When the World Wide Web first went public, one of the admonitions to its users was: “Remember when you post something on the World Wide Web, it can be read by the whole wide world. It is one of the reasons why Twitter is the worst tool to use for religious messages.
A while ago, a priest used Twitter to tell women not to wear dresses to church that expose their shoulders. The backlash was so great that he closed his account and opened another one virtually anonymously. I used to work with a great Puerto Rican nun. I could imagine her saying to him: “Well then, Father, do not go to Puerto Rico.”
A Catholic evangelist using Twitter described the Obama daughters in relationship to their parents in the most scandalous of ways.
More well known is that a bishop tweeted that Catholics should not attend certain recent public events because they are against Catholic faith and morals. Likewise, the backlash was huge.
Jesus himself said not to communicate the Gospel that way.
Here is the reason why and we can see it in Chapter 10 of Luke’s Gospel.
Jesus sends out the 72 to preach his Gospel. First to whom is He sending the message? Sinners of all kinds. How do I know? Because that is the population to whom He spoke. If you did not consider yourself a sinner, then He would not waste His time with you. He sent the 72 out to sinners in the community. They cast out demons, that means they dealt with people who practiced different forms of idolatry and the occult against the first commandment.
They healed the sick who had no financial power to go to doctors or the doctors were unable to cure their diseases if they did have money. They converted sinners.
Notice what they did. They demonstrated the power of God not by striking people dead. They showed took actions, some miraculous, to lead people to understand God is a god of love and He cares about His people. They called them to repentance by inviting them to come to understand that God’s kingdom has come among us and this was the sign.
Notice Jesus’ method of preaching: first communicate God’s love for each person, God’s power over all that can oppress someone and God’s call to a new way of being. It is so powerful the 72 disciples celebrate that the demons are subject to them. Jesus teaches them none of that is as important as knowing their names are written in Heaven, that is greater than seeing the power of God.
No one can do fulfill this work of discipleship and evangelization by sending a simple message on Twitter or writing one paragraph in a bulletin.
Do you know that each one of us have the mission to testify to the Risen Christ and the anthropology that He teaches. Jesus teaches a whole different way of being than what the world teaches. He defines us and shows us we have a destiny in eternal life in Christ. He invites us to testify His way of being which we call holiness. He teaches us we are children of the one true God whom He called Abba. Jesus, His Son, came to rescue us from the imminent destruction our race ultimately creates on itself due to original sin. How do we teach this if we do not live the Gospel and lead others to know it equally?
Many people believe that God hates them because no one is telling them God loves them and is calling them to a whole new way of being. We need to teach people of God by introducing them to Him. Once they understanding His love, they can comprehend His invitation to turn from sin. What is sin? it is anything that separates us from knowing God, that is a long list.
Who is the worst of all sinners? If you asked St. Mother Teresa, she would say herself. Many of the saints would have done the same.
We have a mission and a mandate as members of the Catholic Church to do all we can for the salvation of souls. People cannot be saved by a God they believe hates them. Likewise, they cannot know God by He accepts them in their terms. Our role is to be witnesses for this God whose will it is that all are saved. Our role is to teach of Christ by helping others and ourselves to come to know Him and to be docile to His grace of love, holiness and conversion. We must be communicating with Christ in prayer daily.
In light of the Tweets mentioned earlier: The Church teaches that every Catholic is called to live a chaste life. Can you define chastity? Well, before you answer, the Catechism of the Catholic Church uses 14 paragraphs to define and describe chastity, that does not fit into a tweet. Go look it up.
The Catechism also teaches it is not possible to live the commandments if we are not people of prayer. Look that up.
You and I have a mandate to preach the Gospel. We first come before the Lord in humble worship and then live the Gospel in a way that even without saying a word we proclaim the message. What is do we communicate to others? God loves them and calls them to a new way of being in Christ. Further, left to our own devices we humans with the best of intention will make serious errors that undermine our ability and desire to create the world we want to live in. That is why we need a savior for we cannot create utopia on our own.
Jesus comes to us Himself in the Eucharist to nourish us so that we may have the grace to complete this monumental task. That is why the Church calls us to be of the right disposition to receive the Eucharist for it is powerful nourishment for a monumental task.
Even the demons are subjected to each one of you. Do all you can to communicate Christ’s message so that He will say to you: “Well done my good and faithful servant,” while showing you the part you played in the salvation of many souls. But don’t use Twitter and do not applaud priests and bishops who do.