There was a Wolf who was cold from chilly winter winds and near starvation from lack of food.   He was in this terrible condition when he met a healthy looking Dog. The Dog greeted him cheerfully:

“Hello, Cousin! It pains me to see you like this: wasting away for no good reason. Why do you scavenge for food when you could be taken care of as I am? My Master feeds me regularly and here you are close to death. Why not find a home for yourself?”

“That would be nice,” said the Wolf, “But how would I even find a place like this?”

The Dog smiled. “It would be no trouble! You could come home with me and I’m sure my Master would take you in as well. You could share in my work and we would both be fed regularly!”

The Wolf agreed and he and the Dog set off to go to town together. While they were on the way, the Wolf noticed a spot on the Dog’s neck where there was very little hair.

“Cousin, what is wrong with your neck?” the Wolf asked.

“Oh that,” said the Dog, “It’s nothing. My Master keeps me on a chain at night and that is where the collar goes. It’s uncomfortable but you get used to it after awhile.”

“Goodbye cousin!” said the Wolf, turning to leave. “I’d rather starve and be free than be fat and a slave!”

Freedom versus security. It’s the age old debate at the heart of this fable by Aesop. Who is right? The Wolf or the Dog? Your answer probably depends on your point of view. The truth is both cousins suffer from a kind of bondage. The Dog is a slave to a human master while the Wolf is captive to his circumstances: forced into a lifelong fight for survival. We human beings find ourselves in a similar situation.  Jesus says, “Come to me you who are weary and heavy laden and find rest for your souls. My burden is easy and my yoke is light.” Disciples are called to throw off the chains of sin and death and to find freedom in serving Christ.  Like the Dog, each of us is born a slave to sin and must abandon the false security offered by our old life and embrace the radical freedom that is found in knowing Christ. But this way of life is not forced upon us. It is one we must choose. Like the Wolf, each of us must decide if we are willing to take up the yoke or Christ or cling to the illusion of freedom that threatens to destroy us.

Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear…

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