In the world of USA shopping, there is a day called “Black Friday”. It is the day after Thanksgiving in which many sellers lower prices and offer special deals as a way of introducing the Christmas shopping season with a little “holiday cheer”.
This video is an amateur recording of what happened at a Wal-Mart in Moultrie, Georgia on “Black Friday” a few years ago. And no, it isn’t recording a post-apocalypse where people are fighting for the last few scraps of food after weeks of famine. Rather, they are people that are fighting, insulting one another, and even biting to get a Smartphone with a discount and a prepaid plan of unlimited use.
The video reveals how much priority is being given to material things and the (anti) culture of consumerism over other values, including those of the person. If we are willing to run each other over, momentarily renouncing our humanity, so as to talk longer, paying only 6 cents a minute, than something is wrong.
The video invites us to make a sad calculation. If we are willing to act like animals for a 20-dollar discount on a Smartphone, how much more so when greater interests are at stake? What will we do in other situations: a salesman tempted with ripping off a customer, a judge being offered a bribe, a parent considering an abortion as a prudent economic choice, etc. I ask myself, “What is the moral structure that is supposed to contain and rectify the spirit of unrestrained individualism and hedonism that we have been feeding the last years?” Do we trust that “freedom” (individualistic) and “tolerance” (political correctness) will serve as dams for the situation? If not, then what?
The video is also a sad wake-up call for us all. No matter how Catholic we might consider our environment to be, it is by no means impervious to the ideas that form and spread the anti-values and errors of a consumerist society. The influence that these factors exercise over us can only be overcome by a dedicated effort to know and deeply encounter the Lord Jesus. Christmas, when we remember the moment that God became man and revealed himself in a small manger, is the precise time to reorganize our hearts and our priorities.
Looking at the meager and difficult conditions surrounding the Lord’s birth, we must ask ourselves: What’s most important in my life? What priority and meaning do humility and love have for me? What things or people do I place in the center of it all? How much am I affected by the anti-values of the consumerist society that surrounds us?
In conclusion, the key to curing the decentered heart of “Black Friday” is by encountering the heart of the poor child who came to show us the richness of his infinite love.
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