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The heart of joyful mission

This is the official logo for the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. Originally scheduled for 2022, the synod will take place in October 2023 to allow for broader consultation at the diocesan, national and regional levels. (CNS photo/courtesy Synod of Bishops)

The heroics of delivering service excellence are really engendered by a deep-seated, passionate commitment to respect and honour for the heart wisdom of self and the other, however simple, or lofty in the societal structure.

We can only be our authentic human selves when we continually acknowledge the Source of all goodness and our access to redemption, even in our brokenness.

The ‘heroes’ who have stepped forward and accepted the challenge of leading the Synodality process have been urged to listen, not just hear the contributions, but to engage spirit and heart.

Our traditional Catholic selves have been conditioned to abide by structure, hierarchy and often a dissection of personhood that separates faith from fair dealings and a suppression of integrated use of our God-given faculties. Perhaps, you’re surprised to hear this, maybe even scandalised at the suggestion.

However, we will be challenged to push the boundaries of customary awareness and engagement as all embark upon the necessary journey of self-discovery.

Let’s courageously face the searching questions of what each of us is called to do, where God is leading us and how we would value the nourishment of the breakfast of champions: feedback.

That is what John the Baptist offered to those who questioned him about what to do, how to live, who has the real power and energy to purify and propel all in their various endeavours.

We are in that story too, being led into authentic communion, participation, and mission in a fair, just, empathetic interaction with our brothers and sisters in faith, as well as those who are searching or of no faith.

How may humanity’s experience of love, willing the good of the other, in changing times, inform and transform our mission to be one with God? This question seeks answers locally and universally.

At the recent online ‘boot camp’ orientation of Synodality Co-ordinators, Hanif Benjamin of the core Planning Team shared a marvellous, insightful ‘reading’ of the significance of the integrated elements of the synodality logo.

He exhorted participants to listen to the logo! Imagine that! A uni-dimensional graphic was brought to life—a large, majestic tree of the Cross of  Christ, energised by the ‘Sun’ of the Eucharist, lighting the way for a pilgrimage of varied persons, ‘authority figures’ merging with the whole, all led by children, bright colours exuding joy!

The prophets and apostles in today’s readings, Zephaniah, Isaiah, St Paul, and the Lukan Good News all proclaim joy!

Did you know that 25 different Hebrew words and 10 Greek words make up over 150 references to joy in the Bible?

Joy is not happiness which is circumstantial. It has its springs deep down inside, a Source spring that never runs dry, no matter what happens.

John tells us that through the baptism of mission in Spirit, Fire and Truth, only Jesus gives that joy, even under the shadow of the Cross.

We too, can exude joy in our trials and suffering, rejoicing as outward expressions of the internal joy of the heart by passionate conversations for action, leaping, shouting, singing, playing music and dancing, together!