Now I have to say, I like a bargain as much as the next person. I do a lot of the shopping for my community, and sometmes, if I get an expecially good price for things, I have to hold it up for the community to admire while I tell them the whole story. And sometimes, yes, I do a little victory dance. But with our lifestyle, Black Friday is completely meaningless (not to say useless!) to us.
One of the first things I notieced in Pope Francis' new document was his diagnosis of the "desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart"--a frutt, he indicates, of consumerism. It struck me that there is something about the frenzied aspects of Black Friday that make it, in a way, the poor man's version of King for a Day. Maybe on a day to day level, people can't imagine making any of those big purchaees, but on Black Friday, everything is in reach. Black Friday says you can keep putting your trust in getting, gaining, owning.
Tomorrow evening we begin Advent. (Here in New York for the beginning of our concert season, we singers say we are in our "Advent community.") Pope Francis has basically assiogned all of us our spiritual reading for the season--something guaranteed to challenge every Catholic in some way. But that's the great call of Advent! "Repent" is meant for all of us. And it can begin (why not?) on Black Friday.