Our Holy Father Pope Francis has invited the Catholic Church to embark on a journey together. Through listening and discernment rooted in the Holy Spirit, the entire people of God will be called to contribute to a process by which the Church deepens in understanding of Her mission and looks toward the future. A Synod, which is the process by which the Church will begin this important work is not just a convening of Bishops reflecting on a particular topic and advising the Pope. A Synod is a journey of discernment, in which the people of God are called to pray and reflect upon the Holy Spirit’s will for the Church. Through our listening and our sharing, we will seek to understand what the Holy Spirit’s will is for the topic being discussed – and thus, for the Church. For the 2023 Ordinary Synod of Bishops, that topic is synodality. Simply put, synodality is discerning how the Spirit is moving through and with the Body of Christ, so that we may continue to fulfill our mission to evangelize in the world.
2. Prayer for the XVI Synod of Bishops
We stand before You, Holy Spirit, as we gather together in Your name.
With You alone to guide us, make Yourself at home in our hearts;
Teach us the way we must go and how we are to pursue it.
We are weak and sinful; do not let us promote disorder.
Do not let ignorance lead us down the wrong path nor partiality influence our actions.
Let us find in You our unity so that we may journey together to eternal life and not stray from the way of truth and what is right.
All this we ask of You, who are at work in every place and time,
in the communion of the Father and the Son, forever and ever.
3. Journeying Together Reflection
A Reading from the Book of Exodus
Then God spoke to Moses and said to him: I am the LORD.
As God the Almighty I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but by my name, LORD, I did not make myself known to them.
I also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they were residing as aliens.
Now that I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians have reduced to slavery, I am mindful of my covenant.
Therefore, say to the Israelites: I am the Lord. I will free you from the burdens of the Egyptians and will deliver you from their slavery. I will redeem you by my outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.
I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God; and you will know that I, the Lord, am your God who has freed you from the burdens of the Egyptians
and I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as your own possession, I, the Lord!
But when Moses told this to the Israelites, they would not listen to him because of their dejection and hard slavery. Then the LORD spoke to Moses: Go, tell Pharaoh, king of Egypt, to let the Israelites leave his land. However, Moses protested to the LORD, “If the Israelites did not listen to me, how is it possible that Pharaoh will listen to me, poor speaker that I am!” But the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron regarding the Israelites and Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and charged them to bring the Israelites out of the land of Egypt.
The Word of the Lord.
Small Group Discussion
What experiences in your faith journey does this Scripture call to mind? Some ways that you can approach this question (you do not need to respond to each):
What joys do they provoke?
What difficulties and obstacles have you encountered?
What wounds are brought to light?
What insights are elicited?