Bring the Gospel to the new areopagi

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“I make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth” (Acts 13, 47).

We present a reflection of two Redemptorist novices Juan Luis Rivera Arellano and Jhonny William Vargas Vargas from the Province of Mexico and the Vice-Province of Caracas. As they remind the efforts of St. Paul Apostle and his creativity to bring the Good News to the centres of that ancient world, two Redemptorist novices reflect on the challenges and opportunities caused by the modern means of communications for contemporary Christians.

They encourage us to migrate to the “sixth continent” of digital media, which have become a reality for young people. Especially in the pandemic, they need to be adapted and used by the testimonies of the Redeemer. They are convinced: “The reality is adverse, but not impossible for those who love and are committed to extending the Kingdom of God to all the ends of humanity. (Acts 1:8)” As St. Paul became a passionate announcer of the God unknown to many, also we find ourselves before this “new areopagi” that are a scandal for many, amusement for others. Nonetheless, they open a space for kerygmatic proclamation through the new digital platforms, which connect us with thousands and millions of people in need of the God of love and mercy without measure.

They write:

Digital evangelisation is a challenge that involves time, creative audacity, but above all, the experience of God, especially the God of Jesus, who communicates mercy and abundant redemption. In this regard, Pope Francis tells us that The challenge is to rediscover, through the means of social communication as well as by personal contact, the beauty that is at the heart of our existence and journey, the beauty of faith and the beauty of the encounter with Christ.”[1] Therefore, the task we have in this new era is to create virtual circles of living faith, where we share a spirituality of the experience of Christ, who accompanies and who is in the midst of our wounded and thirsty people who long for love, empathy, peace, solidarity, inclusion, compassion and many other values that make the Kingdom of God present.

Based on the above, we wanted to give some small pastoral contributions, which help to a greater evangelisation in different aspects, such as the home, the religious community, work, studies and the sector where we live. 

Therefore, first of all, we must open ourselves to the possibilities that, from home, we can make short videos sharing experiences of what God has done in our lives. We can share it with so many people who are suffering.

In a second aspect, visualise the new technologies, applications and give them a Christian utility. There is a lot of bombardment of negative messages, and we are the ones who must give a boost to virtual evangelisation. Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, Kwai, among others, are some Apps that help with small capsules of evangelisation themes proposed by each one. Something interesting that can strengthen the propagation of the gospel is creating small podcasts, i.e. short audios with meaningful messages that strengthen Christian life and the word of God in our environment.

Mission and evangelisation is not only the task of priests, religious men and women; it is a personal task of every baptised person. „It is no longer merely a question of ‘using’ instruments of communication, but of living in a highly digitalized culture that has had a profound impact on ideas of time and space, on our self-understanding, our understanding of others and the world, and our ability to communicate, learn, be informed and enter into a relationship with others”. [2] This is not just grabbing a bag and going on a trip; today, we can travel the world with a unified vision of the technology of the sixth digital continent. Therefore, let us continue to participate in religious initiatives that we are offered in the virtual world and let us participate in many missionary projects from our homes.

Undoubtedly, the digital era has arrived; our world continues to take giant steps towards post-modernity; it is immersed in the so-called sixth continent. The questions would be: are we willing and open to the new mission that the Lord has entrusted to us? Are we ready to leave our comfort zone to announce the message innovatively and creatively? Do we really assume the mission of Christ and the Church in the face of the new realities? May the Holy Spirit and our Mother of Perpetual Help guide our evangelisation processes in this wounded world.

The full article in Spanish is available on the website: www.redentoristasdecolombia.com

[1] Address of the Holy Father Francis to the participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications (2013, September 21).

[2] Pope Francis, Postsynodal Apostolic Exhortation “Christus vivit”, 86.

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