Synod Theme: The People of God
Responding To Christ’s Call
By Barry P. Schoedel
At all times and in every race, anyone who fears God and does what is right has been acceptable to him. He has, however, willed to make men holy and save them, not as individuals without any bond or link between them, but rather to make them into a people who might acknowledge him and serve him in holiness. He therefore chose the Israelite race to be his own people and established a covenant with it. He gradually instructed this people. . . . All these things, however, happened as a preparation for and figure of that new and perfect covenant which was to be ratified in Christ . . . the New Covenant in his blood; he called together a race made up of Jews and Gentiles which would be one, not according to the flesh, but in the Spirit.
After some reflection upon the essential trajectory of the 2nd Diocesan Synod for the Diocese of Juneau we considered some themes that well articulated this moment for the local Church. Because the Year of Faith is meant to be an opportunity to revisit the writings and teachings of the Second Vatican Council and the Post-Conciliar tradition we wanted to establish continuity with two key principles of the Second Vatican Council: the People of God and the call that is upon us for a New Evangelization.
The above quote is from Lumen Gentium, the chapter that focuses on the Church as the People of God. The People of God are a people who live according to a call, a call to holiness, to salvation, a call to live in the Spirit. The People of God have been reborn by baptism and Spirit, they are intimate friends and disciples of Jesus, servants of God the Father, and messengers of the truth and love of the Holy Spirit. The People of God are a people who desire the Glory of God before all else, and who respond gratefully to the invitation to partake of the divine nature, to put on the new person, participating in the priestly, prophetic, and royal offices of Christ, each according to their particular vocation. The People of God are meant to be a sacrament of salvation for all peoples, a sign of Faith, Hope, and Love that comes from docility to the Gospel as authentically interpreted by the magisterium of the Catholic Church. The People of God no longer live according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit, and as One People yearly renew their baptismal commitment to renounce evil and the Author of Sin, and renew their commitment to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Faith. The People of God as members of the mystical body of Christ, the Church, have two primary responsibilities 1: To Repent and Believe 2: To Go and Make Disciples of all Nations Proclaiming the Kingdom of God.
As we approach the Synod in November we will include in the Southeast Alaska Catholic a monthly reflection on this call as well as information on developments and progress towards our 2nd Diocesan Synod.
Barry P. Schoedel is the Diocesan Assistant for Evangelization and Technology and member of the Synod Preparatory Commission.