“This is why I told you that no one could come to me unless the Father allows him.”
Friday, 27 August 2021
Pope Francis has been speaking a lot recently about ‘synodality’ in the Church. This word points to the way he wants the Christian community to walk together – in their decisions and how they live their lives. Synodality emphasises, therefore, that the Christian life cannot be lived in isolation. We are a part of a community. Pope Francis is inviting us to live together as a community, being open to the communal aspect of the Kingdom of God.
This text from the Gospel of John today outlines how Jesus has shared his teaching with his disciples and that it is that teaching which forms the foundation of the Christian community. Some disciples have chosen to abandon Jesus because they have found his teaching to be too hard. On the other hand, Peter has refused to leave Jesus because he recognises that only Jesus’ teaching leads to life. Furthermore, in Matthew’s Gospel (Mt 16:17), we see that Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Messiah did not come from a human source but from God the Father. We can slowly begin to understand that the Father has been drawing disciples to Jesus and that he has been forming them into a community. It is the will of the Father that we believe in Jesus and his teaching and that we walk together as believers.
This can give us pause for self-reflection. How important is our community to us as Christians? Are we satisfied to have a personal relationship with God while ignoring the communitarian aspect of our beliefs? If God truly does want us to live as Christians in a community, what can we do to improve our outreach to others?