"We gather in faith..."
Teaching and commentary from our pastor, Bishop Francis J. Christian
ReflectionsWhat do bottled water, home computers and cell phones
have in common? The answer is that none of them were
widely used even a generation ago. In a recent column is
Everyday Catholic, Jim and Susan Vogt reflect on how
such items which most of us take for granted today, are a
mixed blessing. They make life easier, but at a cost. For
example, cell phones are a wonderful safety device when
the car breaks down. They do help family members keep
in touch and can save extra trips to the stores. But they
often become a poor substitute for face to face
conversation to say nothing of how disturbing they can be
to bystanders or of the automobile accidents they cause.
The point is that we need to use modern technology
wisely and not just buy the latest devise because we can.
During Lent we need to reflect on what it means to be a
Christian consumer. As the Vogts state, Jesus isn’t posted
at the checkout lane prompting us on the morality of our
purchases. Yet He does speak to us about these matters, at
least indirectly, in the scriptures. “Take care to guard
against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life
does not consist of possessions”. (Luke 12:15) Or again,
there is that disturbing passage “If you wish to be perfect,
go, sell what you have and give to the poor” (Matthew
19:21). The Vogts offer some interesting comments on
these instructions of the Lord.
For example they ask whether we should “travel light
through life.” Do we need to free ourselves of
unnecessary possessions? How many rooms have to have
televisions? How many computers are enough?
And they question if we do enough to resist advertising.
Just because we can afford something, do we need it?
Marketing tries to persuade us that we will be happier if
we have the latest thing? Is that true?
The bottom line is that we have to get beyond thinking
that our personal value or happiness depends on what we
have and consume. As the Vogts conclude, “When Jesus
promised himself as “living water” (John 7:38), we don’t
think he had bottled water in mind!”