There is absolutely no doubt that we are living in a time that could be called, a communications revolution. In 19th century when there was a huge leap forward in an industrial revolution, unthinkable things happened then. Unthinkable things are happening now. Now you can walk around carrying 30,000 songs on an ipod in your pocket. You can walk around with a mobile phone and call anyone at anytime, even house phones, which seemed so marvellous, have become obsolete. You can skype people and see people any place at any time on the planet. You can join fb and talk to the world and send a message in seconds to the world and receive messages. You can You Tube videos that will be seen the world over. Board games have gone out the window to be replaced by interactive games on screen. You don’t have to watch TV programmes at the time, you can watch them when you want. Books have been replaced by kindle. We sit in front of ipads. We have apps for everything, even meeting boyfriends and girlfriends!
Things have changed in a short space of time, and as we are still riding the wave there are still changes to come. You can only marvel at all, human ingenuity, that spark of the creative genius that has been placed within us. Even now there are people trying to do more: people are trying to work out how to have driverless cars, the day in which whole factories will be machine and computer operated is not far off.
This radical revolution has its drawbacks. It is said that because communication is so instantaneous, so immediate, so accessible, it creates a short attention span. The message has to be short, limited, the bare bones for us to understand it and take it in, before we move onto something else. It has to be dressed up to get our attention: saucy, humorous, tragic, shocking. It is said to that because we are receiving information in this form that we retain little, learn little, remember little.
When you come to Mass have you noticed how primitive it seems, basic and stripped back in comparison to the world outside. No flashing lights, no razzmatazz, no gadgets and gimmicks. We even indicate, horror of horrors, that you switch off your mobile phones, we cannot look at our phone! Children don’t play games on their Nintendo, horror of hours, how will they survive! There’s no You Tube here either. The most basic form of human communication are at play here, words, speaking, listening and watching are what takes place here. The most basic and grounded forms of human communication.
Its this way that God appeared among us. Its this way that God shows himself to us. In words that we can understand and comprehend. In stories told that are easily understood. In language which communicates to our human minds what is right and wrong. In words that we can pass on to other people.
In the Gospel today we get words. Words that tell us to love one another. To wait for further instructions from the Holy Spirit. In the first reading we get words, we hear of those who love others and teach others what they have known, they baptise them and give them the Holy Spirit.
It’s a strange thing when you get a human word in your brain. It conveys different things. Makes you do things, see things and understand things. It is the primitive way that we are human beings. But when the word of God comes into our mind different things happen, a seed is planted within us, things germinate and grow within us, grace is at work. We find ourselves talking, communicating, being in the presence of what is divine. He enters into our heart and into our mind.
The laws of communication are always the same and are quite basic: someone talking and someone listening, someone writing and someone reading, someone sending a message and someone picking up that message . To hear someone and to understand what someone is saying you have to be listening. A person can be speaking but if no-one is listening, what they are saying will not be heard.
God is always speaking to us. St John in his Gospel will even describe him as the word. The question is whether we are listening. You can dress things up, recognise that there are better ways to communicate things but if at the other end of the phone there is no one listening, it doesn’t work.
God is speaking are we listening?