“Put out into the deep”

In today’s Gospel from Mark 4 we hear:

On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea. A very large crowd gathered around him so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down. And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land. And he taught them at length in parables, …

Wherever the Lord went, there were heavy crowds pressing in on him. Imagine the moving sphere of chaos surrounding the Lord as people with illnesses or loved ones with afflictions called to Him, tried to touch him. His disciples no doubt did their best to clear the way and protect Him physically.

Here they are now along the sea shore. The Lord gets into a boat. They let Him out a little way on a line. Many more can now see Him and hear what He has to say.

This is a model for "online" instruction, how to use the modern means of communication.

We must do what ever we can at all levels of the Church to make the best use possible of the means of communication. The Lord preached from heights so that He could be heard, as when He preached on the Mount. He enjoined His disciples to preach from roof tops. He preached from His Cross and on the height before His Ascension.

The late Holy Father, in a 2002 letter wrote about the internet:


For the Church the new world of cyberspace is a summons to the great adventure of using its potential to proclaim the Gospel message. This challenge is at the heart of what it means at the beginning of the millennium to follow the Lord’s command to "put out into the deep": Duc in altum! (Lk 5:4).

In all the ages of the Church’s Christ-given mission to preach the Good News to all nations, Catholics have always made use of the very best means of social communication available. Jesus let Himself be set out from shore in a boat so that more people could hear Him. The Apostles wrote letters which were read aloud and recopied. When Constantine let the bishops use the imperial postal system, they so over-taxed it that it nearly collapsed. When we learned how to make thin and soaring walls of stone, stained-glass taught the literate and unlettered alike the mysteries of the faith in glittering colors. We made powerful use of the printing press. We had the first radio station. There was a Catholic film industry and Servant of God Fulton Sheen dominated the broadcast TV waves. A simple woman religious built satellite network with a global footprint.

Now we have the internet.

We Catholics must not leave the Internet in the hands of those who would violate human dignity. Instead, we can use these new tools positively in order to make Christ known and loved. We must work with determination to fulfill Christ’s command to teach and to make Him known and loved.

I hail you internauts who have builts sites and pages, and you who read them and participate in them. We have created with the blogosphere a farflung yet tightly joined community sharing news and thoughts with the speed of a keystroke.

In linking solidarity.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Father: Very well said. I have found that most Catholic blogs are TRULY Catholic. These Catholic blogs saved me-literally.

  2. WRiley says:

    Thank you Father!

  3. Cornelius says:

    I have often wondered how Jesus’ voice weathered the strain of His teaching – he must have had to shout a good deal of the time to be heard, and one can’t do that for long. I teach a class and even after only 50 minutes of talking to a room full of people I start to get hoarse. If I had to shout I doubt I would last more than 20 minutes.

    I’ve also wondered how many people could have heard Him while he was preaching from that boat. Perhaps 10 to 15 deep into the crowd? Certainly no more. The unaided human voice doesn’t carry that far or, if extraordinary effort is put into it, the speaker cannot sustain it for long.

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