Communicating the Gospel Revolution

I gave them your word and the world hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world (John 17:14).

Today we observe World Communications Day, because communication is important to the life of the Church.  In fact, we ARE in the business of communications: evangelization is the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ for the life of the Church and the salvation of the world.  If we did not share the gospel with the world we as a Church would not have survived these past two thousand years.

Of World Communications Day, the Holy Father writes:

The process of communication nowadays is largely fueled by questions in search of answers. … This constant flow of questions demonstrates the restlessness of human beings, ceaselessly searching for truths.  [We] cannot rest with a superficial … exchange of skeptical opinions and experiences of life.  

The Church sets the standard on life, faith, love, and morality.  This has been true since before the birth of Christ, since the prophets proclaimed the coming of the Lord.  Many men and women who felt called by God to preach the truth have paid the ultimate sacrifice with the gift of their lives to preach the gospel.  Even after their deaths, their voices continue to be heard and we celebrate their deaths in imitation of the Lord.  The Word is eternal and no different today than when God first spoke his commandment into the darkness and said: “Let there be light.”  

One morning recently at Mass I did something I have never done (and something I forbid members of my assembly to do): I used my IPhone to preach.  I am old-fashioned — I prefer reading the printed page to reading online — but I wanted to see for myself how my hand-held Univac could help me as a priest.  Be progressive and try something new.  I know a priest who uses his Apple IPad when he preaches and says he won’t go back to using homilies written on paper, which he finds clumsy and distracting.  A computer is better than the best memory so he feels he can preach better that way.  Do we recognize the potential of technology to share our faith?  Just imagine: the entire bible in the palm of your hand.  Or the Summa Theoligae, or the writings of John Paul the Great.  The entire Vatican Library — it took thousands of years to build — can be accessed in seconds.  Welcome to the Church of the third millennium.  But evangelization at its core hasn’t changed.   

In the first century Saint Paul wrote his letters on papyrus paper and ink made from olive oil.  Yet today his words continue to educate and inspire our faith.  We read them at Mass because they are based on the Word of God that — even as papyrus gave way to scrolls, and then the printing press, and the word processor  — remains forever because it comes from the mouth of God.  He is the first preacher. Jesus, who said: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

What seems innovative today will become like papyrus, or dot matrix printers, or dial-up Internet connections.  In the fifties, a computer filled entire rooms; now one can fit onto a wristwatch.   

Pope Benedict, even at age eighty-five, supports social media networks like Twitter and Facebook because he recognizes their potential as mediums of evangelization.  But technology can be a double-edged sword, has the power destroy even as it saves or informs.  No one can serve two masters, Jesus says, and so the twenty-first-century proclaimer of the Word — and evangelization is everybody’s job — must use technology to help change the world.

The hour is coming and is now here when Jesus will no longer speak to us in figures of speech but will tell us plainly what is the will of the Father.  He was put to death, in part, because he was deemed to be a revolutionary.  His prosecutors had no idea who or what they were dealing with.        

In a revolution, the first thing the revolutionaries do is to take control of the newspapers, the magazines, and the radio and television stations.  With the communications industry under their control, they can then proclaim their message and gain support for their cause.  

In the Church, if more people read their Bibles and shared the Word with the world by using the tools at our disposal, what a revolution we would have!  We must fight the good fight.  We have everything to gain.  We can’t lose a nanosecond.

Father Cordani was ordained to the priesthood in 2011. He holds an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and an MDiv from Pope Saint John XXIII National Seminary. He has written for Our Sunday Visitor, the National Catholic Register, and Columbia Magazine. Follow him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tucker.cordani and Twitter @tuckercordani