JOURNEYING TOGETHER Those words grace the logo for the Synod in the Archdiocese of Miami.
‘Journey’ describes the adventure all of us are on as a part of the Church of Miami, and indeed, as a part of the worldwide Church. We launch ourselves into “Synodal Mode.”
I say adventure. Adventure might seem an odd word to use about the Synod process. Over the centuries the word took on a lot of nuances but one expres¬sion of the meaning I found, said it very well for me: “... a remarkable occurrence in one's life." I sure hope so. I pray this experience reveals in each of us, and to each of us, a new depth of understanding about what it means to be “Church.”
When you say ‘Roman Catholic Church’ you’d be in the company of many if the first image that came to your mind was St. Peter’s in Rome. I think of the building and its piazza symbolically reaching out arms to embrace a wider world. And yet I must stop and remember something you’ve heard me say a few times: “Our building is not the church. We are the Church. Our building is the ‘House for the Church.'’”
Our little corner of that Church which we call ‘St. Sebastian’ is but one of countless corners around the world that shape the universal Church.
Pope Francis wants us ALL to look at the way we listen to each other. Remarkably, he seems to think we can do it.
Of course, if someone is listening, then it also means someone must be speaking. But there is the challenge. Can I enter the room with ears open and at least for a moment, my mouth on ‘pause?’ (I’m chuckling to myself as I remember that old advice from somewhere, “Make sure your mind is engaged before you put your mouth in gear.”)
When you think about it, going in to listen means the first question might be, “What am I hearing? ...not, “What shall I say?”
I hope I don’t sound too casual about all this. Like every Pope, Francis has a unique vantage point. The Spirit of God has impelled him to the front of the line, whether he wanted to be there or not. That line he leads is making its way up a mountain, a journey to heavenly heights, so to speak. He has turned and looked at all of us he leads, and he says, “What’s the best way for all of us to do this together?” He knows that he, and we, can’t do it alone.
The Synod is the way for us to be in communion, encourage participation, and understand our mission. Those three words come from Pope Francis. For him, that’s what a “Synodal Church’ is.
In effect Francis says to us, “Let’s talk about it.” And you can be sure that we won’t just be talking, but hopefully what we hear from each other can become a blessing for one another and a blessing for the world in which we live.
Pray for the Synod. Pray for our parish reps, Jill and Ed Rebholz and Maryellen Maher. You heard from them this weekend. I thank them for their time and work. Their efforts will be blessed if we are do our part as they ask of us.
With my hopes for all of us, in Jesus,
PS: You should know we have in our midst, our very own Steve Irwin. Jim Cowgill senior, managed to catch Sue Schierer’s cat who escaped on St. Francis’s feast day when we blessed our animals. After luring two possum and one gray cat into his little cage, he finally lured Sue’s cat, Lilli, close enough to regain her for Sue. Annie G. came last Monday evening when Trapper Cowgill succeeded and brought Lilli to Sue. Thanks to Jim and Annie for kindness ‘over and above.’ Climbing the Hill!!