In our reading of the gospels, we learn that Jesus engaged people individually and in large groups as he preached and taught his message. He walked the length and breadth of his homeland to be with them. We who follow Jesus accept his commission to take his message to the whole world (Matthew 28:18-20). Today that includes to cyberspace where many people are gathering. They go online for information, goods, services, entertainment, communication and engagement. Some are looking for answers to their questions about God, the Church, and faith.
A recap of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes story (Matthew 15: 32-38) reminds us that no matter how much things change, they always remain the same. The crowd was large and the people had been with Jesus for a few days. He did not want to send them home without giving them something to eat. The disciples said, “How could we ever get enough food for this crowd?” Jesus told the disciples to bring him what little food they had and have the people sit on the ground. He blessed the food, gave it to the disciples to distribute, and everyone had enough to eat with some left over.
We are in a similar situation with Internet ministry today. The people are on the Internet. According to Internetworldstats.com, there are 239,893,600 Internet users in the U.S. (as of June 2010). That represents a 77.3% penetration. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) wants to raise that to 90% by 2020. I can hear Jesus saying, “Let’s feed them.” And I can hear many ministers saying, “Where will we find the time, money, or resources to do it?”
We don’t lack resources. We just have to bring what we have to Jesus, accept his blessing and get started. When our faith communities, ministry formation programs, parishes, dioceses, organizations, and religious communities do that, we will be taking the Good News to the whole world.
What can or do you bring to Internet ministry? What can or does your Catholic community or organization bring to Internet ministry? Your observations, comments, and questions are most welcome.