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Not for a Million Dollars!

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Two caterpillars were crawling along across the grass one day when a butterfly flew over them. They both looked up and the one caterpillar nudged the other and said, “You couldn’t get me up in one of those things for a million dollars!”

What is God’s Dream for you? To be a caterpillar or to be a butterfly? Is there any doubt that God has a Dream for each one of us? God has a destiny for everyone and for everything that God creates — a reason, a purpose. 

God gave us a free will. We can say “NO” to God and “YES” to our egos, pleasures, smart phones, drugs, alcohol and work. It’s our free wills that can say, “You’ll never get me up in one of those things for a million dollars!” You and I are here on this planet not to be caterpillars and just crawl along, but to become butterflies and fly free!

The Jewish philosopher, theologian and Nobel-prize recipient Elie Weisel has said, “The only question God is going to ask us when we die is: ‘Did you become the person that you are?’”

On each of our Judgement Days before God, I don’t think God will be asking me about the clerical ring around my neck, the wedding ring on your finger or the grimy ring in our kitchen sinks. God will only be asking you and me: “Did your becoming a priest or getting married or doing the work you did, make you more like me… what I intended you to be? Loving, truly Caring, Kind and more Compassionate?” That’s all that clerical collars, wedding rings and rings in the sink are good for!

If it did, your spirit is now a Butterfly! Fly free!! Spread your wings and welcome to heaven!! If it didn’t, your spirit will be crawling like a Caterpillar forever. Welcome to where the heat is unbearable!!

I’ve told this story of the two caterpillars and the butterfly a few times over the years. People will come back later and tell me that the story and the images touched them so deeply that they made some significant changes in their lives. They said they were tired of being caterpillars and wanted to be butterflies. And who is leading the cheering section for their transformation from caterpillar to butterfly?  God!!

Jeremiah tells us in this Sunday’s reading: “The Lord is with me like a mighty champion” (Jer. 20:10-13).  The Holy Spirit IS with us, feeding and strengthening us through the Eucharist and the Bible and the faith communities to which we belong. The breezes of the Holy Spirit blow through each of these and lifts up our wings so we can fly free of our weaknesses and sins.

In this Sunday’s Gospel (Matt. 10:26-33), Jesus says: “All the hairs of your head are counted.” Do you have any idea how many hairs are on your head? When we start out, it varies with the color. Blonds have 145,000 hairs, dark-haired people have 120,000 hairs, and red-heads have 90,000 hairs when they start out. 

At first thought, I haven’t met a person who was able to count the hairs on someone’s head. On second thought, I HAVE met Someone who knows how many hairs are on my head, today and when I had a full head of hair. That Someone who has the count of my hairs is the Someone who is helping me to take my life to a higher level, from a caterpillar to a butterfly. 

As human beings and as children of God, you and I are so very different than all the other creatures on earth. You and I possess wisdom and imagination. All the other animals only see things as they are. You and I see things as they can be. 

A nursery that grew and sold trees once displayed this sign: “The best time to plant a tree was 10 years ago. The next best time to plant a tree is TODAY!” 

Thanks to Tinthia Clemant for the picture. 

What “tree can YOU plant today” that will help YOU or someone else become a butterfly and fly free?


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