Br Robert Wills, LC
Our times are sadly marked by a crisis of identity, both on a personal and societal level. A proper understanding of identity is crucial as who we think we are significantly determines our self-esteem and guides our action. Taking The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling as our backdrop, we may explore an essential component in shaping our identity: relationships.
The story begins with the infant Mowgli who is reared by a pack of wolves. As he begins to develop, his differences as a human are more pronounced. The animals hate him because they cannot look in his eyes and because he is wise, able to take the thorns from their feet, but also able to cry. It is no longer safe for him to remain in the jungle, but must seek civilization in haste. He is accompanied by two Christ-like figures, a bear named Baloo and a panther named Bagheera. In route, they teach him what it means to be a man. We find a parallel with Christianity as the Christian also senses the dangers of this present life and realizes that he must choose between the animal kingdom and the Kingdom of Christ. Nevertheless, he does not need to make this journey alone.