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Summary: If we are to evangelize modern culture, we must do so with a clear and effective understanding of modern media.

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Monday of 15th week in Course

July 12, 2010

You Will Be My Witnesses

The people of Israel were given the land of Palestine so that they, by the beauty and truth of their worship and living, would attract pagan society to the worship of the True God and the goodness of righteous living. Instead of that, they paid lip-service to the God who brought them out of Egypt, substituting multitudes of charred cows and sheep for the worship of their heart. And they picked up all the bad habits of the people they were supposed to convert–idol worship, adultery, infanticide, oppression of the poor and the migrant. Moreover, when prophets arose to steer them back to orthodoxy–true worship–they ran them out of town and often murdered them.

Archbishop Gomez prophetically tells us that our challenge today is the same. “We need to inspire our brothers and sisters to seek God’s kingdom and his justice, to build a new world where life is cherished and welcomed–from the child in the womb to the elderly and the handicapped, to the immigrant who comes to our land seeking a new life for his family.” (21)

But the evangelization of modern culture depends “to a great extent on the influence of the media,” as John Paul said. The Archbishop challenges lay people with expertise in media to study this and make the change happen. The print media is–I think unfortunately–in the midst of decline. Newspapers are dying right and left; books are becoming throwaway items, not treasures to be re-read. We are in the ascendency of what has been called “Web 2.0,” with IM’s and Twitter the media of choice–at least until next Tuesday. “This is a revolution in human communication that is already having implications in our political system. . .In terms of evangelization we need to understand that these new digital media have their own logic. . .values, and. . .psychology.” They are changing the operation of our relationships. Our teens know how to text, but are not learning how to talk. And, worse, they are utterly unable to develop an interior life, because they are always plugged in to other people, thinking in acronyms. All I can say to this is OMGHM: O my God, have mercy. “In a culture of so much media, do we risk becoming people who can no longer stand to be alone with our thoughts, a people with an almost compulsive need to be distracted or entertained?” At this point, between 20 and 50% of our people have already reached that point. It is vital for the Church to ask the critical questions and learn new ways to proclaim Christ “in a culture that is awash” in a sea of competing, often erroneous, messages about both the human and divine.


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