Gem of thoughtsIn his message for the 48th World Communications Day which coincided with Ascension Sunday on June 1, Pope Francis enunciated, “Today we are living in a world which is growing ever “smaller” and where, as a result, it would seem to be easier for all of us to be neighbours. xxx Good communication helps us to grow closer, to know one another better, and ultimately, to grow in unity. The walls which divide us can be broken down only if we are prepared to listen and learn from one another.”
He further conveyed, “We need to resolve our differences through forms of dialogue which help us grow in understanding and mutual respect. A culture of encounter demands that we be ready not only to give, but also to receive. Media can help us greatly in this, especially nowadays, when the networks of human communication have made unprecedented advances. The internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity. This is something truly good, a gift from God.”
Confusion, division and indifference continually envelope the society. It is ironic that while the world becomes virtually smaller and reaching the other side of the earth is nomore hard to come by, the distance caused by apathy and prejudice among peoples is gaping. In this digital age and with the advent of social media in a network called cyberwires and the real time communications technology, even the farthest end of the planet becomes easily reachable. Understanding could have easily been achieved and cooperation ensued. But why is this not so?
Is it because the communication, in spite of easy access to the internet when available, lacks the heart to achieve this noble end? That people would just consider the internet link as simply an interconnection of lines called the world wide web where anything scoots across without regard to the other people’s needs? Pope Francis capsulzed this drift in his message of “neighbourliness,” people communicating like the caring neighbour in the Biblical parable of the Good Samaritan.
Pope Francis stated, “How can we be “neighbourly” in our use of the communications media and in the new environment created by digital technology? I find an answer in the parable of the Good Samaritan, which is also a parable about communication. Those who communicate, in effect, become neighbours. The Good Samaritan not only draws nearer to the man he finds half dead on the side of the road; he takes responsibility for him.”
He exhorted, “Jesus shifts our understanding: it is not just about seeing the other as someone like myself, but of the ability to make myself like the other. Communication is really about realizing that we are all human beings, children of God. I like seeing this power of communication as “neighbourliness”. (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros)