SERVING WITH THE ANGELS SAINT PAUL'S "GREAT OPPORTUNITY" AND OURS
St.Paul gives us so many leads as to how we should act. But not all of them are expressed. We can follow his example with profit: he wrote that he was going to Ephesus because there was a great opportunity for him there.
Here we learn that in spreading the Gospel, the Church needs to be alert to what is happening in the world, and to use its capabilities to adapt to circumstances. St. Paul's opportunity was the biennial Festival of the goddess Diana which we are told increased the population of Ephesus from 300,000 to 2,000,000. What an opportunity to reach vast numbers of people - pilgrims who had to be housed in tents. And who followed the trade of tent-maker? Why, none other than St.Paul - the very man the pilgrims would need, had more for them than they imagined!
To-day there is a massive opportunity for the Church on the Internet. The gathering of people on the Internet - especially the young - is in the tens, perhaps hundreds of millions per day, every day. Yet some Dioceses, for example have no website or a truly pathetic website. Others are truly impressive. But as yet we have no Australian Bishop with a Blog and very few Priests, whereas there are a number of Bishops and even Cardinals worldwide with such Blogs, and numerous highly active Priest Bloggers.
And not only Blogging, but also the use of Social Media such as FACEBOOK and TWITTER.
Now, some people, including perhaps Priests and Bishops will say: "Oh, I can't be bothered with all that computer nonsense, my role is to minister to real people." Some even pride themselves on their ignorance of the whole area of technology. They are ignoring the great opportunity. They would surely get chased out of their complacent attitude by the ever vigorous St. Paul.
Everything we know of this dynamic apostle makes it clear he did not have a "comfort zone". He went out to meet every opportunity - we, institutional Church, Bishops, Clergy and Lay Faithful must not do less.
This item is adapted from "Serving With the Angels"in FOUNDATION October 2007.