Pope Francis on October 28, 2018, related the first of the day’s Mass readings to the conclusion of the 15th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, on the theme: “Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment.
His comments came before the noonday Angelus address before the umbrella-clad crowd of pilgrims braving the rain to hear the words of the Holy Father. He referred to Jeremiah 31:7-9:
Thus says the LORD:
Shout with joy for Jacob,
exult at the head of the nations;
proclaim your praise and say:
The LORD has delivered his people,
the remnant of Israel.
Behold, I will bring them back
from the land of the north;
I will gather them from the ends of the world,
with the blind and the lame in their midst,
the mothers and those with child;
they shall return as an immense throng.
They departed in tears,
but I will console them and guide them;
I will lead them to brooks of water,
on a level road, so that none shall stumble.
For I am a father to Israel,
Ephraim is my first-born.
“The first Reading, of the prophet Jeremiah, was particularly attuned to this moment because it’s a word of hope, which God gives to His people,” Pope Francis said. “A word of consolation, founded on the fact that God is a Father for His people; He loves them and takes care of them as His children; He opens before them a horizon of future, an accessible, practical path, on which ‘the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her who is in travail,’ namely, persons in difficulty, will be able to walk — because God’s hope isn’t a mirage, as some advertising is, where all are healthy and beautiful, but it’s a promise for real people, with good points and bad points, potential and fragility, like all of us: God’s hope is a promise for people like us.”
The Holy Father called the Synod a time “of consolation and of hope”. He also said it was a time of listening, which requires time, attention, an open mind, and heart.
He also explained the importance of “communal discernment” made in “the light of the Word of God and of the Holy Spirit…
“This is one of the most beautiful gifts that the Lord gives to the Catholic Church, namely, that of bringing together the voices and faces of the most varied realities and thus being able to attempt an interpretation that takes into account the richness and complexity of the phenomena, always in the light of the Gospel.”
He concluded by reminding listeners that the work of the Synod is just the beginning. The fruits of the Synod are starting to “ferment” like wine in a cask.