I like this thought posted by Mike Atkinson in his daily email humor list some time ago.
“If you can start the day without caffeine; if you can get going without pep pills; if you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains; if you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles; if you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it; if you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time; if you can overlook it when those you love take it out on you when through no fault of yours something goes wrong; if you can take criticism and blame without resentment; if you can ignore a friend’s limited education and never correct him; if you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend; if you can face the world without lies and deceit; if you can conquer tension without medical help; if you can relax without liquor; if you can sleep without the aid of drugs; if you can say honestly that deep in your heart you have no prejudice against creed, color, religion, or politics; then, my friend, you are almost as good as your dog.” (Mike Atkinson, Mikey’s Funnies, 6-26-02, www.mikeysfunnies.com)
That makes me stop and think about myself in relation to what some think are nothing but “a dumb animal.” In many cultures to call a person a “dog” is demeaning or derogatory. But maybe such a name isn’t so bad when you think of your own dog. That creature that is always glad to see you even though you feed him/her the same food every day or are too busy to give him/her much time.
Canines have pure hearts. Unless abused or neglected they provide endless joy and delight. In today’s gospel Jesus talks about what’s inside a person is what counts, not the outward performance that determines a person’s value. How is your heart? How pure are your motives and how affirming are your values?