Next in Pope Francis’ address to the Diocese of Rome, he dials back a few chapters to the first structural innovation in the infant Church. How do the apostles further organize leadership and service for growing numbers and the very real needs of some of those believers? The very first synod, addressing some practical things.
You see, we cannot understand what it means to be “catholic” without thinking of this large, open and welcoming expanse. Being Church is a path to enter into this broad embrace of God. To return to the Acts of the Apostles, we see the emerging problem of how to organize the growing number of Christians, and particularly how to provide for the needs of the poor. Some were saying that their widows were being neglected. The solution was found by assembling the disciples and determining together that seven men would be appointed full time for diakonia, to serve the tables (Acts 6:1-7). In this way, though service, the Church advanced, journeyed together, was “synodal”, accompanied by discernment, amid the felt needs and realities of life and in the power of the Spirit. The Spirit is always the great “protagonist” of the Church’s life.
This approach seems super basic, almost to the point of being simple. Have a need? Get people together and talk about it. The reality is that the Holy Spirit finds a way to insert and inspire when people get back to the simple things, and take obvious paths to go forward.
This speech is copyright © Dicastero per la Comunicazione – Libreria Editrice Vaticana