The fable of the lapdog

Once an elephant came into the town and was walking down the main street. The elephant was so impressive; no one had seen an elephant before. The people could not believe how big it was. The elephant walked majestically along the street.  Suddenly a little lapdog ran up to the elephant and started barking at it.

The lapdog was so insignificant that the elephant did not even realize that the lapdog was there. Another dog, who was watching the whole scene, approached the lapdog and said: “don’t you realize that he does not even see you?” And the lapdog answered: “yes, I do and that is why I am barking at him.”

The teaching of this fable is in regards to fighting against enemies that are not real enemies instead of fighting against the real ones. It was very easy for the lapdog to bark at the elephant since the elephant was not going to attack him, while it would have been much more difficult for the lapdog to bark at a dog like him since that dog would realize that he was attacking him and he would try to defend himself.

Something similar can happen to us. Many times, we fight against enemies that are not our real enemies instead of fighting against the real ones. For example, those who fight against politicians, or who are constantly complaining about them. I am not saying that politicians are always right and that they do everything perfectly, but what I am saying is that whatever we say against a politician is basically like the barking of this lapdog, because the politician does not hear us talking with our neighbor about what is wrong in the government of our country.  We will not change the way our president is governing. However, we feel satisfied as if we had been in a debate with him and had won the debate. The politician is just an example because those kinds of enemies are many. I would dare to say that whenever I talk behind someone else’s back to gossip, I am barking at elephant that does not pay attention to me.

Instead of wasting time fighting those imaginary enemies, we should fight against our real enemy which is: myself; my defects, my sins, my imperfections, my limitations, etc. Those are the real enemies because those are the ones that do not allow me to be a holy person. I can do much more good by changing myself than by barking at those I cannot change. Because if I change myself I will do something to make this world better while if I bark (gossip) at someone who does not hear me, I will add more evil to the world.

Daily homily


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