The Synod and The Jesus Approach

The Synod and The Jesus Approach

What is the purpose of the Synod?

The purpose of this Synod is not to produce more documents. Rather, it is intended to:

  • inspire people to dream about the Church we are called to be,
  • to make people’s hopes flourish,
  • to stimulate trust,
  • to bind up wounds,
  • to weave new and deeper relationships,
  • to learn from one another,
  • to build bridges,
  • to enlighten minds, warm hearts,
  • and restore strength to our hands for our common mission (PD, 32).

Thus the objective of this Synodal Process is not only a series of exercises that start and stop, but rather a journey of growing authentically towards the communion and mission that God calls the Church to live out in the third millennium. The ultimate perspective to orient this synodal path of the Church is to serve the dialogue of God with humanity (DV, 2) and to journey together the kingdom of God (cf. LG, 9; RM, 20). In the end, this Synodal Process seeks to move towards a Church that is more fruitfully at the service of the coming of the kingdom of heaven.

In this light, the objective of this diocesan phase is to consult the People of God so that the Synodal Process is carried out through listening to all the baptized.

An invitation

By convoking this Synod, Pope Francis is inviting all the baptized to participate in this Synodal Process that begins at the diocesan level. Dioceses are called to keep in mind that the main subjects of this synodal experience are all the baptized. Special care should be taken to involve those persons who may risk being excluded: women, the handicapped, refugees, migrants, the elderly, people who live in poverty, Catholics who rarely or never practice their faith, etc. Creative means should also be found in order to involve children and youth.

The Jesus’ Approach

The Gospel witnesses to Jesus’ constant approach of reaching out to people who are excluded, marginalized, and forgotten. A common trait throughout Jesus’ ministry is that faith always emerges when people are valued: their plea is heard, they are aided in their difficulty, their availability is appreciated, their dignity is confirmed by God’s gaze and restored within the community. As Peter was changed by his experience with Cornelius, so too we must allow ourselves to be transformed by what God is inviting us to. Through the Synodal Process, God leads us on the common path of conversion by what we experience with one another. God reaches us through others and he reaches others through us, often in surprising ways.

Who are we to reach out to?

In this sense, the diocesan phase should begin by finding the most effective ways of achieving the widest participation possible. We must personally reach out to the peripheries, to those who have left the Church, those who rarely or never practice their faith, those who experience poverty or marginalization, refugees, the excluded, the voiceless, etc. The heart of the synodal experience is listening to God through listening.

Your brother, ~ Fr. Obi