January 30 – Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
If a survey were to be done about the most beloved or most used passages from Paul’s writing, the selection we heard today would win hands down. A frequent choice for weddings, people often refer to it as Paul’s hymn to love. Despite the way many interpret it today, Paul probably wrote this passage to critique the Corinthians and their cherished spiritual gifts. He was elaborating on the idea that they had turned genuine religiosity inside out and made it a charade by doing what they did without love. Paul is not criticizing the various gifts people in the community have received. Gifts come from the Spirit – they are good in origin. But unless the gifts are expressions and extensions of love, they are being perverted, and the people who exercise them are making themselves irrelevant at best or even enemies of the Christian cause at worst.
Pope Francis has called the whole church – the people of God – to use their gifts in loving service. To this end, Pope Francis has convoked the Church of God in Synod. Pope Francis has called the global Church to an extensive connection and intentional “listen tour” on the parish level and beyond, to get direct feedback and hear from the people who make up the church communities.
The aim of the Synod is to discern how we are “living the faith” and how, we as a Church, are achieving this together. Synod is an ancient word in the Tradition of the Church whose meaning indicates the path along which the People of God walk together. A fundamental aspect of the Synodal Process is to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church and by answering one fundamental question: “How does this ‘journeying together’ take place today on different levels, allowing the Church to proclaim the Gospel and what steps is the Spirit inviting us to take in order to grow as a synodal Church. The Synod is not about problem solving, but about listening to each other and to the Holy Spirit.
We seek your input through an online questionnaire or by attending one of three in-person listening sessions. These sessions are on: Saturday, February 5th from 1:30pm – 3:30pm; Monday, February 7th from 9:00am to 11:00am; Tuesday, February 8th from 7:00pm – 9:00pm. Please register online to attend one of these sessions.
It is important to remember that the point of this process is the dialogue itself, rather than any consensus or written conclusions. Perhaps discussion will inspire the formation of a new ministry or a new approach to existing ministries. These conversations may inspire a new way of thinking, act as an opportunity to hear new voices, or invite further discussion that extends far beyond the synod. Come, voice your gift!
Have a blessed week!