Catholic Company / Magazine

A Few Neat Providential Things Surrounding the Synod on the Family

Oct 05, 2015 by

After the opening Mass yesterday, today is the first day our bishops got down to business for the Ordinary Synod on the Family.  Read the Holy Father's Homily for the Sunday Opening Mass and his remarks at Monday's opening discussions.

I noticed a few neat providential coincidences around this important event in the life of the Church that I thought I'd point out (was anyone else thinking the same thing?).

  • The Synod on the Family opened on Respect Life Sunday, which was also the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the saint after which Pope Francis took his papal name. A little known fact is that, in addition to animals and the environment, St. Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of families together with St. Joseph.  That this year Respect Life Sunday (always the first Sunday in October) fell on the feast of St. Francis, patron of families, and that this is the day Pope Francis chose for the start of the Synod of Families is a convergence of spiritual significance.
  • The liturgy guides the life and teaching of the Church. Check out the Mass readings (below) for the 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time. They are all about marriage and the family, adding further significance to this particular Sunday being the opening day of the Synod on the Family. The Holy Father thought so too!
  • October is the Month of the Holy Rosary as well as Respect Life month. The Synod will continue for nearly the entire month, ending on October 25th. The feast of the Holy Rosary, October 7th, falls during the first week of the Synod. This is probably a heavenly prodding for the faithful to pray the rosary daily during the Synod for our Holy Mother Church!
  • The eve of the opening of the Synod was the traditional feast day of St. Therese of Lisieux (Oct. 3rd). The relics of St. Therese and her parents, Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, will be on display in St. Mary Major Papal Basilica (the largest church in Rome dedicated to the Mother of God) throughout the duration of the Synod. Our Lady is keeping the Martin family close to her as a message to the world at this particular time in history. Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin will be canonized during the Synod on October 18th, the first married couple in Church history to be canonized together.
  • The first day of business at the Synod—Monday, October 5th—is the feast day of St. Faustina Kowalska, the nun and mystic to whom Our Lord revealed devotion to his Divine Mercy. Mercy has become a key theme for Pope Francis' pontificate, and will also be a guiding theme throughout the Synod.

Have you noticed any other spiritually significant things about the Synod? If so, please share your insights in the comments below.


Mass Readings for the opening of the Synod on the Family

"This Sunday’s Scripture readings seem to have been chosen precisely for this moment of grace which the Church is experiencing: the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the family, which begins with this Eucharistic celebration. The readings center on three themes: solitude, love between man and woman, and the family." - Pope Francis' opening homily

First Reading (Genesis 2:18-24)

The LORD God said: "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him." So the LORD God formed out of the ground various wild animals and various birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each of them would be its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of the air, and all wild animals; but none proved to be the suitable partner for the man.

So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. The LORD God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. When he brought her to the man, the man said: "This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called 'woman, ' for out of 'her man’ this one has been taken." That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one flesh.

Responsorial Psalm

R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.

Blessed are you who fear the LORD,

who walk in his ways!

For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;

blessed shall you be, and favored.

R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.

Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine

in the recesses of your home;

your children like olive plants

around your table.

R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.

Behold, thus is the man blessed

who fears the LORD.

The LORD bless you from Zion:

may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem

all the days of your life.

R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.

May you see your children's children.

Peace be upon Israel!

R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.

Gospel Reading (Mark 10:2-16)

The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked, "Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?" They were testing him. He said to them in reply, "What did Moses command you?"  They replied, "Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her." But Jesus told them, "Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment.  But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.  For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh.  Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate."  In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.  He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery."

And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, "Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it." Then he embraced them and blessed them, placing his hands on them.