The Wolf and the Dog

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…

The Ant and the Dove

One day the ant was thirsty and travelled to a nearby stream to drink some water. The current of the stream was so strong that it pulled him in and soon he had been whisked along toward certain peril. Several yards ahead, on a branch, overlooking the stream, sat the dove. Noticing the distressed ant coming his way, the dove kindly dropped a leaf. So well timed was the leaf that the ant was able to climb on it and ride to safety. Some minutes later, a hunter was silently creeping up on the dove from some distance away. The ant saw the hunter with his bow drawn to strike the bird that had just rescued him and he bit the hunter on his toe so hard that he let out a yelp. The startled bird then took wing.

How we care for the least among us is a central concern for Christians. This parable, pulled from Aesop’s fables is a reminder that it is always good to help those that you might think could never pay you back. Like the dove, we are unable to see what benefit may come from our small acts of mercy, but that is all the more reason to do them. Whoever is an ant to you, whoever is weak and seemingly unable to repay your kindness, that is precisely who Jesus is talking about when he says, “Whatever you have done for the least of these, you have done for me.”

Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear…