Do you know the fable of the greedy cat? That fable says that a very greedy cat that spent all day eating was prowling around the market when it saw a fisherman arriving at his spot with a basket filled with sardines. Just seeing them made the cat’s mouth water. «What a feast I’m going to have!» it thought. As soon as the merchant was not looking, theca jumped up, stole a sardine, and carried it off between its teeth. The man chased it through the whole market, but the greedy cat quickly managed to escape. It ran and ran, and ended up at a river.
Suddenly, it saw another cat with a sardine between its teeth sardine looks bigger and tastier than mine,» it thought, so it let go of its sardine and pounced on the other cat, falling into the depths of the river. There is one more fable with the same moral as this, written by the clever Félix Marfa de Samaniego. It reads like this: «To a honeycomb came two thousand flies; and because they had a sweet tooth, they all died, their legs imprisoned in it. Another buried its sweet treasure inside a cake. And so, if one examines things well, [it turns out that] human hearts perish in the prisons of the bad habit that controls them.» What a great truth! Gluttony, bad habits, the inability to govern our greed, our uncontrolled desires (for things that are not even good for us)—all that becomes, sooner or later, a prison for us.
Precisely so that we would not fall into the error of greediness, the Bible offers us words of wisdom. «Put a knife to your throat if you are a man given to appetite,» says Proverbs 23:2. Why is that?» For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty» (verse 21). Who would like to end up in poverty? Economic poverty, moral poverty, spiritual poverty We learn this lesson by taking the people of Israel in their wandering through the wilderness as a reference. How is it possible that they preferred the pots of meat they ate in slavery rather than God’s leading toward freedom?
Freedom from appetite, passions, greed, and covetousness is found in Christ* Through His Holy Spirit, He grants us the fruit of self-control. How about asking Him today to grant it to us?
“And the children of Israel said to them, ‘Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full’” (Exodus 16:3).