"We gather in faith..."

Teaching and commentary from our pastor, Bishop Francis J. Christian


What 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!”