This Week's Newsletter

A Few Words from Fr Joe……………….

I read an article during the week about how technology has changed the Church. It’s not that the Church doctrines have changed, but rather the entire culture in which the Church exists has itself been deeply affected by technology. Maybe it is all the talk of Artificial Intelligence and the replacement of human work by technology that has given the context for this conversation. Or perhaps it’s just the fact that we all carry a smart phone, use a tablet, are hooked into the internet and the Web keeping us logged in, accumulating more and more minutes of screen time day by day.

I was imagining how this new culture might factor into a confession for example: “Bless me Father for I have sinned, I spent too much time online and neglected my family time. I was weak and bought far too much online in the Black Friday Sales. I strayed onto gambling sites and lost money that my family needed. I was tempted to entertain immodest thoughts by accessing inappropriate sites. I wrote spiteful comments and gossip on social media platforms. I ignored the plight of the hungry children and victims of war when I saw appeals for help, charity and aid. I blocked my friend and caused upset, for these and all my sins I am truly sorry”. We have this fantastic resource for information, learning, sharing and entertainment and still we struggle to control ourselves to use it wisely.

This same technology keeps us in touch with family, it helps us access the information that helps us grow, it stretches our imagination and gives us wonderful new horizons. But there is always one thing missing. A heartbeat, a touch, a smile, the simple things that human beings do which lead us into deep spiritual connections with others. A room full of people on their devices is a very different gathering from one where all are sitting round the altar, being moved spiritually by Word and Sacrament. The human connections which enthrall us when the Christian community gathers are absent in the virtual world.

So the quest is always for integration and balance. We want to accept and use well everything that technology offers, but we also need to hold fast to the human connections which ground our reality in love and move us to wonder and awe in the presence of God.

I was at supper with a lovely couple the other evening at their apartment. On the wall, in the middle of the room there was a large flat screen TV. The image was a fire, from YouTube, with flames flickering, but there was no sound, no heat and nothing actually burning, just the illusion of a fire. Lovely but not real. The technology is brilliant but I’d need the crackle and spark of an open fire to be really satisfied, wouldn’t you?

Dates for your Diary:

The 4th Sunday of Advent is December 24th. There will be a Vigil Mass on the 23rd and one morning Mass on the 24th at 10.00am in both Mount Merrion and Kilmacud. Clonskeagh will have its one Sunday Mass at 10.30am.  There will be no Mass at 11.30am as we prepare for Christmas Eve celebrations later in the day at the usual times.


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