Sunday, April 22, 2012

Witnessing to the Twitter Generation

“You are witnesses of these things.”  (Luke 24:48)

Could you imagine if the apostles had Twitter?  Maybe their tweets would have gone something like this on Easter morning:

@Simon_Peter – He’s Alive!  I didn’t believe Mary M.’s witness but he just appeared to us!  He is risen! #Halleluiah!

@Thomas_Didymus – The boys just told me they saw Jesus when I went out for milk.  Doubt it!  #NeedProof

@Cleopas_Emmaus – Just saw Jesus while having dinner.  Running to Jerusalem to tell the brothers!  #BurningHeart

@TheBelovedDisciple – I just simply saw the empty burial cloths and believed.  #He’sAlive!

Yep, word definitely would have spread pretty quickly.  Jesus told them at the end of today’s gospel that they were witnesses of everything that had just happened, and it occurs to me that a witness does two things (as confirmed by the children this morning at Mass):  the witness sees what happens and the witness tells what happens.  That’s what we are called to do as Christians:  announce to the world the Good News of the Risen Christ and it so easy to do in the 21st century.  For example, many of you are reading this homily from a link posted on Twitter or Facebook. Everything that happens in 2012 is seen, recorded, and announced instantly.  We used to have to wait for the evening news or the morning paper to find out what was happening in the world.  With the dawn of the Internet, we had to wait for reporters to write a story then post it to a webpage or a blog.  Now with Twitter and Facebook, we find out about things seconds after they happen.  Anytime you go to a big event like a wedding or a sporting event or a concert, all you see in the audience is people with their cameras phones taking pictures that are instantly posted to Facebook or Twitter or now Instagram.  When I was in Rome two summers ago, I was taking pictures of the Holy Father that appeared on friends’ Facebook feeds as they woke up.  We have all these mediums at our disposal to share a powerful message, but more often than not, we use them to tear down, destroy, or publish to the world the “we don’t need to know” details of our lives or of the lives of others.

The Christian witness is to supposed to see and proclaim.  When we witness something exciting or life changing, we share the news immediately. Last week, mere minutes after one of my cousins had a baby, the picture was texted to every phone in the family to share the arrival of a new family member.  Imagine what an entire Christian community could do with the power of Facebook or Twitter to proclaim the Good News.  On Easter Sunday, none of the top ten trending topics (aside from Happy Easter) had to do with the Resurrection.  Just as the Internet can be the root of so much evil, it could also be used to do so much good.  We are Christ’s witnesses.  We are charged with the task of sharing the Good News using all the tools of communication at our disposal.  So I’ll start:  #HeIsRisen!  #Witness!