At the end of this dreadful day of shopping so aptly named “Black Friday” I propose an image for the kingdom. As I reflect I realize I will sound like a man (Which I am). For it remains true that most men absolutely hate shopping (unless the shopping involves electronic devices or sports gear).

For most men the dreadful reality of shopping seems an image for the drudgery of this world, a world shouting to us like some huckster, demanding our attention, time and, most of all, our money. The hectic running about only to wait in line, the mad rush to acquire financed by the foolishness of debt, and none of it ultimately very satisfying.  Shopping, a little taste of hell.

This is all well depicted in the commercial below. And, silly though the commercial¬† is, it does to point to things that ultimately satisfy more: food, fellowship and fun. The men in the scene slip away from the mind-numbing tedium of shopping to a little “hush harbor” that celebrates life simpler pleasures: Good food, good friends, and a good fun.

I wonder if this isn’t an image for the Kingdom. One of the biblical images for the Kingdom from the Road to Emmaus is: walking, talking and dining. Jesus was quite famous for his table fellowship. He was often found dining and enjoying company, sometimes in questionable company! He several times used the image of a banquet to describe the Kingdom (e.g. Luke 14:15ff; Luke 22:29ff inter al).

And of course the Mass, our great foretaste of the Kingdom of heaven is set in the context of a sacred and sacrificial meal. In way, the Lord says to us each Sunday, “Come aside and rest awhile. Cease acquiring and enjoy what you have….The most important things in life aren’t things….come rest, eat, enjoy company, celebrate life’s simpler joys.”

Well I know you may think I draw far too much from this commercial. You may even consider me irreverent for seeing the Kingdom in a beer commercial. But bear with me my friends and have mercy. Black Friday is a pretty awful spectacle (especially for a typical man like me who so hates shopping). In fact, Black Friday is just awful enough to make a beer commercial seem like a step up closer to the Kingdom. Just sayin….

Now be of good cheer and realize that I write all this in something of a light-hearted manner. Do not debate me. Laugh with me, and jab back if you wish – light-heartedly of course.

25 Responses

  1. Maggie Goff says:

    That was wonderful!!! I’m not too keen on shopping myself.

  2. MaryS says:

    Tools. And drill bits! My late husband hated shopping with me, but I learned why when I went shopping with him. Just as I could gaze at pretty handbags and shoes and clothes… he could gaze at drill bits. For what seemed (to me) like hours. So we shopped separately, most of the time, and tolerated each other’s oddities – poking fun at them often – in order to maintain sanity, I guess. Just as I could never explain why handbags held so much fascination, he could never explain why drill bits did, either. But both of us were dreaming of how we could use those things we were staring at. After he passed away, I started to realize that we have this big house full of “stuff” – most of it useless. Instead of shopping, we’d have been far better off spending time together doing “nothing”… but enjoying each other’s company. Life is far too short to spend it shopping!

    Thank you, Monsignor, for this excellent post. Happy Cold Turkey Sandwich Weekend!

  3. Vijaya says:

    “Shopping — a little taste of hell.” LOL. My sentiments exactly. Except maybe for grocery shopping. We have to eat … and given we’ve departed from the self-sustaining way of life, we must shop.

    • Yes, hunter-gatherer sort of stuff.

      • Tim Kluge says:

        A good friend of mine (don’t know where he got it, though in my estimation it would make a fascinating Masters thesis in anthropology) compared the way men and women shop to our roles in prehistoric times. Men were the hunters: we know what we want, we go right for it, and we make the “kill” as fast as possible and drag it away. Women were the gatherers: they look around, forage a bit, peruse here, dig a little there, and after a LONG time, they end up with a basket full of stuff.

  4. Cathy says:

    Funny commercial. …The guy was even barbecuing in there!!! Ha!

  5. edracruz says:

    In heaven there is no beer…(singing). Can we bless the beer we are about to drink? Bless me and this my beer which am about to drink… Hehehe.

  6. Laura says:

    Awesome!! I love it! I used to be a shopper – quite a bit of a shopper – but at some point that “urge” just died. I wish it had died sooner, as I eventually realized, when I downsized by moving to a tiny house, how unnecessary all that “stuff” was, and how sad I didn’t have the money instead of the “stuff”!

    If I could do it all again… I would have saved money and just enjoyed my life more. But as my dear, departed mother used to say, “You can’t put an old head on a new body.”

    It is a great commercial, Father. Perhaps someone will see it and the light bulb will go off for them earlier than it did for me.

    Thank you for a wonderful essay.

  7. SWP says:

    I have always enjoyed shopping, and in particular when helping my wife choose outfits. I don’t understand who these men are that don’t look forward to time spent with their wives. Sound like pretty awful husbands to me…

    It has nothing to do with men or women. My mother hated shopping. My dad likes to shop for groceries. They both hated Christmas shopping, so we only went one day just before Christmas Eve (usually the 23rd).

    I enjoy ‘retail therapy’ – going out to find a little something that makes you feel stylish that I picked myself is a welcome change from getting hand-me-downs. It’s all in how you look at it. I’m also grateful for the hand-me-downs that allow me to only have to shop on occasion.

    I look at it as a challenge: here are all the sales racks and somewhere in here are outfits and we’re gonna find them if it takes all day. I have Stacy & Clint’s rulebook up in my head and I will rise to the occasion. It’s fun!

  8. Deacon John M. Bresnahan says:

    There is an very old very Catholic Irish religious song about saints serving beer to the apostles. I wish I could remember some of the lines to directly quote. Maybe someone knows the song I’m referring to.

  9. Jennifer says:

    Great commercial!
    I hate beer, but I hate shopping more.
    It is tedious and exhausting.
    Anything I need I can find sitting right here, at my laptop, with my Golden Retriever at my feet.
    Thanks for a like-minded perspective.

  10. TaillerHuws says:

    I can dig it. :-)

  11. CT says:

    I’m with Laura, my urge to shop kinda died after I gave it up for Lent one year and found out I didn’t really need to go shopping. To SWP, My husband used to go shopping with me. His back is bad enough now that it’s not really fun for him any more (maybe another reason I’ve given it up). But he used to get a kick out of finding things for me. I will say, however, that even during my shopping days I never went near a mall from Thanksgiving through New Years.

  12. Robertlifelongcatholic says:

    One thing that I never gave much thought about until we began attending mass at St Thomas Aquinas in Dallas after moving. The front of the altar has a fresco of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper. The apsostles nor would anyone else just sit on one side of the table, they would gather around it. It’s rather one dimensional for such an advanced artist.

  13. Gerry says:

    As a man, I’m also more into buying than shopping. I will, however, go shopping with my wife and daughters as a chance to spend time with them. And I guess I don’t mind grocery shopping. Gives me a chance to plan grilling menus for the weekend. Love to grill!

  14. Luis says:

    What I find disturbing about “Black Friday” is that is eating more of Thanksgiving Thursday. You cannot even digest properly your turkey dinner (forget about an after dinner drink) when you are dragged into the crowds that try beat everyone else to the store and all you beat is yourself.

  15. Missy Farber says:

    That’s because, in my view, it is a devotional piece. And room was left in the foreground for you. Of course irl the Apostles gathered around the Last Supper table. But God is generous; He wants you there too!

  16. Missy Farber says:

    This was a response to the last supper observation, sorry I do not know how to get it to be with that comment.

  17. Andrew J. Decker, III says:

    Monsignor Pope,

    Thanks for the levity. We need to laugh with each other about our shared human frailties!

    God bless you!

  18. Bernie says:

    LOL …. you need a vacation ;-)

    I’m on my way to Istanbul. Any suggestions?

  19. tim says:

    In a trendy part of Chicago proper, in a vertical shopping mall, is a tavern. Women can shop and ride glass elevators searching for almost anything known to man, and she’ll find her faithful husband waiting patiently and without complaint in that tavern. The harmony, accord and marital peace this brings must surely come from the Almighty.

  20. Mambee says:

    Did anyone notice the song in the background ? STRANGER IN PARADISE !! How appropriate !
    Black Friday is a good name for a day devoted to materialism and greed and lust …. Some people claim that they go to the malls in the early hours just to see “the weird people” … guess they mean the eople running around crazy looking for “bargains”, lusting after things to begin the Christmas season ??? And I personally know some people who do without sleep to be invoolved with this odd tradition this and yet will not go to church on Sunday because they want to “sleep-in” …. Huh ?

  21. Susan Fox says:

    Three men in a bar look down to the end of the bar and they look at each other in surprise. “That’s Jesus!
    Let’s buy him a beer – he’s been awfully good to us,” they decide and so they do.
    After drinking his beer, the Lord approaches and says, “No one ever buys me beer. Thanks, a lot. I mean it. I want to do something for you in return. He takes off one of the man’s glasses and throws them away. The man sees perfectly. He touches the withered hand of the second man and it is healed. Hr reaches for the cast on the third man’s leg and he backpedals rapidly. “Don’t touch me man – I’m on worker’s comp.”

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