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Firstly, I would like to announce a little bit of 'grace', that is, this afternoon we will not begin at 4:30pm-it seems inhumane to me-,but at quarter to six.
It is a beautiful tradition created by Blessed Pope John Paul II to crown the Synod with a communal luncheon. For me it is a great joy that at my right hand stands His Holiness Bartholomew [I], Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and, on the other side, Archbishop Rowan Williams from the Anglican Communion.
For me, this communion is a sign that we are on the way towards unity and that in the heart we are moving forward. The Lord will also help us to move forward exteriorly. This joy, I think, gives us strength also for the mandate of the evangelization. Synodos means "common path", "to be on a common path", and thus, the word synodos makes me think of the famous road of the Lord with the two disciples of Emmaus, who are somehow an image of today's agnostic world. Jesus, their hope, was dead; the world, empty; it seemed that God was in reality either not there or not interested in us.
With this desperation in the heart, and yet with a small flame of faith, they go forward. The Lord walks with them mysteriously and helps them better understand the mystery of God, his presence in history, his silent walking with us. In the end, during supper, when already the word of the Lord and their hearing it had kindled the heart and enlightened the mind, they recognize Him at supper and finally their heart begins to see. Likewise, in the Synod, we are on the road together with our contemporaries. Let us pray that the Lord may enlighten us, that He may ignite the heart so that it become a seer, that He may enlighten the mind; and let us pray that, in the supper, in the Eucharistic communion, we may truly be open, see him and so ignite also the world a give his light to this our world.
In this sense, the supper – as the Lord often used lunch and supper as symbols of the Kingdom of God-could also be for us a symbol of the common path and an occasion to pray the Lord to accompany us; helps us. In this sense, let us now say the prayer of thanksgiving…
(Prayer in Latin)
Have a good rest; see you later in the Synod Hall! Thank you!