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Pastor’s Pen – Mike Steltenkamp, S.J.
This virus period has prevented us from going about our normal routine. We have not attended concerts, plays, athletic events, or theaters. We have not gone to restaurants or gone shopping, or attended church, or visited vacation spots. Instead we have had to be creative with our time. So how have we used it?
We have “gone without” many of the creature comforts that were part of our daily routine. In thinking of what you USED TO do or USED TO eat or how you USED TO play or spend your time, have you decided that there are some things you simply do not need anymore?
A thought came to mind when visiting a restaurant to get someone a treat for their birthday. Restaurant personnel said that they were doing a lot of business. All sorts of people received their $1200 check and, not surprisingly, they right away came to spend their windfall.
This is an example of how culture programs us and, if not careful, we imprison ourselves. We are acquisitive. We WANT. We buy. And we are broke when the tough times come! Meanwhile, needs exist everywhere.
In what sociologists call a “consumer society,” we are programmed to buy, get, make a down payment on–one or another item that presents itself to us on billboards everywhere, on tv ads all the time, and in pop-ups constantly on the Internet. And when it’s not these venues telling us we NEED to get some item or other, it’s our cell-phone ringing and pleading with us to “save” money by SPENDING it on what some company wants to sell us.
No wonder we hear that most American families have very little to “hold them over” during a period of no income. They have SPENT whatever they earned on acquiring, consuming, buying the many creature comforts that Madison Avenue seduces us into acquiring.