With the advancements in technology, communication has been made possible like never before. We are now able to communicate with each regardless of how far away we are. There are applications for our smart phones that can allow two people speaking different languages to understand each other in real-time. Advancements have also allowed us to be made aware of events as they happen and comment on them for everyone to read, share, or debate. The Church has sometimes lagged in this area, but has made great efforts to catch up. Pope Francis has further encouraged this advancement in our call to accompany each other on our journey of faith.
With this new power comes the potential for great good as well as evil. Many people have been reunited due to social websites while others have been stalked. Long lost relatives and friends have rekindled relationships and healed deep wounds while others have further promoted deception through misunderstanding and misinformation. The speed and access of social media is possibly the greatest sociological force since the creation of the Internet itself. The Church applauds these advancements in technology while also offering caution. Pope Francis noted in his Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium):
We are living in an information-driven society which bombards us indiscriminately with data-all treated as being of equal importance-and which leads to remarkable superficiality in the area of moral discernment. In response, we need to provide an education which teaches critical thinking and encourages the development of mature moral values. (§64)
This is where St. Anne Catholic School, our Faith Formation ministries, and Youth & Young Adult Ministries play a vital role in our parish. Anything you can do to participate and/or support these ministries helps develop our faith and moral character. We all need to make use of and access the Internet in order to learn about our world. But we also need to do so to inform our consciences in the way of the Christian life. In order to have a mature understanding of the events of the world in light of the Gospel, we must also pair these means of education with a solid prayer life and openness to the Holy Spirit.
This weekend, we celebrate Pentecost, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Disciples, a gift to the Church to which we all have access. Spend this week pondering on the gifts that you have been given. Ponder on how you are being called to share the faith through these gifts, and ask the Holy Spirit to inspire you to go out and share God’s love and his Gospel to those whom you know and meet. Remember, we are not to shy away from the technologies before us, but to use them for the propagation of the faith. So, may the Holy Sprit enkindle in each of us a new fire to share the Gospel in our lives using whatever technologies are before us, not to be timid for fear of their misuse, but instead, making them vehicles of Good news, news that the world needs to hear.
Maranatha! Come Holy Spirit!
Fr. William Holtzinger