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Sorry, I just wanted to get your attention, but I do sort of want to talk about the ever popular zombie.  I have a nasty cold and last night I couldn't stop coughing.  So, at around 2 A.M. I decided to sit up for a while and when I turned on the light I saw the current issue of National Geographic staring at me and it had Zombies as it's front page story.  There is a really cool close up picture of a lady bug with something fuzzy underneath. 

I rarely actually read the stories in National Geographic. I am more of a picture person but what else are you going to do at two in the morning.  Anyway, the article is talking about bugs and parasites (other bugs) that effectively use other bugs to promote their species.  Sounds a little boring?  I know, but it isn't. What does it have to do with religion?? I'll get to that.

Lady bugs look cute but they are real ninjas of the insect world.  They eat aphids like there is no tomorrow and if a bird tries to eat them they send out a poison from their legs and the bird will immediately spit it out.

Lady bugs do have one mortal enemy (besides us) and that is a tiny wasp.  This wasp is about the size of a sprinkle you put on an ice cream cone.  When the wasp is ready to lay its eggs, it lands on the lady bug and inserts its stinger into the underside of the lady bug and deposits an egg.  When the egg hatches it begins to eat the poor girl from the inside.  This prompts the lady bug to begin binge eating aphids. In about three weeks the larvae is too big for its host and slips out through a crack in the lady bug's shell. 

You would think it would leave the poor lady bug alone after eating it from the inside out but the wasp is not done.  The larva then wraps itself to the underside of the lady bug and builds a cocoon.  Here is the zombie part!  Although the lady bug is mostly dead it has now become the slave of the wasp larva.   Whenever anything comes near it, the lady bug thrashes about to scare off any potential threat to the larvae. It isn't until the wasp larvae becomes an adult and flies away that the lady bug finally dies.

Wow!  These kinds of stories occur throughout nature and here is where I talk religion.  I cannot even begin to imagine how this life cycle story could just occur by chance.  Why would a practically brainless bug like a wasp decide it is a good idea to plant it's egg inside a lady bug?  Why would this act lead to the lady bug's zombification so that it protects the wasp larvae from attackers.

God has to be a player in this whole divine dance.

Fr. Fred 

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