One of my greatest joys since beginning this road as the Catechist Scientist has been getting to go into schools and churches and speaking to different people about how important it is to teach science and faith together, how they are not at odds.
Unfortunately, with the pandemic, I haven’t been able to do that since February 2020. Now, it’s not in person, but next week I get an opportunity to speak on this topic once again! I will be a part of a Facebook Live event with Katie Prejean-McGrady, put on by the Ave Maria Explores Series. We will be speaking for just under an hour about how ministers, teachers, and parents can reach out to young people better, how we can stop them from making the leap that science and faith can’t go together.
I do miss in person events, but what a blessing it is to live in a time where I can talk with someone a state away and have people from all over the world watch/listen to our talk. It is amazing how the internet connects us.
Each of you are reading this on your own personal device: computer/laptop/phone. Yet all of us are connected by fiber optic cables that traverse the entire globe.
Even for those of us who use wifi, our routers are connected to the wired network. Those using cell data, the closest cell tower is connected to these fiber optic cables. A person at home in Louisiana can share data over the internet with someone on their cell phone in Montana, all via these cables!
All of the information on the internet is broken up into groups of 1’s and 0’s and sent along these cables to every corner of the world. That’s one of the most amazing things about the internet, that it connects EVERY CORNER of the world. The “world wide web” was created in 1989, but after a year only 0.5% of the world was connected. By the year 2000 almost half of the U.S. was accessing information through the internet. As of 2019, a little over half of the WORLD population has access to the internet, and that number grows closer to 90% when looking at the population in developed countries.
This increase in access to the internet allows us to conduct trade more easily with people in other countries. It lets us more quickly know about current events happening in other countries. And most importantly, it allows us to communicate and connect with people all over the globe that we might not have ever met otherwise. The Church has a similar type connection. The body of Christ mystically binds us all to one another, no matter where we are in the world OR in time!
This past Sunday, the gospel reading was John 15:1-8. This reading speaks of Jesus being the true vine and each of us being the branches. It is often emphasized how this teaching tells us that all of us are connected to Jesus, but an often overlooked point is that through that one true vine we are inexplicably linked to one another as well. Think about it.
Even though we are all connected and all of our actions affect each other due to the mystical power of the Body of Christ, it is amazing how much more people are affected when there is that real person to person connection, when we are face to face with our brothers and sisters. We might have technology that reaches people all over the world, but having that individual personal connection makes such an impact on our lives. I truly miss these types of interactions. Even our God came in physical form because He knew how powerful they were.
I hope that we all take some time to pray for our brothers and sister branches on the true vine, that we reflect on how truly connected we are in this big world. But I also hope that we pray for and look after our brothers and sisters at home in our own parishes. Sit down with someone and catch up. Go to whatever in-person functions your church is able to offer right now and chat up someone you’ve never met before. Fully embrace the body of Christ in all of its ways, near and far. This is how we build up the Church.