Annually and globally, the Sunday before Pentecost is observed as World Communications Day. This day presents the Church an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the communications media and focuses on how it can best use them to promote gospel values. The challenge our world is facing today, essentially is blamed on poor or ineffective communication, especially in a hostile world as ours. It appears also that the right messages are not communicated to the people based on what we see around us. Our world today is like a market place filled with all kind of noises, in which case, anyone chooses what he/ she wants to hear. Again, the inability of the leaders to speak the truth, even in the Church of God, so to speak, makes the observance of this day a worthwhile one, and for people to pause and ask questions. The message of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, on this day also is very profound, having charged the people of the world, especially the Church to be bold and also be ready to speak the truth, and work for the common good. The Holy Father in his message themed “Speaking with the heart, The truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) admonished that truth must be communicated at all times. “In order to communicate truth with charity, it is necessary to purify one’s heart. Only listening and speaking with pure hearts can we see beyond appearances and overcome the vague din which also in the field of information, does not help us discern in the complicated world in which we live. The call to speak with the heart radically, challenges the times in which we are living which are so inclined towards indifference and indignation, at times even on the basis of disinformation which falsifies and exploits the truth”. Communication, according to the Pope, must be done in a cordial manner.
”Those who read or listen to us are led to welcome our participation in the joys, fears, hopes and suffering of the women and men of our times. Those who speak in this way love the other because they care and protect their freedom without violating it. We can see this style in the mysterious wayfarer who dialogues with the disciples headed to Emmaus, after the tragedy that took place at Golgotha. The risen Jesus speaks to them with the heart, accompanying the journey of their suffering with respect, proposing himself lovingly and not imposing himself, opening their minds to understand the profound meaning of what had happened. Indeed, they can joyfully exclaim that their heart burned within them as he spoke to them on the road and explained the scripture to them” (Luke 24:32). The world is troubled today because both the leaders and the led are economical with the truth. The leaders, especially are not bothered anymore whether the message they are sending out to the people are the right messages, even when the feedback based on what they see is not encouraging. Those who dared to challenge the status quo or even ask questions often times, are seen as the enemy of the state and are hunted down. The importance of this global celebration can only be realised if these noises are meaningfully channelled, people listen more than they speak, and all manner of prejudices completely eliminated. There can never be effective communication between the people and the leaders when people’s right and freedom are denied.
A society where there is gross abuse of power, injustice, political thuggery, deprivation, corruption, hunger, killing, insecurity, absence of rule of law, inequality etc, certainly would continue to pay lip service to global celebrations of this nature because communication is a two-way thing. While we mark this day however, it is important therefore, for the leaders and those in authority at every level to understand that feedback is key in communication and that it loses its essence when it’s loaded with lies and deceits. The problems of the world would be half solved when those God has placed above us; both the political and spiritual leaders speak truth to powers at all times without compromise, fear or favour. The Church however is expected to rise to this occasion and to communicate with love and the fear of God, especially in today’s world that is threatened with vices, even in the house of God.