A monkey in a cage

In one of those science experiments with animals, the scientists put a monkey in a cage and put a banana outside of the cage.  The door of the cage was locked and the monkey was supposed to unlock to be able to get out and eat the banana. In order to open the door, the monkey needed a to be a bit cunning. After trying several times, the monkey was not able to open the door.

After a while the scientists put next to the monkey another cage with a human person inside it and a banana outside it.  The person opened the door, went outside and ate the banana. Once the monkey saw how the person opened the door, the monkey imitated that person and opened the door and ate the banana. Although this experiment was done to study the brain, I would like to take advantage of it and apply it to our spiritual life, even though it does not fully apply to it, since parables have their limits.

We can be compared to the monkey in the cage and the cage represents sin.  We were not able to unlock the door by ourselves, just as the monkey was not able to open the door by itself.  The person who was in the other cage represents Jesus who died on the cross freeing us from sin, and also showing us how to open the door of the cage in order to get the banana, which represents His love.

In other words, we can open the door by dying on the cross, thus imitating Jesus who opened the door of sin for us by dying on the cross. Once we open the door, we are able to love Him. Many times we ask ‘why do I need to sacrifice myself?’ or ‘why do I need to renounce this desire or that desire?’

The answer is that those renunciations help us to imitate Jesus; those renunciations allow us to open the cage in order to love Jesus. The desires make us stay inside the cage, and we cannot be both inside the cage and love Jesus because His love is outside the cage, like the banana. If we want to love Jesus we need to be freed from the cage.

We usually think that He does not want to love us if we do not do what He wants us to do. However, the problem is not that He does not want to love us, but rather the problem is that we are not able to love Him while we are inside the cage. Therefore, we must work in order to be able to love Him. In order to do that, we need to go outside of the cage, and we go outside of the cage by imitating Jesus.  There is no other way, since our limitations, like the lack of cunning in the monkey, do not allow us to open the cage if we do not imitate Him.

Daily homily


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