Recently, the Holy Father urged all Christians to embrace our call as evangelizers of the modern world. Evangelization today primarily involves combating the indifference of the world to the Gospel. The message of the Church, according to the Pope, “needs to be renewed today in order to convince modern persons, who are often distracted and insensitive.”
I think that description – “distracted and insensitive” – is very apt for modern man. Too many people are modern-day Esaus, who exchange their birthright as children of God for the mess of porridge that is modern entertainment, news and technology. And I think, as Catholics, we need to look and see if we too fall into that same distraction and insensitivity. A few questions we can ask ourselves:
- Do we go from place to place with our faces buried in our cell phones or other gadgets?
I have always been surprised by how often I’m able to engage people in public settings – airports, subway stations, etc. – but of course that would not be possible if I don’t even look at them! Today we receive a constant stream of information, but in doing so we can become distracted from the more important things of life.
- Do we spend time each day in quiet meditation and prayer?
I know first-hand how quickly modern technology can ensnare you. The gadget that is purchased to make life easier becomes the chain around your neck. We must not allow the allure of technology to keep us from spending quiet time with the Lord – and with other people.
- Are we insensitive to the troubles of others?
We live in a self-centered world, and every message of modern culture cries out, “I gotta look out after me!” But the essence of Trinitarian love is self-gift, in which we pour ourselves out to others. Do we care about the plight of others, even those we don’t know well? My wife has been going to the same hair stylist for a few years, and over that time she has engaged him in many conversations. Recently his son tragically died, and my wife had a Mass offered for the son and sent her stylist a card. He was very touched by the gesture. Would this had happened if my wife had simply ignored her stylist?
Before we can effectively spread the Gospel to others, we must live it in our own lives. Take some time today to ask yourself how you can become less distracted by the things of this world and more focused on the things of God.