The age-old question why did the chicken cross the road? Would have received varied answers in history:
Robert Frost: To cross the road less traveled by.
Darwin: It was the logical next step after coming down from the trees.
Bob Dylan: How many roads must one chicken cross?
Buddha: If you ask this question, you deny your own chicken-nature.
Buddha's answer makes me reflect. Can I deny my "chicken nature" and fly like an eagle? Fr. Brendan McGuire used this little story in a homily entitled "Soar Like An Eagle":
A farmer discovered an eagle egg and put it in with the hen. The hen kept it warm until it hatched and lived with the rest of the little chickens.
He did what all the chickens did: he plucked for worms; he ran around the backyard of the farm, and when he would flutter his wings just like the chickens, he came crashing down to the ground
When the eagle got old, one day he looked up into the sky and he saw a beautiful bird, flying, soaring above. He asked, "What's that?"
The chickens said, "That's the king of the sky called the eagle.
It soars on the currents of the wind and can go anywhere it wants. We are just chickens and we are on the dirt, on the ground." And so the eagle lived as a chicken and died as a chicken because it believed it only was a chicken.
McGuire goes on to explain that God gave us incredible gifts and we are called to share those gifts with others. May we not settle ourselves to be chickens who pluck away at the small things around us, but instead may we choose to be eagles who can soar, soar above all the pain of life, all the material distractions, and truly be majestic like birds of the air.
In Luke 5:1-11 Peter witnesses the miraculous catch of fish and says to Jesus, "Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man." And Jesus turns to him and says, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men."
When we look at our human and sinful nature, we feel more like the chicken nature Peter displayed. It is hard to see ourselves as eagles. Yet that is what the Spirit calls us to.
We need to cross the road fearlessly. A self-deluding chicken settles for "good enough" and the temporary security. We are called to newer and more exciting things. When Jesus forgives us and the Spirit empowers us, we can fly like eagles.
Heaven and earth await our participation as stewards of creation. It is time to join in the celebration. All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today - Chinese proverb.