Homily for June 8, 2014: Pentecost Sunday: Fr. Scott Bullock

Pentecost Sunday
June 8, 2014

Reading 1 Acts 2:1-11

Responsorial Psalm Ps 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34

R/ (cf. 30) Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.

Reading 2 1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13

Gospel Jn 20:19-23

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Do you have nomophobia?

If you own a cell phone, a smartphone or a tablet, you have probably experienced nomophobia to some degree. It is the fear of being without a mobile device. The root of the word comes from “no mobile,” and it’s a real disorder, affecting everyone from teens to senior citizens. As connection speeds become faster, hardware becomes sleeker and software becomes more useful, reliance on and fascination with mobile devices seem to increase.

Here are some statistics that examine the growth of mobile device use:

  • 87% American adults who own a cell phone (Source)
  • 84% Cell phone owners who could not go a single day without their device (Source)
  • 81% Growth of smartphone usage in 2012 (Source)
  • 45% American adults who own a smartphone (Source)
  • 44% Cell phone owners who have slept with their phone nearby because they didn’t want to miss a notification (Source)
  • 24% Cell phone owners who say the worst thing about their device is that they are always connected (Source)
  • 2013 The year when mobile-connected devices will exceed the world's population (Source)

What are we searching for?  From 1700 years ago, comes the truth:  St. Augustine:  Lord, you have made us for yourself; and our hearts are restless until they rest in thee.

What are we searching for?  From 2000 years ago, comes the truth:  Jesus:  Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink.

You see, this thing, the smart phone, is about thirst—it’s about being thirsty—it’s about trying to drink something that cannot sate and satisfy. Let me be clear—I’m not in principle against technology, in its place and in moderation. Just as I’m not in principle against alcohol, or food, or things—but we know that too much of any of them can destroy our lives. Let me simply suggest this:  each time we pick up these things, it’s a clue about us—we are thirsty.

For it’s how we were created, from our very infancy, thirsty—the baby searching for his or her mother’s breast, for nurturance, for comfort. Let’s be brave enough to ask, as we reach for the smartphone, computer, or tablet, or even TV remote control, “what am I thirsting for?”

Our faith has known the answer of the thirsty human heart from its very beginning:

Our thirsty hearts are restless—click, click, click—until they rest in our Creator.

“Let anyone who thirsts come to me.” Jesus

An incontrovertible truth:  if we go to Paris, we’re not in Rome.

If we go to Paris, we’re not in Rome. Sure, we’ll deceive ourselves—I can go to both—but this is not true. There is only so much time, and I am only one person. Maybe we feel we’re experts at multi-tasking, but when it comes to the depths of our thirsty human hearts, until we go to the one who alone can satisfy us, we will not be satisfied—period. If I’m searching in the “Paris” of smartphones, tablets, TV remotes, or in fact anything that is finite and in this world—however beautiful—I will still thirst, and need to go elsewhere—to “Rome”—to God.

So, when we pick up a device, let’s have the courage to ask:  what am I searching for?

Then, let’s go to the one who alone can satisfy:  “If anyone who thirsts, let him come to me.”

Let us come to him daily, silently (with all Paris pushed aside—for they can’t satisfy) and in prayer find the one who can satisfy.  Let us come weekly to him in the Eucharist—for when we thirst—and this is always—we need to come to him. And when we do—surprise—we discover that God is thirsting for us—so much so that He’ll come to us, just so he can satisfy the deepest longing of our human hearts. What are we searching for?  More importantly:  Who is searching for us?