Year of the Dog

The Dog is the 11th symbolic animal of the twelve terrestrial branches. It is classified as one of the six animals of China (Birds and Beast).

Feb 16, 2018

The Dog is the 11th symbolic animal of the twelve terrestrial branches. It is classified as one of the six animals of China (Birds and Beast).

There are different species and kinds of dogs of all sizes and shapes, looking like a bull, lion, monkey, cat and etc. The smallest being about 6 - 8 inches long and with very short legs. Some are very intelligent and have special characteristics. They are employed for various uses to humanity.

The following are some of the types of dogs used for various functions on special occasions:

1. As guardians: to look after and protect the house and the master’s property
2. For “search and rescue” operation.
3. For “discernment” and “intuition.”
4. To carry the torch for their imperial masters in China during ancient times.
5. As a shepherd dog.
6. Just an example from Holy Scriptures in reference to Dog: “The Canaanite Woman”.

1. Dogs as guardians
dog acts as a guard of the house to protect the children, the household and the property of the master. Even in modern times, dogs are employed to sniff out harmful drugs as guardians of society. As Christians and followers of Christ, we should be like the guardian-dog, striving to protect the deposit of faith and the teaching of Christ among the followers of Christ in the Church, with great fidelity and alertness, especially in this age of materialism and unfaith and moral degradation (decadence) of even the Christians and the secular society at large and, in particular, of the sanctity of marriage and of the family that has been severely threatened, violated, and crushed to the point of nearly no return.

2. Dogs for “search and rescue” operation
In times of danger in the icy lands of snow and cold, dogs are employed to rescue people and livestock.

In times of fire or disaster in the homes, dogs have helped to pull their master or children to safety.

Dogs are employed to find the presence of criminals or to find the lost ones. Like this wonderful quality of the dog, we must come to realise and act to be the “Saviours” of peoples from all sorts of danger and harm to their bodies and souls — especially, from sin and Satan.

In Christ, we must be “Saviours” of peoples throughout the world by our care, concern, action, prayer and by mobilising the power of Christ to save them in all situations, especially in the field of sin to be cured, saved and resurrected in Christ, the Lord.

3. The dog and “Discernment”
The dog is extremely sensitive and “intelligent” and quick to know, by intuition, the needs and commands of the master. Dogs are employed at banquets even to seek out the good from the unwanted people.

We must also be quick to discern the will and wishes of our Master and Lord Jesus. If we do have not this gift, we humbly and sincerely ask from the Lord this gift of discernment.

It is very necessary that we can detect or discern in spiritual depth, what comes from the Lord Jesus and what comes from the Devil — the evil one.

Jesus warned the disciples and us to be awake and to be “cunning” as a fox, or else, even the holiest among us would be deceived by Satan (if it be possible). Discern what is from God and accept it and do it. Discern what is from the devil and reject it, as well as warn others to reject it.

4. The dog carries a torch with its mouth to light the way for its imperial master.
This is a beautiful image of us, Christians, who have received the Light of Life and Love of Christ to be the torch bearers of our Faith and of Christ Himself, to be His witnesses throughout the world, to herald His coming to us and to bring us the Light of Christ. The dog barks to warn of dangers ahead so that steps can be taken to avert the dangers. How beautiful comes the thought of the Greatest Prophet of the Old Testament, John the Baptist. We must be like John the Baptist, a voice crying out in the wilderness, preparing the way for the Saviour’s coming to warn people of the dangers ahead, to take measures to repent and be saved by Jesus Our Saviour, from sin and death.

5. A shepherd dog
A dog acting as a shepherd or helping the shepherd is a common phenomenon in countries where sheep are reared. Here is the image of the beauty and faithfulness of a shepherd dog which is so hard working, industrious in serving its master with such exemplary fidelity and loyalty that the master (the shepherd) always treasures, loves and gives the choicest food and the best treatment as a reward for his dog’s tremendous help to look after his sheep with such fidelity and loyalty.

This brings to mind Jesus, as a good shepherd. We are His sheep. He takes care of us. He chooses the baptised to be His witnesses, to be light of the world and salt of the earth. We are like “shepherd dog” to be faithful and loyal to Christ, to look after the sheep of the good shepherd, to help, lead, guide, the sheep (people) to Christ and to protect them from the wolves (devils). Yes, we are to be ‘other shepherd,’ ‘other Christ’ to follow Christ’s example in taking care of His sheep, tending them with great care and diligence.

6. An example in Holy Scriptures in reference to the dog “The Canaanite Woman” — To confirm faith
The Canaanite woman persistently begged Jesus to cast out a demon from her daughter. Jesus said, “It is not right to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” The woman replied, “Ah, even dogs can eat of the food that drops from their master’s table.” Jesus replied, “Woman, great is your faith. Let it be done for you as you wish.” At that moment, her daughter was healed. The Canaanite woman was considered to be low as a ‘dog.’ But the ‘dog’ believes in its master and is faithful to him. This woman believes and is faithful to her Master and Lord Jesus. She firmly believes in Him and is richly rewarded by Him for her faith and fidelity.

Conclusion:
May this New Year of the Dog 2018 bring us prosperity and happiness to our homes. May we have greater fidelity and loyalty to God’s commandments of love and service to everyone. May we have greater discernment to protect and guide the shepherd and enlighten people, to be torch bearers of Christ and to proclaim Christ to the world, to save and lead many to Christ, the Good Shepherd, to enter God’s Kingdom to live a life of love, joy, peace, harmony and untold blessings!--By Fr Stephen Chin, Rector, Sacred Heart Church, Kuching

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