ON this wednesday I would like to begin with a few words from Pope Francis. Normally the Pope gathers with people on the square at St Peter's and has an audience with them giving them a bit of encouragement or catechesis on a particular subject. With the Synod of the Family under way in Rome, where bishops from all over have gathered to discuss hot button topics such as Annulments, divorce, homosexuality and the like I thought i would share a bit of Pope's words at the opening mass for the Synod.
The Pope mentions that God has a dream and his dream is his people. God desires a holy people. God plants and nurtures them in the analogy of a vineyard. Pope points out that it is the farmers that ruined the produce, ruin the Lord's pan: they fail to do their jobs and only think of their own interest.
"The work of the leaders is to nurture the vineyard with freedom, creativity and hard work. The work of a synod is not to discuss beautiful and clever ideas, or to see who is more intelligent...They are meant to better nurture and tend the Lord's vineyard, to help realize his dream, his loving plan for his people. In this case, the Lord is asking us to care for the family, which has been from the beginning an integral part of his loving plan for humanity."
Just a taste of things to come from the synod on the family.
I'm not sure what will come out of the synod. I do know we should pray that the Bishops have a listening heart an that they may respond generously and magnanimously to the prompting of the Spirit of God.
In today's gospel Jesus teaches us to pray. He teaches us to pray in response to the request of the disciples, "Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples."
Prayer is that which is a hallmark and central binding reality to any group at least it seems that way for the disciples. They do not ask for a mission statement or a motto or a catchy phrase to show that they are united together. They do not ask for a clever symbol or flag that will acts as a unifier.
They ask for prayer. They want to let the Spirit of God in prayer be that which binds them together as a united front, as followers of Jesus himself.
Prayer is not an option. It is an essential ingredient to the life of discipleship.
The prayer Jesus entrust to the disciples is the Lord's prayer.
It is a prayer of adoration and surrender. We seek what we need and put ourselves in the hands of almighty God. At the heart of it is forgiveness. Imagine that. Adoration, surrender, forgiveness is that which ultimately binds the group together.
It is also the way of discipleship. It is how we are to live as we follow after Christ who shows it most profoundly at the Last Supper, in instituting the Eucharist and on the cross.