So what do we do? Like a garden, our communities of faith need constant attention. We are called to listen to each other, and also listen to God. How might we do this? As next steps on the way, you might consider the following:
We need functioning structures—parish (and diocesan) councils and committees which work and which are empowered to work, and are allowed to work.
This is one of the ways our being the Church comes to life, an effective way of walking together, of becoming an effective, collaborative Church, one that makes a difference. Such a Church is a community which undertakes and shares responsibility for the life and ministry of the parish. It is not that this is not happening, but it needs to happen more: more widely, more deeply, and more inclusively. In this perspective, you might spend time with this question:
How can our parish structures root the life of our parish in our experiences more than in our ideas? We need more active involvement by all: the Church needs active involvement.
Involvement brings ownership and ownership brings responsibilities, but also its own reward. We need to look at our day-to-say service of the poor, at their cry, at our suffering planet and its cry. How will we find the courage to bring the word of God to relationships which divide the human family? Adapting an important question from Pope Francis (in EG, 224), I ask:
How might we empower people in our parishes who are really concerned about generating processes of people building? Put another way, How do we help each other to begin to see others in their deepest dignity?
There is no authentic synodal way without listening for the voice of the Holy Spirit. On the Solemnity of the Assumption, let us not forget that this is what Mary did. How will we as a Church, discern the Spirit. And so I ask:
Who will lead our communities in listening for the voice of God which is spoken in the heart of every person? What structures will help us find ways of waiting for God’s word, and of acting in its light?
Our Church is where, together, we celebrate and are nourished by our faith. We need to look anew at how we celebrate the Liturgy, and at the quality of our celebrations.
The Liturgy is a key place of encounter with the Church and with the gospel. It is further a key place to serve our sisters and brothers in their days of joy, and in days of sorrow and loss. I therefore ask:
What must we do to ensure that the Word of God is proclaimed with hope, conviction, understanding, and that the Eucharist becomes Living Bread for those who find themselves among us?
These are some of my questions; there may be others. Indeed, there must be, and they will have other focusses and emphases, and we will need to hear them. But these are the questions I consider pressing at this time. Let us not forget we are at the beginning of a process, not at its conclusion!