Year of Faith
Jesus Christ and the Digital Culture
Jesus said to Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will ever die. Do you believe this?" She said to him, "Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world." (John 11:25-27)
More than anything else, I am utterly convinced that the primary purpose of the Year of Faith and the new evangelization is the proclamation of the Good News that Jesus Christ is Lord and that in Him and through Him each and every person is offered the possibility of salvation. Whatever we do in preparation for and carrying out both the Year of Faith and the new evangelization, this truth must be our primary focus. We can talk about the Church, we can talk about the Catechism. We can talk about the Liturgy, and the Sacraments, the Holy Father, the Rosary, the Saints, and all those other truths that are so much a part of our Catholic life, but faith in these must first be predicated on the individual's faith in the person of Jesus Christ.
"I pray not only for them, but for also those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world might believe that you sent me." (John 17:20-21)
I have been blessed in coming to know the Lord Jesus. I have heard the Good News in so many ways and from so many people. I fully believe that the paschal mystery—Christ's life, death, and resurrection—is not meant for a few but for all. I also believe that anyone who has read the Scriptures, especially the gospels, cannot escape the fact that Jesus did not come to call us into isolation in a kind of one-to-one relationship with Him, but that He called us into communion with Him and with each other and that this communion finds its fullest validation in the Church which He Himself founded as the means of continuing His presence in the world.
"Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20)
So, why do I use the new digital media in the way that I do? I use it as a means of spreading the "Good News," to make disciples and to teach disciples. I see my use of tweeting, texting, posting, blogging, and podcasting as a way of talking about Jesus Christ about His love for each and everyone of us and how He has called us to communion with Him and with each other. This is evangelization in its purest form—to "go out" and testify, witness, and speak the truth.
"What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops." (Matthew 10:27)
There are times when what I do in the digital media is not specifically "religious," times when I use humor, poetry, music, art, irreverence, banter, etc., as part of my presence within the digital world. I do this as a means to an end. I am trying to serve as a "bridge" between God and the human person. I want my message to be "attractive" both in the sense of being "pleasing" to others as well as "attracting" or "enticing" others to "follow" me. I want people to hear the incredibly important, life-altering message of Jesus Christ and His Church.
In order to "speak in the light" and "proclaim on the housetops," I need to go where the proclamation will be heard. Today, the digital culture is one of those places. I desire to both evangelize through and evangelize the new media digital itself. Right now, there is too much "darkness" in the new media and not enough light. By bringing the name and person of Jesus Christ to the new digital media, by proclaiming the Good News, and by being a presence of Christ and His Church in the new media, I hope to bring others to either know Him for the first time or to know Him more deeply in His Church.
Does it take a lot time and energy? Yes. Do I have to be careful about what I say and how I say it? Yes. Do I sometimes make mistakes or take things too far or offend and upset some people? Yes. Does this mean I will stop doing what I do? No, for all of us are called to . . .
. . . proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching. (2 Timothy 4:2)
Read more from the Patheos Year of Faith series here.