Someone Who Understands

(Prayer offered on the Pubic Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 2 April 2019)

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.

A while ago I heard a story about a young boy who wanted to buy a puppy.  As the story goes, a store owner was tacking a sign above his door that read “Puppies for Sale.”  Signs like that have a way of attracting small children, and sure enough a little boy about 9 years old appeared under the store owner’s sign.  “Mister, how much are you going to sell the puppies for?” the little boy asked.  The store owner replied, “Anywhere from $30 to $50.”  The little boy reached into his pocket and pulled out a couple of rolled up bills and some change.  “I have $2.37,” he said.  “May I please look at them, Mister?”  The store owner smiled and whistled and out of the kennel came Lady, who ran down the aisle of his store followed by five teeny, tiny balls of fur.

One puppy was lagging considerably behind.  Immediately the little boy singled out the lagging, limping puppy and said, “What’s wrong with that little dog?”  The store owner explained that the vetererinarian had examined the little puppy and had discovered that it didn’t have a hip socket.  It would always limp.  It would always be lame.  The little boy became excited.  “That is the puppy I want to buy.”  The store owner said, “No, you don’t really want to buy that little dog.  If you really want him, I’ll just give him to you.”

The little boy got quite upset.  He looked straight into the store owner’s eyes, pointing his finger, and said, “I don’t want you to give him to me, Mister.  That little dog is worth every bit as much as all the other dogs and I’ll pay full price.  In fact, I’ll give you $2.37 now and 50 cents a month until I have paid for him.”

The store owner countered, “You really don’t want to buy this little dog.  He is never going to be able to run and jump and play with you like the other puppies.”  To the store owner’s surprise, the little boy reached down and rolled up his pant leg to reveal a badly twisted, crippled left leg supported by a big metal brace.  He looked at the store owner and softly replied, “Well, I don’t run so well myself, and the little puppy will need someone who understands.”

Tomorrow morning, Wednesday, someone will be passing an envelope around your classroom asking you once again this week to give money to support our brother school in Rongai, Kenya.  Some of you may roll your eyes, not wanting to be bothered, and simply pass it on to the next person, self-satisfied that you gave your $5.00 a few weeks ago at Dress-Down Day; some of you might take out some spare change or maybe even a dollar bill; some of you may be tempted to give a little more.  Like the little boy in the story, we give to those things we really believe in; we support those things that relate to us; we are generous when we identify with a cause, a person, or even a crippled puppy.

I ask you today and tomorrow morning especially to consider with what you can identify when we talk about the young men of Rongai Agricultural and Technical High School in Kenya.  They are your age; like you, they take school subjects like chemistry and algebra and English literature; like you, they love sports—the challenge of competing; like you, they want to get into college.  However, like the little puppy, they are at a disadvantage: they have been born into a country and a society that has far less than we; opportunities for making a better life for themselves and their families are much scarcer than for us; poverty and illness and natural disasters like famine and drought are much more commonplace.  Nevertheless, like the little boy in the story we do have something in common with them—we are Lasallians!   We all, young Lasallians at De La Salle Middle School and La Salle Academy and young Lasallians at Rongai Agricultural and Technical High School, have hopes and dreams—for ourselves and for our world.  We all strive for a world in which all young people can have a meal on their table, can lead a healthy life, and can have an education that will enable them to support their families.

Our society, like the store owner,  tells us that we really do not want to support these young people in Rongai—they are never going to be able to measure up to our standards, to become famous, to give us anything back.  However, the little boy had an answer to that; he said to the store owner that the puppy will need someone who understands.  Will we be the ones who will understand our fellow Lasallians, the young men in Rongai?  If we do, then like the little boy we will give not only our $2.37 but also our 50 cents a month—we will give not simply from our excess, what we have left over, the spare change, but we will give from our need—we will feel the pinch, we will sacrifice.  When we really believe in another we don’t hesitate to share whatever we can with that person.

So the question this morning is: How will we respond tomorrow?  Will we respond like the little boy and give our all OR will we just turn away, pass the envelope along, and pretend our brothers in Rongai do not exist or, worse yet, aren’t really worth it?


Let us pray:  Generous God, you have given us so much.  Help us to use our gifts to gift another.  Amen.


Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Brother Frederick Mueller, FSC


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