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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Lent -vs- Feeding The Pets From Hell



    Imagine that you’re invited to dinner at the home of a new neighbor, a really pleasant, friendly man.  You accept his invitation — because you are curious about him.  It’s very plain to see that the man is missing his right arm and two fingers from his left hand.      The next evening, you arrive at his front door and ring the doorbell, and your host welcomes you in. He invites you to relax, guides you to a comfortable chair.  You sit down.  A moment or two later, as your host is chatting with you, you hear noises — noises like animal claws scraping along the floor.  You turn your head to see a 12-foot alligator slithering into the living room. You jump out of the chair.  But your host starts laughing and telling you not to be afraid – because, the alligator is his pet.
     He tells you that he raised the alligator since it hatched from its egg. He even trained the alligator to eat right out of his hand.

     Hearing him say this doesn’t make you feel any less frightened.  But —  at least —  now, you know why he tells everybody to call him “LEFTY.”


“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and He remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan.  He was among the wild beasts ... .” [The Holy Gospel According To Saint Mark, 1:12-15]


     We are told by Saint Mark's Gospel, that when Our Lord Jesus walked out into the desert  -- and fasted and prayed there for forty days -- He was among wild beasts.  Dangerous man-eating animals; poisonous snakes; scorpions.  Not exactly cute and cuddly creatures, right?
     Why would anyone want to keep a wild beast as a pet?  That’s crazy, isn’t it?  And  reckless, and totally irresponsible!  
     As if your could train that wild beast to ignore its instinct to attack you,  or sting you, or choke you. And eat you.  Foolhardy, right?  
     Well, then  ...  why are you keeping a wild beast as a pet?

You and I really do  have our very own pet wild beasts — which scratch and bite and wound us.  And even though they constantly try to injure us and kill us, still, we do not get rid of them!
     When Our Lord Jesus left the desert after forty days, He left the wild beasts behind.  However, you and I deliberately, intentionally keep wild beasts around us.  We freely choose to treat the wild beasts as pets!  
     But our pets aren’t vultures, or cobras, or jackals, or scorpions.  Our pets are beasts we have created for ourselves — non-material creatures.  Spiritual wild beasts, cheerfully housebroken by Satan to feed on us and through us, the people around us! 
       We nourish these wild beasts —  with our sinfulness and selfishness, our laziness, or cowardice.  They have unusual names, our pet wild beasts.  Have you ever heard of the wild beasts named:  
  • Eating too much?  
  • Sleeping too much?
  • Shopping too much?  
  • Working all the time?
  • Always at the computer?  
  • Always watching TV?
  • Always playing video games? 
  • Always wearing your Walkman with the volume turned up to drown out other people?
Have you ever heard of the wild beasts named: 
  • Drinking too much booze?  
  • Smoking pot?
  • Popping pills?  
  • Shooting dope into your veins?
  • Looking at pornographic websites or TV shows?  
  • Having sex with your boyfriend or girlfriend?  
  • Committing adultery?  
How about the wild beasts named: 
  • Being angry all the time?
  • Not praying?  
  • Not going to Confession?  
  • Not going to Mass?
  • Blaming God for your bad decisions?
  • Blaming other people for your bad decisions?


By feeding and sheltering these spiritual wild beasts,  we allow them to devour all the peace in our souls!  We allow them to cripple or kill the love, hope, justice, and mercy  in our hearts.

“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and He remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan.  He was among the wild beasts ... .”


     Since last Wednesday — Ash Wednesday — you and I entered the desert of Lent for forty days.  Supposedly, we are doing this:
  • To confront our own wild beasts.  
  • To return to God. 
  • To change our sinful and selfish ways.
  • To accomplish these will require us to stop feeding the wild beasts  that inhabit the places in our hearts and minds where  God  should be!  
  • To stop making pets out of our sins and personal evildoing.
     Our Lord Jesus Christ invites to join Him in His desert experience by journeying into the depths of our heart and conscience, into that sacred place within us that belongs to God alone.

     No wild beast is too small to be harmless — or too big to conquer.
When we emerge from the desert of Lent,  we are supposed to leave the wild beasts behind us.



     When Our Lord Jesus exited the desert after 40 days, He left all of the wild beasts behind Him.  If we remain with Him for the next five weeks, He will show us how our fasting and praying and penances will send all those beasts back to where they really belong — back to a howling, lifeless wasteland called Hell, with Satan, their zookeeper.




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