How can you trap a monkey? With a coconut, some roasted peanuts or rice and a string, tribal people living in the border of forests in Africa, Sri Lanka and India have been trapping monkeys for centuries.

At one end of the coconut, they open a hole that is big enough to allow a monkey’s hand to push inside. However, the hole is too small for a monkey to remove his hand when he makes a fist. On the other end of the coconut, a string is firmly attached and tied to a tree trunk. The coconut trap, with roasted peanuts or roasted rice inside, is placed along a monkey’s trail, and the trapper hides behind bushes with a net. The monkey smells the peanuts and is attracted to them.  He puts his hand through the hole and grabs a handful of peanuts, after which it is impossible for him to remove his hand since he is unwilling to let go of the peanuts. Suddenly the trapper casts the net over the monkey and traps it.

We too are attracted by different “peanuts” that can be detrimental to our spiritual and physical pursuits. Today’s Gospel presents a rich young man who wants eternal life but will not relinquish “the peanuts” of riches.

Father Joseph