Synod of the Bishops and Mission

This past month the Synod of Bishops concluded with their focus on the Word of God and how we as a Church share this Word in relevant ways. In the final address of the Holy Father, he summarized things in this way: The voice of the Word is revelation, the face of the Word is Jesus, the house of the Word is Church, and the roads of the Word are mission. He says in mission, The embodied Word of God “issues from” his house, the temple, and walks along the roads of the world to encounter the great pilgrimage that the people of earth have taken up in search of truth, justice and peace. In fact, even in the modern secularized city, in its squares and in its streets – where disbelief and indifference seem to reign, where evil seems to prevail over good, creating the impression of a victory of Babylon over Jerusalem – one can find a hidden yearning, a germinating hope, a quiver of expectation. As can be read in the book of the prophet Amos, “The days are coming, declares the Lord God, when I shall send a famine on the country: not hunger for food, not thirst for water, but famine for hearing the word of the Lord” (8:11). The evangelizing mission of the Church wants to answer this hunger.”

With regard to the Mission ad Gentes of the Church, the Pope says, “The Christian also finds common harmony with the great religious traditions of the Orient that teach us, in their Scriptures, respect for life, contemplation, silence, simplicity, renunciation, as occurs in Buddhism. Or, like in Hinduism, they exalt the sense of the sacred, sacrifice, pilgrimage, fasting, and sacred symbols. Or, as in Confucianism, they teach wisdom and family and social values. Even to the traditional religions with their spiritual values expressed in the rites and oral cultures, we would like to pay our cordial attention and engage in a respectful dialogue with them. Also to those who do not believe in God but who endeavour to “do what is right, to love goodness and to walk humbly” (Mi 6:8), we must work with them for a more just and peaceful world, and offer in dialogue our genuine witness to the Word of God that can reveal to them new and higher horizons of truth and love.”

Often in interfaith dialogue, the starting point begins with our scriptures to find common ground by which to stand together. From there, in trust and respect, we may address our differences. The compassion of Christ pours from our Word in this way many times.

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