The Easter Season is drawing near its completion with the celebration of Pentecost just two weeks away (Sunday, June 4). Pentecost Sunday is typically dedicated as World Communication Day, thus linking it to the great commission of Jesus to the Apostles: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Good News.” (Mark 16:15).
There is no greater message to communicate than the Good News of Jesus Christ!
Every year, the Holy Father issues a message to mark the occasion of the World Day of Communication. Here is what Pope Francis said in this year’s Message:
I am convinced that we have to break the vicious circle of anxiety and stem the spiral of fear resulting from a constant focus on “bad news” (wars, terrorism, scandals and all sorts of human failure). This has nothing to do with spreading misinformation that would ignore the tragedy of human suffering, nor is it about a naive optimism blind to the scandal of evil. Rather, I propose that all of us work at overcoming that feeling of growing discontent and resignation that can at times generate apathy, fear or the idea that evil has no limits. Moreover, in a communications industry which thinks that good news does not sell, and where the tragedy of human suffering and the mystery of evil easily turn into entertainment, there is always the temptation that our consciences can be dulled or slip into pessimism.
I would like, then, to contribute to the search for an open and creative style of communication that never seeks to glamourize evil but instead to concentrate on solutions and to inspire a positive and responsible approach on the part of its recipients. I ask everyone to offer the people of our time storylines that are at heart “good news”.
We all know what the Holy Father is talking about. People seem to be all too aware of the bad news that surrounds us, while at the same time growing less capable of recognizing and telling the stories of the many good people silently present and at work around us. The CBS Evening News generally closes their Friday evening news coverage with its On The Road series by Steve Hartman, who always has a positive human interest story to tell, which quite often moves one to tears, laughter, joy. We need more of that in our daily diet.
More specifically, we are all called to be more open to the Holy Spirit, who continues to write the story of God’s love in each of our hearts.
Every Easter Season, bishops are regularly celebrating the Sacrament of Confirmation. This weekend, I was moved during the moment in the rite of Confirmation where the bishop invites all those present to pray with him over those who are about to be Confirmed:
Let us pray to our Father that he will pour out the Holy Spirit to strengthen his sons and
daughters with his gifts and anoint them to be more like Christ the Son of God.
This brief prayer captures two important realities: our truest identity is that we are sons and daughters of God, and our life’s greatest accomplishment is to become more like Christ, the Son of God.
Today’s Gospel from St. John reminds us how the Holy Spirit works in our life.
When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning. (John 15:26-27)
Once again, there is no greater message to be communicated than Jesus Christ! He is the Message, because He is The Good News. The Holy Spirit comes to heighten our awareness that we are sons and daughters of God, redeemed by Jesus Christ, anointed to become more like Christ. We need only pray for a greater openness and docility to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
I will simply close this entry with the closing words of Pope Francis from this year’s Message for World Communication Day:
Those who, in faith, entrust themselves to the guidance of the Holy Spirit come to realize how God is present and at work in every moment of our lives and history, patiently bringing to pass a history of salvation. Hope is the thread with which this sacred history is woven, and its weaver is none other than the Holy Spirit, the Comforter. Hope is the humblest of virtues, for it remains hidden in the recesses of life; yet it is like the yeast that leavens all the dough. We nurture it by reading ever anew the Gospel, “reprinted” in so many editions in the lives of the saints who became icons of God’s love in this world. Today too, the Spirit continues to sow in us a desire for the Kingdom, thanks to all those who, drawing inspiration from the Good News amid the dramatic events of our time, shine like beacons in the darkness of this world, shedding light along the way and opening ever new paths of confidence and hope.