Which of the two tigers will win the fight?
There are two tigers inside all of us. One is 100% negative. The other is 100% positive. Which of the two tigers will win the fight? The one that is fed the most!
These were the words of a successful businessman to a group of sixteen year olds. It is so accurate. In many ways we live in the midst of positivity and negativity. We are pulled in both directions. Often the negative direction can appear to have a more powerful pull. We can see this at all levels of life. We hear criticism louder than praise. Criticism feeds our negative tiger. It makes us believe that we are not good; that we are not able; that we are inadequate. Criticism feeds our negative impression of ourselves.
Negativity breeds negativity. Think about what we watch on television - all those soap operas - nobody is happy - happy with their ordinary lives. We begin to think that this is normal - that negativity is the right way to be.
When we feed the negative tiger in us we end up with a life full of blame. We blame everybody else for our negativity. It's the governments fault. It's the Church's fault. It is our employers fault. It's our parents fault. It's our wife's fault. It's our husband's fault. It's our history's fault. It's everybody's fault but ours. This blaming and finding fault with others is a feast of food for the negative tiger in us.
The Pharisees in today's gospel were negative people. Their negative tigers were thriving! Here they were in the presence of Jesus - in the presence of the one who had the gift of eternal life and joy. What do they do? Do they listen to him? Do they celebrate that they are so close to him? Do they rush and bring their families to hear him? No! They give out because the people with Jesus have not washed their hands before they started to eat. This was a tradition or a custom of their and it became so much more important than what Jesus was saying and doing. They could not enter into a positive relationship with their Saviour. Their negativity became a barrier that was just too strong.
How did Jesus respond? He held up a mirror to them. He described to them the reality of their lives. He told them you are negative. You are hypocritical. You miss the point. Then in a very direct and uncompromising way he tells the Pharisees to do something that people who choose to be negative struggle to do. He tells them not to be blaming others but to take responsibility for themselves and their actions. He says that it is not what goes into a person that makes them unclean but the things that come out of a person.
When we choose to be negative we are blind to joy. When we choose to negative we can become obsessed with what doesn't matter and loose sight of what does. When we choose to be negative we reject life. When we choose to be negative it is our choice. It is our decision and the consequences are our responsibility.
In the letter to St James today we get a definition of pure unspoilt religion. It is to help the orphans and the widows when they need it and to remain uncontaminated by the world. In other words pure unspoilt religion is when we realise that we always have the power to help those in greater need than ourselves and we always need to focus on the positivity of God rather than any negativity that exists in our world.
There are two tigers in us - one that is 100% positive and the other that is 100% negative. Let us not be like the Pharisees feeding our negative tiger. Let us feed our positive tiger by focusing on Jesus and caring for one another. When we do this the negativity in us will slowly die and we will become more and more responsible, positive, life giving people, who are filled with joy.
7th September 2017 Gaps
20th June 2017 "Love is not loved."
25th April 2017 I Hope You Dance
21st March 2017 From Darkness to Dawn
27th October 2016 The Bright Field
27th June 2016 The Enemy Within
31st May 2016 The Little Way to The Almighty
25th January 2016 Love Immeasurable
11th November 2015 Letting Go
21st May 2015 The Gift of Loss
6th May 2015 Walls
24th November 2014 Leaning into Winter
24th October 2014 Crossing the Road
25th June 2014 Fetters of the Soul
30th April 2014 The Power of Gratitude
10th March 2014 The Darkling Thrush
11th February 2014 Spring
10th February 2014 Masks
3rd February 2014 Dancing in the Wind
21st January 2014 Chains of nostalgia
13th January 2014 Forgiving wrongs darker than death or night
7th January 2014 Singing out Loud
17th December 2013 CHRISTMAS FOUND
9th December 2013 Withering into the Truth
2nd December 2013 The Celtic Prayer Garden
25th November 2013 Missing Dates
18th November 2013 NEARER GOD’S HEART
12th November 2013 Night
27th April 2010 Healing God
25th November 2009 Our Poverty
1st September 2009 Which of the two tigers will win the fight?
1st June 2009 Be your own role model
25th May 2009 The Feast of the Ascension of the Lord
18th May 2009 Power of the real presence
7th May 2009 "Lessons I did not learn in School" - by Bill Gates
20th April 2009 JESUS RISES FROM THE DEAD
30th March 2009 The Long Walk to Freedom
23rd March 2009 Become a Friend
16th March 2009 Ireland in Identity Crisis?
9th March 2009 Love to Pray
2nd March 2009 Life - Giving Words
16th February 2009 Exclusion Policy
9th February 2009 Somewhere the Child
2nd February 2009 The Conversion of St Paul
12th January 2009 Thomas Merton, "Thoughts in Solitude"
22nd December 2008 A Christmas Parable by Louis Cassels
15th December 2008 Work – from In the heart of the Temple by Sr Joan Chittister
8th December 2008 Am I at home when the doorbell rings?
1st December 2008 Street Corner Christ
17th November 2008 How Did I Get This Busy?
10th November 2008 A Homily for The Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica – 9th November 2008
3rd November 2008 John O’Donohue taken from “Benedictus - A Book of Blessings”
27th October 2008 Charles Peguy 1873-1914, French poet and politician
20th October 2008 The following is an extract from a talk given by Bishop George Lungu of Chipata in Zambia in Africa, to the synod of Bishops being held in Rome this month.
13th October 2008 Excerpt from ‘A Door of Hope’ by Jean Vanier
6th October 2008 A Reflection on Matthew's Gospel 21:28-32
29th September 2008 The Daily Decalogue of Pope John XXIII