13 Towards a More Listening Church - Noel D’Silva

posted Mar 8, 2018, 11:07 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 8, 2018, 11:07 AM ]
The Church, the People of God must always be listening, attentive to the Word of God, the Son of God, who has spoken to us and revealed to us the love and mercy of the Trinitarian God. In doing so, women and men, at all times and in all places, will be enabled to understand life, society and Creation in such a manner that lives can be lived with meaning and in fullness.

The model of listening for the disciples of Jesus is surely Mary, the Mother of the Church. She received the Word and treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:19)

In trying to completely comprehend what listening is, it will also be good to look at the other Mary in the Gospel, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. As opposed to Mary, her sister Martha is busy about many things. Mary, on the other hand, sits at the feet of the Master, totally engrossed in what He has to say. The attitude of this Mary is a forceful reminder to us that there are other factors more fundamental than activity and achievement.

The first and primary listeners in the Church are the Pope and the College of Bishops. This College, of which the Pope is the Head, is the successor of the Apostles. We know and believe that the Apostles were directly commissioned by Jesus to teach the Gospel that was preached by Jesus to them. The Apostles proved to be perfect listeners. So also, the Pope with the bishops have to be perfect listeners to the Word of God, in order to transmit the message of Jesus to all those who are willing to be full of faith in Jesus – the faithful.

Now it must be remembered that the Church is not an elite group of priests, of consecrated people, of bishops (Pope Francis). All in the Church make up the Holy People of God. All in the Church are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession (St Peter). All in the Church are called to be prophets; announcing the Kingdom of God by word and example, denouncing all that takes us away from the King and His Kingdom. The Church, therefore, is a listening Church, knowing that listening "is more than feeling.” It is a mutual listening in which everyone has something to learn. Faithful people, the College of Bishops, the Bishop of Rome: we are one in listening to others; and all are listening to the Holy Spirit, the "Spirit of truth" (Jn 14:17), to know what the Spirit "is saying to the Churches." (Rev 2:7) - Pope Francis