• PARTICIPATION •
• MISSION •
What is key through this whole synodal process is that we ourselves need to change first. Our holiness, our sanctity is the first step. It is always easy to put the blame or point the finger on the institutional church, without first pointing a finger at ourselves. The church has no need of reformers, in the worldly sense of the word, but of saints. Any true renewal within the Church is founded and based upon the principle of holiness. Pope Francis as recently said “It is the Holy Spirit who forms and reforms the Church and does so through the Word of God and through the saints, who put the Word into practice in their lives.” So true and authentic reform in the Church begins with us – by having an utter dependence of God’s grace (help) in all aspects of our life, an intimate relationship with the Lord through our pray and sacramental life, listening to the Word of God, and putting our faith in action in serving the needs of others, especially the poor and rejected. What is vital in this process, is that we must be people of joy. We are people of hope. Pope Francis warns us being critical, cynical, or bitter.
Always remember the words of St Francis de Sales, ‘a teaspoon of honey will always attract more flies than a barrel full of vinegar.’
Prayer is the sacred encounter and place where God speaks to us, and we listen, and speak with him. When the bishops of the Catholic Church gathered with the Pope during the Second Vatican Council, they began every session with the Adsumus Sancte Spiritus prayer; a prayer that invites the Holy Spirit to work and operate within us.
As we look at this prayer the first word is “We” – not ‘I’. The Church is a communion, formed by all those who are baptized in Christ. We form the Body of Christ, which Christ is the head. In a day of age of extreme individualism and egotism, we tend to forget that we have a common bond in our humanness and being children of God. And ‘we’ includes everyone, not just a select group of individuals or like-minded ideological cliques.
We address the Holy Spirit with a sense of mystery and respect. For it is the Holy Spirit who enlightens and unites us, who gathers us together, who forms us into Christ in grace and love. He alone guides us. We need to be careful and on guard that we are not to be guided by certain ideologies, political fractures, our own desires or grievances.
We invoke the Holy Spirit to be present and to make his home in our hearts, to gather us together, to guides us, and to be present with us at all stages of the Synod.
“We stand before You, Holy Spirit,
as we gather together in Your name.
With You alone to guide us,
make Yourself at home in our hearts”
“Teach us the way we must go
and how we are to pursue it.
We are weak and sinful;
do not let us promote disorder.
Do not let ignorance lead us down the wrong path
nor partiality influence our actions.”
We petition the Holy Spirit to teach us the direction, the path we must go; in order to move towards God, we must be directed and have our path enlightened by the Holy Spirit. Not only do we pray for the way we go, but the manner of how to go or pursue the way. We need to be docile to the working of the Holy Spirit. It is very easy for us to become stubborn in one’s positions and ideologies. One of the greatest attachments we have in this life, is not to people or things, but is to our own opinions and positions. We presuppose and come to conclusions before we even listen to each other. And we need to be careful that decisions do not promote disorder, division, or hurt with the community of faith. We are one. Full stop.