SHOOTING THE WRONG TARGET

There was a man who’d spent his whole life in the desert and had never seen a train or even a train track. When at last he made his first visit to civilization, he found himself walking down the very middle of some tracks. He heard a whistle, woo-woo, woo-woo. He wondered what it was, and he was still wondering when the train hit him and threw him 40 feet in the air.

Six months later, he left the hospital and before long went to visit a friend’s house. While he was in the kitchen, he heard the tea kettle whistling, woo-woo, woo-woo.  Without a word, he dashed to his car, grabbed his shotgun, and shot that poor tea kettle dead.

“Why’d you do that?” asked his wide-eyed host.

“Brother,” said the desert man, “you gotta kill them critters while they’re still small.”

Source | Dennis R. Clark, SUNDAY MORNING: Reflections on the Word
(Sheed and Ward, 1996) Cycle A
Second Sunday of Advent

CONSIDER THIS

Shooting tea kettles accomplishes absolutely nothing, yet in many ways we do that sort of thing all the time. If you doubt that, listen to our conversations on the phone, on the golf course, in the car, or just about anywhere. From all the tut-tutting, deploring and lamenting, one could easily conclude that the world is populated almost entirely by idiots, knaves and incompetents, and that the only exceptions are you and me … and sometimes I wonder about you!

Remember what that cartoon character, Pogo, said? “We have seen the enemy, and it is us.” He was right. But unfortunately, too often we see the enemy as outside us, and that’s what we take aim at … and the poor tea kettles of this world get shot dead.