High school grads get some advice for building up social network for ‘kingdom of God on this earth’

Bishop Robert N. Lynch of St. Petersburg, Fla., with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican in May. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano)

So just what kind of social network did the fishermen who followed Christ have? Bishop Robert N. Lynch of St. Petersburg, Fla., posed that question in the homily he delivered May 28 at the 2012 baccalaureate Mass for the graduating seniors of Jesuit High School in Tampa, Fla.  The next day he put the homily in a  blog posting titled “Tweet, Tweet.”

In a commentary leading into the text of his homily, he writes that he understands full well how young people, like the graduates he addressed, are all about social networking and how they have learned the art of  creating 140-character tweets for Twitter. Social media is here to stay, he acknowledges, but he also wonders how much meaning can one impart in such a message.

“Communicating and living the full message of our Christian life requires far more than tweeting and texting,” he writes. “To focus on one or the other to the exclusion of developing those conversational skills necessary to fully convey and proclaim one’s faith in Christ Jesus requires far more.” He says that in his homily, “I try to make the case for expanding beyond the social media while still acknowledging that even the church can use it.”

The disciples “did not have Facebook or Twitter. They could not spread the good news of Christ’s resurrection and ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit by posting a video to YouTube. They could, however, let it shine through their lives and their speaking, and this is precisely what they did,” he told the graduates.

“You have been nourished in faith, given a magnificent education in the arts and sciences, and formed in the tradition of St. Ignatius Loyola to do all things for the greater glory of God and be truly men for others,” he continued. “As you go forth … I pray you will communicate far more through your actions than simply 140 characters in a tweet. That is how you will build up a social network for the kingdom of God on this earth.”

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