.- Pope Francis formally opened the synod of bishops Sunday, telling participants that the union between a man and woman is the foundation of God’s plan for the family, and a solution to the many forms of loneliness in today’s world.
“This is God’s dream for his beloved creation: to see it fulfilled in the loving union between a man and a woman, rejoicing in their shared journey, fruitful in their mutual gift of self,” the Pope said in his opening Mass for the Synod of Bishops.
He explained that this plan is the same one presented in the day’s Gospel for Mark, when Jesus says “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.”
Pope Francis’ comments were made during his Oct. 4 Mass marking the official opening of this year’s Ordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family.
Set to last from Oct. 4-25, this year’s synod follows the theme “The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and the modern world,” and follows last year’s extraordinary synod on the family, which focused on pastoral challenges regarding family life.
In his homily, Francis noted how the first reading from Genesis, which recounts the story of creation, speaks to us of Adam’s experience of solitude before the creation of Eve.
Although Adam was given dominion over the garden and the other creatures, he “felt alone, because there was not found a helper fit for him. He was lonely.”
Loneliness in Society
While people have great ambitions and many different forms of entertainment, they have little time or freedom to enjoy them, he noted.
“There is) a deep and growing interior emptiness,” he said, adding that “the number of people who feel lonely keeps growing, as does the number of those who are caught up in selfishness, gloominess, destructive violence and slavery to pleasure and money.”