Many generations of mothers have cajoled their children with “Try it. You’ll like it!” (It seems they all went to the same “Mommy” school.)
A famous layman of the last century, Chesterton, used it in a different sense. ”The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.”
I wonder if maybe we should use the “try it, you’ll like it” approach to synodality.
Journeying together through a lifetime can be a beautiful experience, even if it is filled with many sufferings and crises. Ask any couple who, after 50 years of journeying together, still hold hands while walking.
On the other hand, we know that journeying together doesn’t always work out. Many couples really do not know, understand, and commit to walking with another imperfect person.
God asks us to journey together.
From the beginning, God asks Adam and Eve to journey together and be fruitful and multiply.
But it seems they lost sight of journeying together with God and all of creation. They became selfish. They ate the fruit of self-centeredness, which God knew would make them sick… even unto death.
Then God had to remind Israel that they were chosen for a mission – to be a light to all nations
But they still short-circuited what God had in mind.
They eventually came to think the covenant meant only the members of the 12 tribes and was summed up in 10 commandments, 613 laws, mostly dietary practices.
Jesus came to clarify what God had in mind.
Jesus clarified that Our Father” applied to everyone created by God.
He taught this by eating meals with all kinds of the so-called “unclean” – sinners, tax collectors, and even lepers. He associated with a Samaritan woman, something unheard of on both counts of being a Samaritan and a woman. He summarized all the law and the prophets. Love the Lord your God unreservedly … and your neighbor as much as you love yourself.
Jesus prayed that “all may be one.”
He went even further!
Jesus showed us!
He washed their feet (and asked us to do the same) in memory of him. We saw what God’s unconditional love looked . Jesus gave his own life as an example for us.
The Synodal Journey
Pope Francis is asking us to try something we have rarely experienced in our lifetimes… “journeying together”.
Yet, it is not really new.
Go back to the first council in Jerusalem where Sts. Peter and Paul and representatives of the people discussed the polarizing issues of the early Church. They were just as, if not more polarizing, than the issues we face today! (See “Synodality in Scripture, tradition, and in history)
He is asking us to try it. And hopefully, we will discover that, in fact, we are all brothers and sisters responsible for each other and our common home… and like it!
The People of God, “reveals and gives substance to her being a communion when all her members journey together, gather in assembly and take an active part in her evangelizing mission.” (Preparatory document)
Have we tried journeying yet?
- Do we set limits on who we will travel with?
- How do we begin to understand what it is like to walk another’s moccasins?
- Whose voices have been excluded from the table?
- Are we really aware of the “Good News” that everyone and everything is connected?
- Is our heart on fire with Jesus’ mission to help all become aware of this good news?