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New year? – Synod January

January 12, 2023


On the synodal journey from Rome

We open the page of the new year 2023. It is blank. We begin a stage of history yet to be written. But where is the novelty? We turn the page and write each day of the 365 days of the calendar that we have in our hands, of this year that we are beginning.

And perhaps we think that there is nothing new because every day we do the same or very similar things and we talk about routine, which is defined as the acquired habit of doing things by mere practice and in a more or less automatic way.

We don’t realise that while this is true, it also hides something deeper. We have the same schedules, especially from Monday to Friday, we do things repeatedly from one day to the next, but our person has feelings, sensations, encounters, messages… that make each day a special, different time. It is the extraordinary novelty of the daily routine, we could say.

And if within that routine we look at the world and allow ourselves to be struck by what happens, each day is an unrepeatable novelty. We cannot get used to what we see every day: pain, war, violence, death, must not fail to affect us, it is a disturbing novelty, it enters into our daily routine and colours it in a special way.

And if we talk about the church, we also allow ourselves to be affected, we experience painful sensations, we feel that it hurts us because we are part of it.

We acknowledge our sins, we ask for forgiveness because there can be no synodality without reconciliation as it directly affects communion. We take up the Pope’s words at the Angelus on 26 December 2022:

               “The ‘per-don’ is in reality, as the word itself indicates, a greater gift, a gift that we give to others because we belong to Jesus, we are forgiven by Him. Let us think about our capacity to forgive, in these days when we may encounter, among many others, some people with whom we have not got on well, who have hurt us, with whom we have never mended our relationship. Let us ask the newborn Jesus for a newness, that is, the newness of a heart capable of forgiveness: we all need a forgiving heart”.

This Continental stage of the Synod is inviting us to the newness already lived but which needs to be maintained: listening, discernment, encounter, integration of all people without leaving anyone out.

“Enlarge the space of your tent” (Is 54,2), is the biblical text that gathers the diocesan contribution to work in the next stage, which means moving from the local to the continental church.

Let us widen our heart’s gaze and welcome with open arms the future that opens up beginning in 2023, because the Spirit has much to say to us.  Let us listen carefully.


María Luisa Berzosa FI – Rome.