Today’s Thoughts: After praying with today’s Gospel last evening before heading to bed it was on my mind as I opened my eyes this morning. I can’t help but hear Jesus’ words in all the articles, headlines and reflections that I have read in recent years about the Synods on the Family, Youth and now on the Amazon. Just by reading the headlines one might surmise that the Church is in trouble. That we seem to be amid confusion and unthinkable divisions – bishop against bishop, cardinal against cardinal, cardinal against pope, traditionalists against progressives, conservatives against liberals (well these last two are quite thinkable), but hopefully you get my point. In all the chatter especially from within the Church about the good and bad of the synods you would think the “End Time” is just around the corner.
Yet, my response to all this chatter, media and hysteria is – in the immortal words of Aaron Charles Rodgers, quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, as the Packers got off to a slow start a few seasons ago – “Relax!”
Jesus tells us in the Gospel today (Luke 12:49-53) that there will be divisions, conflicts and struggles because of his presence, message, ministry and call. He tells us that he has come to set the earth on fire and through the centuries that is exactly what has happened from time to time. There is no reason to believe that it will stop anytime soon unless God has other plans. As long as there are two people on this earth there will be disagreements, struggles and challenges.
The Synods on the Family, on Youth and on the Amazon called for by Pope Francis were never meant to be something, at least in my opinion, that would shake the world or come to definitive conclusions. Those gathered for the synods were told by Pope Francis to speak frankly, honestly, truthfully and to look for ways to move the Church forward. It seems that is what they have been doing. Hopefully people gathered have been listening to one another. Hopefully during the synods people have been expressing their opinions, listening to each other and trying to formulate documents that will reflect thoughts, feelings but most importantly the work of the synods so that the Church will be able to move forward with better focus on the needs, issues and life of the family, of youth and the people of the Amazon region of our world.
Unfortunately for the Church, like a football team that plays a bad game, everyone stands ready pounced on them, the international and national media, cardinals, bishops, priests and laity alike. What are they saying? What aren’t they saying? What do they really mean? Was the translation, right? Is the process, right? It all too confusing! It’s a mess? This confusion is of the devil! They have challenged doctrine! Their using the wrong language. They are praying to pagan idols! And so on and so on and so on!
Let me send this memo to the team, fans, media, to all cardinals, bishops, priests, deacons, whomever – “Relax!” The synods are works in progress, yes, they can be messy, yes, there will be fights, disagreements and divisions but let’s all have some faith in the Holy Spirit. Let’s all have some faith in the processes. Let’s all believe in the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ love!
Have a great Thursday everyone.
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...