Having just given "thanks" for blessings and abundance and getting ready to enter a time of preparation for the Christmas celebrations, we enter into a "Black Friday" - called that by business because of their hopes of beginning the shopping season in the black but called that by most because of the hysteria and reckless consumerism that affects society. It becomes "shopping madness days". People are pushy, angry, cruel and even obnoxious. They form long lines, are impatient, and fight to get the "best buys". The world will end if they don't get this item or that toy. They often have little respect for other shoppers, the employees or even the merchandise. My sister works in retail (the Bon Ton department store in Uniontown) and must work unbelievable hours fighting the maddening crowds for a wage that is not worth it (my comment - if the boss is reading). She works a full shift Monday Tuesday and late on Wednesday, but is given a break by not coming in until Midnight on Thanksgiving Day (they open at 7pm). But then she works straight from Midnight until 1 pm on Friday afternoon, thirteen hours straight.
In "The Joy of the Gospel" Pope Francis in the beginning of the Exhortation has this to say about our consumerism society:
"The great danger in today's world, pervaded as it is by consumerism,
is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart,
the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience.
Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns,
there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor.
God's voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt,
and the desire to do good fades. This is a very real danger for believers too.
Many fall prey to it, and end up resentful, angry and listless.
That is no way to live a dignified and fulfilled life;
it is not God's will for us, nor is it the life in the Spirit
which has its source in the heart of the risen Christ."
Remember two days ago the warning given by the "handwriting on the wall". I thank God for the prophetic word of Pope Francis, even though it will probably go unheeded by most. After all, they are too busy shopping and obsessing about what they need (we have a few less shopping days till Christmas this year) to see what they truly need. Will we hear God's voice? Will we experience the quiet joy of his love? Will our desire to do good remain? We will have to wait and see ... but can we afford to do that?