In a world focused on consumerism, whom do you love?

August 16, 2017

Photo by James Ramos/Herald.

One of the catchy songs on the radio right now is Bruno Mars’ “That’s What I Like.” It is so popular that it has been on The Hot 100 Billboard Chart for 15 straight weeks. It is not an overly complex song, but Mars’ soulful voice just makes you want to get up and dance.

Here are some of the lyrics: “I’ll rent a beach house in Miami... Lobster tail for dinner... Cool jewelry shining so bright / Strawberry champagne on ice / Lucky for you, that’s what I like, that’s what I like (x2)... I’m talkin’ trips to Puerto Rico / Say the word and we go... I will never make a promise that I can’t keep / I promise that your email ain’t gon’ never leave…”.

It is a song about a man wanting to make his significant other happy, but there is a problem with the song. Despite the popularity of the song, the core message could never bring true joy to a person.
“That’s What I Like” is a song that has a hollow message because it is based on consumerism.

In 2015, Pope Francis spoke out against this type of ideology: “Today consumerism determines what is important. Consuming relationships, consuming friendships... Whatever the cost or consequence.

A consumption which does not favor bonding, a consumption which has little to do with human relationships... The result is a culture which discards everything that is no longer ‘useful’ or ‘satisfying’ for the tastes of the consumer.”

For Mars, the relationship he is singing about is founded on the taste of extravagant materials goods. Instead of satisfying our hunger with goods that will not last, the Pope calls us to a culture that favors human relationships above all.

A few months ago, my wife and I joyfully welcomed our new baby into a seemingly bleak world. It is very easy to turn on the news and see exactly what has occurred because we have placed other things in front of loving God and loving our neighbor. 

Instead of feeding into the hopelessness that is being conveyed in the media, I choose differently. I pray with all my heart that I can teach my kids the world can be scary, but they can never lose hope because of the Catholic Church. Mother Church is the safest place on earth!

There are many reasons I believe this, but for me, it is our teaching of the Eucharist that draws me in. One need not look too far (see CCC 1324 or John 6) and see what the Catholic Church proclaims. To build a culture Pope Francis spoke about, we need to cling onto the Eucharist.

We must spend time at the feet of the Lord, and be transformed ourselves. To ask for a transformed society, we must look at the mirror and ensure we are transformed first.

Last month, more than 2,600 people gathered at the George R. Brown Convention Center for the 61st Archdiocesan Youth Conference (AYC). Saturday night was the height of the conference weekend, and it is when the young Church of Galveston-Houston was able to meet Jesus Christ face-to-face. They spent an hour in Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

For me, it is a beautiful to behold hundreds of older adolescents singing praises, listening to the Gospel and spending time with the Lord in silence. It gives me a taste — even if a little one — of what Heaven must be like.
It was during the Medieval Period when communities in the Western Church started to build tabernacles within churches.

There were many developments throughout the centuries, but the focus went away from just the Mass. The Mass is the primary act of worship for Catholics, and the Catholic Church “encourages us to express our faith in the Eucharist outside of the Mass.”

Worship of the Eucharist outside of the Mass has become a real and wonderful way to pray.

Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament does not replace the Mass, but is an extension of it. There are many parishes that offer this type of prayer; if yours does not, there are also many parishes that leave the main church open for people to come and spend time with the Lord in the tabernacle.

As the young Church did at AYC last month, go before the Lord and pour your heart out to Him. This is how we can change the world.

Mars’ song “That’s What I Like” gives us a shallow view of the world. I would rather ask: What is it you love? What is your heart longing for? Mother Church gives us a simple answer. Maybe, a more apt question is: Whom do you love?

By loving Jesus Christ and Mother Church, we can build a culture, not of consumerism, but one that values, upholds and protects human life and relationships.

Go! Stop by your parish and spend time with Jesus Christ. Here are some parishes that offer perpetual Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament:

• St. Teresa in Sugar Land
• Christ the Redeemer (except for Masses)
• St. Cecilia Catholic Church
• St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Remember, He loves you, and wants to spend time with you. He is waiting for you! †

Dunn Estacio is an associate director in the Archdiocesan Office of Adolescent Catechesis and Evangelization.