top of page

Sower of Good Seed

For a synodal church
Logo for Synod on Synodality

Mt. 13:1-9

On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore. And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: "A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear."

In October, there is a big happening in the Church. Bishops from around the world, as well as laymen and laywomen this time, will gather in Rome to conduct the synod on synodality. This has been a big project pushed forward by Pope Francis.

Jesus is a sower of good seed, and we need to make sure that this synod gives good soil for much growth.

Synods have been around for a long time in Church history. More recently, since the close of the Second Vatican Council, it was seen that it would be good for a representation of the world’s bishops to get together and discuss the most relevant topics for Church life. We have received very beautiful papal documents as a result of many of these synods. The post-synodal exhortations Familiaris Consortio by Pope John Paul II, Sacramentum Caritatis by Pope Benedict XVI, and Christus Visit by Pope Francis come to mind.

The synod this October seems a little larger. It has been the fruit of a long process, beginning in 2021 with a consultation of the local churches. The local churches have made an effort to consult the lay faithful directly about the most important issues in the Church. It has been somewhat controversial as well. It is hard to separate it from what we have heard about the heterodox Synodal Way promoted in Germany and that has led to much tension in the Church.

Pope Francis, as Vicar of Christ, has the heavy duty of preserving the Deposit of Faith. He also listens to the workings of the Holy Spirit. He has reflected much on the synodality of the Church and I would like to relay some of that during this reflection on the words of the Gospel, “Whoever has ears to hear, ought to hear.” (Mt. 13:9)

In a discourse to the Roman diocese, Pope Francis said:

“Whoever has ears should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches” (Rev. 3:13). To have ears, to listen, is the first thing we need to do. To hear God’s voice, to sense his presence, to witness his passage and his breath of life. (Pope Francis, 18 September 2021)

These words from the book of Revelation recall the words of the Gospel. We are all called to listen. We know from St. Paul that belief comes from hearing. (cf. Rm. 10:17) And the most important source for our hearing will always be the Sacred Scripture and the Tradition of the Church.

Synodality is not a chapter in an ecclesiology textbook, much less a fad or a slogan to be bandied about in our meetings. Synodality is an expression of the Church’s nature, her form, style and mission. We can talk about the Church as being “synodal”, without reducing that word to yet another description or definition of the Church. I say this not as a theological opinion or even my own thinking, but based on what can be considered the first and most important “manual” of ecclesiology: the Acts of the Apostles. (Pope Francis, 18 September 2021)

364 bishops, priests, religious, and laypeople will gather in Rome in October. Of these, 32 come from the United States and Canada. Five bishops were selected by the USCCB: Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Bishop Daniel Flores, Bishop Robert Barron, Bishop Kevin Rhoades, and Cardinal Dolan.

Pope Francis has selected more bishops himself, including the five American cardinals he created: Cardinal Blaise Cupich, Cardinal Robert McElroy, Cardinal Wilton Gregory, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, Cardinal Kevin Farrell and Archbishop Paul Etienne.

He selected as well some young adults and women who participated in the Synodal Process in the Continental Phase here in the United States.

The word “synod” says it all: it means “journeying together”. The Book of Acts is the story of a journey that started in Jerusalem, passed through Samaria and Judea, then on to the regions of Syria, Asia Minor, Greece, ending up in Rome. A journey that reveals how God’s word, and the people who heed and put their faith in that word, journey together. The word of God journeys with us. Everyone has a part to play; no one is a mere extra. This is important: everyone has a part to play. (Pope Francis, 18 September 2021)

It must be our hope and our prayer that the Holy Spirit may work powerfully on these men and women during the October Synod. Hopefully, it does re-create the sense of the life of the first disciples in the Acts of the Apostles. They were “of one mind and one heart” (cf. Acts 4:32) because they were centered on Christ and their mission was to share his message.

We know that Christ sows good seed. It is up to us to make sure that this seed grows.

Check in next week for Part 2: Weeds among the Wheat


Francis. (2021). Address to the Faithful of Rome.

26 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

About Me

Portrait FNS 9.17.2021.jpg

Welcome to my blog! I hope you like it. Let me know. Let's stay in touch.


Posts Archive

Keep Your Friends
Close & My Posts Closer.

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page