The pandemic has changed many attitudes towards life and faith.
Within the church the way in which we organise and embrace our mission
has come to the fore with the pithily titled “Synod on Synodality.” See:
Since accepting the office of Pope, Francis has sought in many ways to change perceptions of the church both within and without. The church exists to evangelise, to spread the good news of Jesus Christ whose story is told within the four gospels. Pope Francis has sought to clarify what this means in the twenty first century and how we should be involved.
It is for this purpose that Pope Francis launched the worldwide Synod across the church. Within the synod process great emphasis has been placed on listening to each other and, in the case of the hierarchy, listening to the laity. Many parishes including ours joined in the synodal discussions at local level. St Clements’ own submissions were sent directly to the Synod Office in Rome. They are available to read here on the parish website.
This synod process has reminded us that we all have a role to play in the church’s mission. By virtue of our baptism we are called to play our own unique part in the work of evangelisation. Whilst individuals are usually evangelised through the influence of practising Christians, there is undoubtedly an element of the public square in relation to evangelisation.
As true believers we can no longer ‘hide’ within the protective walls of our local church. We have faith in the risen Lord Jesus and have a job to do in the world at large. That is the world of business and commerce, science and engineering, art and culture and our own families, friends and neighbourhoods. Creation is our concern in all its aspects. Love for our brothers and sisters presupposes our involvement according to our own talents, aptitudes and skills in all aspects of creation.
We cannot accept that any “portion” of the world at large operates outside the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ. Nor can we fail to recognise that others may have insights into the practical realisation of this love.
In the face of much distrust and opposition we have to allow ourselves to become the faith community (church) of the Beatitudes. And to work tirelessly in this community to be a real source of light and hope. We have to be able to reach people where they are and encourage them on their life journeys. But we will need to be equipped for this task.
Here at St Clements a group of parishioners is following up on our synod discussions.
We hope to develop a pathway forward which brings us to a new vision for an open, welcoming, worshipping faith community, reaching out to the isolated, disadvantaged and those ignorant of Christ, providing new hope in the face of the challenges of our age. And an important part of this pathway will be to develop guidance and support that will help equip us to take our vision forward.
May the name of the Lord be Praised! Now and forever.