Year of walking together – evangelising in a Synodal way
I have already offered you all a report on my experience in the recent Second Assembly of the Plenary Council of Australia.
In summary, if this Second Assembly was an AFL football match, I believe we needed a fifth quarter! It seems that it was only during the last few days that we truly entered into the Synodal way of walking together under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. No more did the various agendas and passionate personal issues seem to gain the upper hand. What remained was a serene communal joyfulness and determination to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us to the evangelising path ahead for the Catholic Church in Australia.
Now it is our turn in the Archdiocese to evangelise in a Synodal way. Let us begin at the fifth quarter and carry on from where the Plenary Council left off!
Australians are always pragmatic and eager to act. That is our strength. It could also be our weakness.
Pope Francis says that synodality is about “a discerning community becoming an acting community”. Moving too quickly to the latter to the neglect of the former is a real temptation for us all.
Discernment and attentiveness to the movement of the Holy Spirit requires tough listening. What is of God and what requires time and communal discernment.
The Disciples of Emmaus can teach us to be challenged by the new Voice in their midst, to listen to new arguments and points of view, to be led to conversion by the Eucharist. It then demands a return to the periphery Calvaries of our time with evangelical zeal as missionary disciples of the Resurrection.
This is why I have inaugurated a Year of Walking Together as an Archdiocese. How can we discern and act together in the name of Jesus if we still have not engaged in the sharing of the good things God has given us all? This is creating a Synodal culture from which evangelising zeal emerges.
I have very recently opened this Year of Walking Together. I did so in Eden on the Solemnity of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop. The Josephite Sisters at Eden testified that St Mary MacKillop herself was a totally Synodal Woman of Faith.
She never stopped walking with Jesus and communities to do something when she saw a need.
So let us use as our guides over the next year the lovely icon of Emmaus painted by Fr Joe Tran PP of Narooma and any image of Mary MacKillop as we share all that Jesus has given us.
Then our acting in the name of Jesus will be the fruit of a discerning community of love led by their Chief Evangelist, their Archbishop.