"Remember, I am with you always to the end of the age" (Mt 28:20)

"Into The Deep": Synod on Synodality In The Eyes Of Pope St John Paul II

Duc In Altum

t the beginning of the new millennium, and at the close of the Great Jubilee during which we celebrated the two thousandth anniversary of the birth of Jesus and a new stage of the Church's journey begins, our hearts ring out with the words of Jesus when one day, after speaking to the crowds from Simon's boat, he invited the Apostle to "put out into the deep" for a catch: "Duc in altum" (Lk 5:4). Peter and his first companions trusted Christ's words, and cast the nets. "When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish" (Lk 5:6).

Duc in altum! These words ring out for us today, and they invite us to remember the past with gratitude, to live the present with enthusiasm and to look forward to the future with confidence: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever" (Heb 13:8).

The Church's joy was great this year, as she devoted herself to contemplating the face of her Bridegroom and Lord. She became more than ever a pilgrim people, led by him who is the "the great shepherd of the sheep" (Heb 13:20). With extraordinary energy, involving so many of her members, the People of God here in Rome, as well as in Jerusalem and in all the individual local churches, went through the "Holy Door" that is Christ. To him who is the goal of history and the one Saviour of the world, the Church and the Spirit cried out: "Marana tha — Come, Lord Jesus" (cf. Rev 22:17, 20; 1 Cor 16:22).

It is impossible to take the measure of this event of grace which in the course of the year has touched people's hearts. But certainly, "a river of living water", the water that continually flows "from the throne of God and of the Lamb" (cf. Rev 22:1), has been poured out on the Church. This is the water of the Spirit which quenches thirst and brings new life (cf. Jn 4:14). This is the merciful love of the Father which has once again been made known and given to us in Christ. At the end of this year we can repeat with renewed jubilation the ancient words of thanksgiving: "Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love endures for ever" (Ps 118:1) (John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte, To The Bishops Clergy And Lay Faithful At The Close Of The Great Jubilee Of The Year 2000, 1).

Movement of the Incarnation

It is especially necessary for us to direct our thoughts to the future which lies before us. Often during these months we have looked towards the new millennium which is beginning, as we lived this Jubilee not only as a remembrance of the past, but also as a prophecy of the future. We now need to profit from the grace received, by putting it into practice in resolutions and guidelines for action. This is a task I wish to invite all the local churches to undertake. In each of them gathered around their Bishop, as they listen to the word and “break bread” in brotherhood (cf. Acts 2:42), the “one holy catholic and apostolic Church of Christ is truly present and operative” (Christus Dominus, 11). It is above all in the actual situation of each local church that the mystery of the one People of God takes the particular form that fits it to each individual context and culture. In the final analysis, this rooting of the Church in time and space mirrors the movement of the Incarnation itself... Now is the time for each local Church to assess its fervour and find fresh enthusiasm for its spiritual and pastoral responsibilities, by reflecting on what the Spirit has been saying to the People of God in this special year of grace, and indeed in the longer span of time from the Second Vatican Council to the Great Jubilee (Novo Millennio Ineunte, 3).

A Pilgrim Church

As if following in the footsteps of the Saints, countless sons and daughters of the Church have come in successive waves to Rome, to the Tombs of the Apostles, wanting to profess their faith, confess their sins and receive the mercy that saves. I have been impressed this year by the crowds of people which have filled Saint Peter's Square at the many celebrations. I have often stopped to look at the long queues of pilgrims waiting patiently to go through the Holy Door. In each of them I tried to imagine the story of a life, made up of joys, worries, sufferings; the story of someone whom Christ had met and who, in dialogue with him, was setting out again on a journey of hope (Novo Millennio Ineunte, 8).

As I observed the continuous flow of pilgrims, I saw them as a kind of concrete image of the pilgrim Church, the Church placed, as Saint Augustine says, "amid the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God". We have only been able to observe the outer face of this unique event. Who can measure the marvels of grace wrought in human hearts? It is better to be silent and to adore, trusting humbly in the mysterious workings of God and singing his love without end: "Misericordias Domini in aeternum cantabo!" (Novo Millennio Ineunte, 8).


  1. Thank you po, Fr. JM for sharing with us these excerpts on synod on synodality... This "Duc in Altum" reminds me about a particular children's book entitled "Mel Fell"... Taking a risk on something you haven't done before... Not being afraid to try...."Sometimes you might fall down...down...down... before you learn to fly up...up...up!"

    Here's an animated version of the book... Hope you like it...


    Thank you very much! Ingat po kayo palagi...

    1. Thank you very much for sharing this amazing children's book! It portrays a story as deep as the gospel! It took me a while to post this because I just finished my own long retreat! Mutual prayers always!😇

    2. Wow! It's nice to hear that you had a little moment of rest...

      You know what, Fr. Jom,
      I really love reading children's book but I love reading it the more after my retreat, with you as my guide... I learned to see through and beyond... Thank you so much po...

      I am always praying for you... Please pray for me also especially for my new mission abroad... Ingat po kayo palagi... God bless po...



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