Asian Youth Day 2017

Joyful Asian Youth!

Sensibly, Not Simply Connected

We are living todays in a world with the Internet, gadgets, and social media which alternates the way we connect each other. Despite the fact that such information technologies create emerging conveniences, we experience new challenges in terms of conducting human relationships.

An increasingly deteriorating development of the Internet use, for instance, is currently reported by the 29 August 2016 issue of TIME magazine raising a vexed statement, “Why we’re losing the Internet to the culture of hate”.

Information technologies have created for us a digital world performing as a runaway public square, where the culture of hate and the acts of bullying can live together with encouragements and evocative discussions.

To this ambivalent characteristics of the new environment created by digital technology, Pope Francis on the 50th World Communications Day in 2016, stated clearly, “Social networks can facilitate relationships and promote the good of society, but they can also lead to further polarisation and division between individuals and groups.”

Elsewhere the Pope alerted, “It is not enough to be passersby on the digital highways, simply ‘connected’; connections need to grow into true encounters.”

Keeping in mind the digital life development and such inspiring Pope’s message, during this pre-event months of the 7th Asian Youth Day, we want to reflect our experiences in using information technologies for our communication and have a willingness to go further in deepening our encounters.

In a practical way, we are going to apply information technology platforms as more meaningful instruments, “gifts from God”, through which we can share among us the richness of our various experiences in making faith, hope, and love more alive within our multicultural Asian circumstances.

By such arrangement, we can learn each other various efforts of being contemporary Jesus’ disciples, the sound practices as well as the struggles, in seeing the condition of humanity within our particular contexts, speaking the opinions linked to existing problems, and starting the deeds to participate in restoring human family as “a network not of wires but of people”.

Within a network of compassionate and committed people who are living the Gospel and sharing their heartfelt stories of engagement, we can cultivate sensibility and tenderness of being those who seek first to understand rather than to be understood. We are aware of the fact that what determines people’s connections authentic is not technology but the human heart and our capability to be “neighbourly” in the new digitalised settings.

Pope Francis once asserted, “How can communication be at the service of an authentic culture of encounter? … I find an answer in the parable of the Good Samaritan, which is also a parable about communication. Those who communicate, in effect, become neighbours. The Good Samaritan not only draws nearer to the man he finds half dead on the side of the road; he takes responsibility for him. … It is not just about seeing the other as someone like myself, but of the ability to make myself like the other.”

The author of the parable of the Good Samaritan, Saint Luke, to whom we celebrate his feast in this month (18 October), wrote his works – the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles – to share the journey of reconciling the connections of the people with various conditions – the haves and the poor, the healthy and the sick, the marginalised to their community, etc. – so that all as one human family experiencing “the year of the Lord’s favour” (Luke 4:19; Isaiah 58:6).

Let’s follow Saint Luke in delivering the story of true encounters. As a new generation journeying through digital environments, we are moved by diverse human’s struggles todays and compelled to be more sensible in nourishing a network of human family. Send your writing or video about such doings to [email protected]