For a Synodal Church: A Maryknoll Reflection

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By Dennis Moorman, M.M.

Sunday, June 9, 2024
Gn 3:9-15 | 2 Cor 4:13-5:1 | Mk 3:20-35

If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.

Our world is increasingly divided and polarized, not only politically, but also economically and socially. Currently, the bottom 50 percent of the world’s population owns less than 2 percent of global wealth, while the top 1 percent owns 38 percent. There are clear links between poverty and opportunity. Manipulation of social media and social engineering have exacerbated this division in the world and the prevalence of “fake news” has caused many people to lose trust in all media sources. Despite being more connected virtually, it seems that our world is more divided now than it has ever been before.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus warns us of the dangers of division and blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. One definition of “sin” is “that which separates us from God and from one another.” Understanding sin in this way, we can say that we are living in an increasingly sinful world. The Holy Spirit is the one who unites us and breathes through us and reveals to us the truth. The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is condemned by Jesus as truly evil. In the second reading, St. Paul addresses us as “brothers and sisters,” acknowledging our relatedness and connection as children of God. In the first reading, from the book of Genesis, we read about the inability of Adam and Eve to take responsibility for their disobedience to God. Adam blames Eve, and Eve in turn, blames the serpent. The commonality is that neither one took responsibility for their own choices and actions. In the end, God punished all three of them as a way of revealing that each one had their own part of the responsibility and would suffer the consequences for the result of their sinful actions. This Biblical separation plays out in our world today with division and polarization leading to conflict and horrific wars with unthinkable death and destruction.

Each year, the Catholic Church in Brazil picks a social theme to reflect upon during the Lenten season where social conversion is needed. The theme this year is “Social Friendship,” inspired by a passage in the Gospel of Mathew: “You are all brothers and sisters.” (Mt 23, 8) The focus is on Pope Francis’ call for a synodal Church where dialogue is valued so that “it enables the entire People of God to walk forward together, listening to the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, to participate in the mission of the Church in the communion that Christ establishes between us.” In this spirit, let us pray for a synodal Church with a simplified prayer proposed so that any group or liturgical assembly can pray it more easily:

We stand before You, Holy Spirit,
As we gather together in Your name.

With You alone to guide us,
Make Yourself at home in our hearts;
Teach us the way we must go
And how we are to pursue it.

We are weak and sinful;
Do not let us promote disorder.
Do not let ignorance lead us down the wrong path
Nor partiality influence our actions.

Let us find in You our unity
So that we may journey together to eternal life
And not stray from the way of truth
And what is right.

All this we ask of You,
Who are at work in every place and time,
In the communion of the Father and the Son,
Forever and ever.

Prayer for the Synod on Synodality from the U.S. Conference on Catholic Bishops. Learn more here.

Maryknoll Father Dennis Moorman was ordained in 1998. He lives in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he minsters to people with depression and anxiety using methods of somatic therapy. This ministry has also taken him to 15 countries. 

To read other Scripture reflections published by the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, click here

Imagen destacada: Foto del Papa Francisco orando en la Vigilia Ecuménica de Oración antes de la Asamblea General del Sínodo. (Cortesía de la Iglesia Católica de Inglaterra y Gales Mazur/ Flickr)

Featured image: Pope Francis prays in the Ecumenical Prayer Vigil ahead of the General Assembly of the Synod. (Courtesy of the Catholic Church England and Wales Mazur/ via Flickr)

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Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, based in Washington, D.C., is a resource for Maryknoll on matters of peace, social justice and integrity of creation, and brings Maryknoll’s mission experience into U.S. policy discussions. Visit