Consumerism is one of the great spiritual dangers of our culture. We are surrounded night and day by advertising and salespeople trying to sell us something. Often their promises are empty. We are supposed to be tricked into thinking that the latest drug will make us feel better than we ever felt before, that buying some appliance will make our family happy, or that a new car will solve all our problems.
>But there is a something good we can learn from the consumerism of our culture. It shows us that we, in fact, desire something. There is something we all want. If there weren’t, there wouldn’t be any way for advertisements to play on our desires. So what do we really want? What is it that our hearts are always reaching for? Well, first of all we want a happy and peaceful life—that’s why people in commercials are always having a good time. We want a meaningful connection with another person—intimacy—and that’s why commercials always sell sex or at least employ physically attractive people, because our sexuality is the simplest way to get at our desire to connect with others. It comes down to life. That’s what we want: to be alive, fully—happy, peaceful, and with life-giving connections to others. And this core of our human desire is what Jesus is talking about when he promises eternal life—not eternal life in the sense of some future we don’t even know about, but eternal life now, filling our hearts with the love and peace that we really want.