Fr Thomas’ Homily for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Synod on Synodality 

Synod on synodality is a process announced by Pope Francis in October 2021. After two years of listening to lived experiences of Catholics all over the world and the voices of those often marginalised or excluded, the synod is to meet in October this year. A “synod” is a journey of discernment rooted in the Holy Spirit. In the Synod on Synodality, the entire Church has been called to discern how the Spirit is moving through and with the Body of Christ ⁠— inside and outside the Church ⁠— so that we may continue to fulfill our mission to evangelize in the world.

Jesus taught about the Kingdom of God in parables. “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the biggest shrub of all and becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and shelter in its branches.” (Ref Mt 13:31-32).  From the tiny beginning, the Church has grown very big.  One of the main characteristics of the Kingdom is hospitality. The Synod on Synodality will be discerning the hospitality we, the Church, offer and the mind of Jesus Christ in what we offer. The theme of hospitality underlines other parables about the Kingdom in Matthew also. Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was leavened all through”. (Ref Mt 13:33) Three measures of flour would make enough bread for hundred people or so. Through the plenitude the parable implies hospitality.  We as Christians are called to permeate the society with our witnessing faith and puff it up for the Kingdom of fulfilment for many.

Then there is the question about the undesirable elements in the Church which are counter witness to the Kingdom. What do we do about it? Through the parable about the wheat and the darnel, the Lord teaches that we are not to be puritanic and purge all undesirable elements as they pop up. As a Church we are to be patient like the farmer and let the weed to grow with the good wheat. It is the Lord’s job to sort out the evil and good ones at the end of time.

Following the teachings of the Lord, the Synod is to discern how we are to be a hospitable Church in the world riddled with questions about women in the Church, politics of power and regionalism, gender identity questions, and inclusiveness issues.  While fundamentals of the faith are not be changed, the process and responses are to be discerned. Therefore, the Synod has a job in its hand. Let us pray for the help of the Holy Spirit in the whole process.