Many hunters use their abilities with bow and arrows, guns and spears to kill monkeys.
But some native people have another simple yet effective style to trap them.
The hunter searches the jungles for a large-sized, wild gourd (= a fleshy, typically large fruit/vegetable with a hard skin).
After the gourd had dried for several weeks, the hunter would cut a two-inch hole in the side. >> The insides of the gourd would then be taken out, leaving an empty hard-shelled trap…
After finding the right place in the jungle, where there were plenty of monkeys, the hunter would hang the trap from a tree.
>> In the centre of the gourd-trap, several handfuls of peanuts would be placed…
In a short time, the curious monkeys would scamper over to see what the man had left behind.
>> A short glance and a long sniff would reveal to the monkeys that one of their favourite items was conveniently close by – and easy to get!
One monkey would venture first.
>> He would look the gourd over well.
The gourd was a common sight and would not rouse many questions, and inside he would discover wonderful, plump peanuts.
What more could a monkey ask for?
Into the gourd, went the monkey’s hand, grasping a few peanuts, and then slowly, he would ease out his hand.
>> He got a handful and they were so good!
In would go again his little hand, and not wanting to miss out on this free offer!
But his hand , with many peanuts, was now too big, to get back out of the hole.
When he tried to pull back his hand, it would not come out through the gourd’s hole.
>> He would pull and pull but to no avail.
>> He was caught!
It would never dawn on him to let go of the peanuts!
There he would be captured until the hunter would return and easily kill the monkey.
His own selfishness had bound him to the trap.
Temptations in our life, is also, so often similar…
>> We get trapped in our own selfishness!
>> We get ensnared in our own greediness!
The Gospel of the Day, on this first Sunday of Lent, is an account, from the Gospel of St Mark, of how Jesus resisted temptations…
… and emerged victorious by the power of the Spirit, to proclaim the Gospel of God!
“At once, the Spirit drove Him out into the desert, and He remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan” (Mk 1:12)
• In Jesus, we encounter a God who has a very human face – sharing in sufferings, partaking in miseries and participating in hardships.
• In Jesus, we have a God who understands us in our weak moments, consoles us in our painful situations and who empathizes with us in our trials and temptations.
Jesus knows what it is like to struggle with temptations and enticements…
Because He Himself was tempted!
Jesus knows what it is like to ward off the beasts of our vices and evil tendencies…
Because He Himself was among wild beasts!
Yet, in all His trials, He emerged victorious and triumphant!
Ø He did not succumb to the allurements of Satan…
Ø He did not fall for the traps of the Evil One…
Ø He did not yield to the inducements of the Devil…
>> He had a tremendous infilling of the Holy Spirit!
>> He had a unshaken determination to be focused on doing God’s Will!
>> He had an indomitable resolve of being faithful and true to His mission and commitment!
And these reasons of Jesus are also the techniques for us to overcome the power of temptations….
>> Can we grow continually in the infilling of the Holy Spirit?
>> Can we learn to, despite any hardships, constantly seek and do only God’s Will?
v Can I cultivate the steadfastness to be singly focussed on the mission of His Kingdom?
We live in a world which is often, like a wilderness…
.. dry in spiritual fervour… heated up with material desires…arid in religious enthusiasm
We live in a world where there are often, many wild beasts…
…ferociously corrupt and unhealthy practices…menacingly abusive evil lifestyles
We need to resist the temptations arising from such situations and stand firm in our focus and commitment to the Lord and His Kingdom.
Let us not get caught up in the snares of temptation…instead be victorious and triumphant in the Grace and Power of Jesus, our Saviour, Model and Master!
Selfish desires can trap us….but being selfless in the Spirit will help us!
Greedy longings can confine us….but Godly leanings can strengthen us!
God Bless! Live Jesus!