Many follow news bulletins on various tv and radio stations. Others flock to news blogs to have access to the latest current events. It is the technological age we are living in where reality is instantly displayed online.
As the 2002 document issued by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Ethics in Internet, rightly emphasizes, “honest journalism is essential to the common good of nations and the international community” (no. 13). Moreover, the same document comments that internet journalism “contributes to sensationalism and rumor-mongering, to a merging of news, advertising, and entertainment, and to an apparent decline in serious reporting and commentary” (no.13).
Pope Francis did not mince his words when, in this year’s message for the World Day of Social Communications, he spoke about the fact that the social web can, in fact, act against community and prevent it from creating fruitful communion among its users.
If certain people are somehow becoming dissatisfied or perhaps discouraged by the negativity they constantly get from the news bulletins they routinely follow, is there a need to widen their perspective by resorting to other kinds of news, without neglecting the down-to-earth ones they are already getting?
As strange as it sounds, reality is much more that we actually see or hear. In fact, the invisible world is much more real than the visible world we are living in. Some find it difficult to believe in an invisible God. How can it be possible that He exists if we cannot see him? On this matter, I find Bishop Robert Barron’s comment very inspiring. When commenting on the Forum entitled All that is visible and invisible, he writes:
Another argument which powerfully presents the reality of the invisible world is what we feel and experience in our hearts and consciences. We feel it but cannot see it. Speaking within the context of the yearly examination of conscience on December 31 2014, Pope Francis said that the Church “teaches us to end the year and also our days with an examination of conscience, through which we review what has happened: We thank the Lord for every good we have received and have been able to do and, at the same time, we think again of our failings and our sins — to be grateful and to ask for forgiveness.” Again, feeling thankful to the Lord for our strengths and repenting from our sinful ways is invisible.
Now having established this fact, we can easily see how the invisible reality is the leading catalyst for our visible reality. In order to improve and heal our shattered reality we need to go back to “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb 11:1). This practically means that we need to step into the state wherein grace and not sin has the decisive supremacy. Mercy not revenge is the rule of the ever eternal present.
Mercy is enfleshed in the person of Jesus Christ, in what He is and does. Jesus preaches good news to the poor, proclaims release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, sets at liberty those who are oppressed, proclaims the acceptable year of the Lord (see Luke 4:18-19).
The Heavenly News has subsequent stories such as this: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.’” (Luke 15:4-7). Its headline is: There is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:10).
In his 2018 World Communications Day message Pope Francis translated this powerful gospel message in the following way:
May God’s joy keep healing and transforming earthly journalism into an instrument of hope, peace and fraternity for humanity, thus foreshadowing God’s Kingdom!