Second Sunday of Advent, “Monkey See…” (Isaiah 11)

Image“Is it because the sandbox is too small for us or that you just will not give me a little more room.”

Isaiah 11 tells us that the bud is blossoming and that animals of all kinds will be neighbors and that kids will be playing with snakes.  (What’s he smoking?)

Cue Jiminey Cricket and “When You Wish Upon A Star…”  (all verses)

2014 is coming soon and I hope that things have changed if you’re reading this a few years from now.  Divisiveness, separation, smugness and separation is the flavor of the day in politics.  (Is it because he’s black?  No, that’s a liberal position and I can’t say that.)  We define ourselves by labels (either self imposed or given to us) that set us where we need to be during any debate.  It’s not only politics but religion as well.  (Liberal, Conservative in the Catholic Church?  Why are we comfortable with those dividing labels?)

We get narrower and more narrower in our divisions and labels.  “Gay Republicans?”  I’m sure there’s four at best of those guys.  “Compassionate Conservative?”  I have no idea what that means.  At work I’m called not only a liberal but a “psycho-liberal.”  I’m not sure which corner to house myself.  And my favorite of all is “Jews for Jesus.”  (Jees, just get a life!)

“Monkey see as monkey do,” goes the adage and we seem to have a lot of that these days.  I’ve not be one to be down on the media but during these days they’ve presented to us a divided country with divided views and we seem to adapt well to this confusion.  Between MSNBC and Fox News, the conversation is anything but conversing.  The anchors ask a question to a “paid consultant” guest who pauses a moment and then says, “I agree with you.”  (I’d agree with you too since you’re name is on the check.)  This is passing for news, informational and formational news.

I looked up “cynic” and it says someone interested in self interest and independence while another source says, “without knowledge of the why” something is so.  So my conversation with someone begins with, “You’re against unions.” “Yes,” followed by my “Why” question.  “I heard on the radio” or “I heard on TV that,” which doesn’t answer my simple inquiry.  He/she will never admit to me that a personal or informed opinion is not forthcoming.  It’s just a popular statement heard over and over that this and that is wrong.  No information or formation.  We hear the 10 second bite in the media that he/she bit the other night and now re-bites to me.  (This is called “a thoughtful exchange of ideas.”)

I think of those 18-20 years old who are coming of age and will replace us.  Is their mentality cynicism or sarcasm.  I love sarcasm because it presents conflicting views in a humorous way for reflection.  Cynicism only leads to isolation because of self interest and misses the community and those less fortunate.  Cynicism does not breed or endorse hope because it is closed in on itself.  Happily, I’m very sarcastic but never cynical.  There is too much hope in ourselves rooted in this season of hope and anticipation, Advent.

These young folks are subjected to divisiveness and actually enjoying being angry at someone for his/her opinions.  (That’s the smugness.)  They missed the days of Walter Cronkite or Huntley/Brinkley or Eric Sevareid.  In 60 seconds Eric gave us a clear picture of the problem along with opposing arguments and his sensible resolution while looking douringly (not a real adverb) into the camera.  He (and they) made us think, ponder, consider and resolve with always the greater good in mind.

The monkey can see and enjoy the divisive comedy that passes for news each night but the monkey can think for him/herself.  That’s also self interest and independence with a mind toward the community.

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on
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