Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word (Luke 1:38).
My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
At the beginning of this glorious season of Advent, we spoke about our journey of Synodality and a proclamation about our participation on this journey was distributed to you through various communication channels. Since the announcement of our participation, there has been expressed a voiced longing from some of you to understand better what the process will be; what are we trying to do; and how will we know if we accomplished what we set out to do.
The Scripture of the season of Advent and particularly this Fourth Sunday of Advent is rich in the answers to your questions; however, the answers may not be what you seek. Our journey of Synodality is more of a reminder of our purposeful being as God’s imprint upon this earth. We make a promise, a Covenant with God, at Baptism to do God’s will throughout our life. We promise to live as priest, prophet and king according to God’s law. Our journey of Synodality begins with a commitment of each person individually to cry out to God joyfully, “Behold, I come to do Your will.”
No matter our age, that promise to do God’s will is one which we must consider 24/7/365. It is a beautiful promise—it is the promise which Mary offers to God; it is the promise St. Joseph, her spouse, offers to God; it is the promise Jesus offers to the Father. Theirs is a self-offering to focus on God and bring forth His love that the earth will join the Kingdom of heaven. We can’t begin the journey, if we don’t look at ourselves with the eyes of God’s mercy and compassion and recognize our weaknesses and ways in which we step away from our focus on God.
The journey of Synodality requires us to listen. For what are we listening? We are listening for God’s whisper or thunder or trumpet or herald of angels. Where are we going to hear these? We hear them in every moment, in every encounter – if we only listen. The encounter of God is not usually through an angel, as our Blessed Mother encountered. Most likely, the encounter of God is an experience of Elizabeth who, by her greeting of Mary, her cousin, is able to recognize God and Mary’s mission to do God’s will. The bearer of Christ mediates Christ into the world as she hugs her cousin and the Holy Spirit transcends their conversation as they speak about God’s plan before them.
We, too, encounter God through our parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, other family members, friends, teachers, bosses, the people who walk the streets, the people who may seem to be ‘in our way.’ Each one of us is of God and each one of us has something to add to salvation history. How often do we speak to each other about God’s plan for us or how our day was filled with the Lord? The journey of Synodality begins with an introspection of our lack and a true faith to say yes to God’s will.
Well, then, what is the ‘process’ for this journey of Synodality? I hope the ‘process’ is that you and I will know God better and that in our own way we will be open to do His will, however we hear His call. I hope the ‘process’ will help us to understand the importance of God’s self-offering which we receive through the Eucharist and He will nourish and guide us on this journey, if we ask Him. The Eucharist is the reality of the theme of Advent, “the Lord is coming!” I pray our introspection will lead us to participate in the Sacrament of Penance, to speak out loud how we long to be with God.
I pray that we stop looking to find a ‘process’ for the journey of Synodality and begin living God’s will every moment of every day because we are living our Baptismal promise. May our heart leap for joy as we take up the journey of listening and living for God. May our belief be blessed that what God has asked of each one of us will be fulfilled.