Focus the Mass homily on the challenging ideas around communication published in the Pope’s message. Some ideas might be to start the homily with your own personal use of communications technologies such as smartphones/tablet devices, internet/email or begin by describing how you use the digital highways to absorb the media, news, information and for the purpose of daily business. Your own personal story will resonate with parishioners.
It might be an idea to gradually move onto the topic of ‘encounters’ and ‘neighbourliness’, which Pope Francis refers to in his message for World Communications Day. Here are some quotes from the Pope’s text that you could refer to and reflect upon in the homily:
- The desire for digital connectivity can have the effect of isolating us from our neighbours, from those closest to us.
- Those who communicate, in effect, become neighbours.
- I like seeing this power of communication as “neighbourliness”.
- It is not enough to be a passersby on the digital highways, simply “connected”; connections need to grow into true encounters. We cannot live apart, closed in on ourselves. We need to love and to be loved. We need tenderness.
- Communication is a means of expressing the missionary vocation of the entire Church; today the social networks are one way to experience this call to discover the beauty of faith, the beauty of encountering Christ. In the area of communications too, we need a Church capable of bringing warmth and of stirring hearts.
Could you encourage parishioners to view one or two of the digital stories by referring to how the individual stories about encountering Christ in the everyday life can have the effect of ‘stirring hearts’?
Perhaps the homily might reflect upon the theme of World Communications Day: Communication at the Service of an Authentic Culture of Encounter. Challenge parishioners by emphasising the word ‘communication’. What is communication? How do we communicate with each other? Do we just talk or just listen or do both? ‘The walls which divide us can be broken down only if we are prepared to listen and learn from one another’ Pope Francis.
Homily ideas/notes – What does Pope Francis mean when he speaks about ‘an authentic culture of encounter’? Are we authentic in our communications with others? With Jesus? Where do we encounter Jesus in our lives? At Mass? In the chapel? In the park? In the home? How can we as Catholics communicate that encounter experience? ‘A culture of encounter demands that we be ready not only to give, but also to receive’ Pope Francis.