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New year: What’s new in the synod? – Synod January 2024

January 8, 2024

2024 is here. We have just received it with the hope and desire that it will be full of challenges, projects and dreams to be fulfilled throughout the 12 months that we have just started.

But we are tempted to want to see everything already done and it turns out that the rhythm of the days, weeks and months on the one hand is fast, but on the other hand it allows us to adjust the rhythm to our own personal plan and to see how these plans unravel little by little, sometimes imperceptibly.

In this regard, I like the biblical quote from the book of the prophet Isaiah, chapter 43:

8 Remember not the former things, neither call to remembrance the things of old. 19 Behold, I am doing new things; it will soon come to light; do you not see it? Again I will make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. 20 The wild beasts of the field shall honor me, the jackals and the chicks of the ostrich; for I will give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, for my chosen people to drink. 21

The time has passed, 2023 is behind us. We are given a new stage to fill with life. New things, buds that germinate into blossoms and overflowing fruits that are palpable to our eyes. But there are also very insignificant ones, as if they go unnoticed and yet they are an announcement of hope, of dreams and projects come true.

The history of which we are the protagonists and in which we are immersed is pregnant with life; we need to open the eyes of our heart to discover these signs, these buds, why do we not perceive them? Our gaze needs to be purified in order to go beyond appearances.

And in this new year we continue the synodal process. We continue to delve deeper into these questions open to so many other topics and subtopics that allow us to continue contributing ideas, suggestions, words, experiences, adding to the aspects presented in the synthesis report: Convergences – Issues to be addressed – Proposals.

And requests to continue preparing ourselves for the synodal assembly in October of this year do not cease to arrive: discernment workshops, synodal retreats, talks, spiritual exercises, synodal leadership… which have as their background a desire to live our ecclesial being in a different way and for this the commitment to feel part of it and therefore co-responsible, as adults in the faith, with the common dignity that baptism gives us.

We move forward slowly but always with our sights set on the goal; the rhythms are different, there are stones on the road, obstacles to overcome, barriers to break down, but in walking together we help each other to maintain the ecclesial spirit that animates us, following in the footsteps of Jesus, the center of ecclesial life and therefore of those of us who call ourselves Christians.

Welcome to the year 2024! Welcome to the Synodal Assembly! We want to welcome you in expectation and hope. A new time for a new life. The possibility is in our hands. That which is realized in the everyday, in what does not stand out, but is the announcement of something deeper. Do we really believe that something new is sprouting?

Let us keep our eyes fixed on the Word and at the same time on the reality of our world. The wheat and the tares are mixed. We need a lot of discernment to separate the two without getting confused by the mixtures.

Synodal time, time of the Spirit; a new Kairos is emerging, signs of life are already appearing, always paschal, but which fill us with strength to continue on our journey. Challenges that challenge us but Someone sustains our steps.

We continue to move forward in this Synod of Synodality that gives us the gift of a springtime that revitalizes us, with the gentle breeze of the Spirit and commits us to take real and coherent steps.

Happy 2024! Happy next synodal assembly!

María Luisa Berzosa FI, Rome.

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