Daily Reflection
June 21st, 2004
Tamora Whitney
English Department
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, religious
2 Kings 17:5-8, 13-15a, 18
Psalm 60:3, 4-5, 12-13
Matthew 7:1-5

As one of my sidelines (it’s not really a hobby since I sometimes get paid for it) I play guitar and sing Irish folk music.  I recently performed at the local renaissance faire.  Saturday it rained, but Sunday it was sunny and warm.  Many of the performers, by the end of the day, were starting to look pretty pink, and I admonished one or two to stay out of the sun or to apply or reapply sunscreen, as it seemed they were heading for a nasty burn.  I was feeling pretty smug myself, having slathered on quite a bit of SPF 45 before I came to the faire.  But I forgot to reapply during the course of the faire, and I completely neglected my feet.  At the end of the day I was pretty pink around my collar, and my feet were badly burned on the toes and between the straps of my sandals.  Even though I was trying to be helpful to my fellow faire performers, I should have taken care of my own skin as well.

The gospel today seems pretty harsh.  Jesus calls his own followers hypocrites and tells them to look to their own inadequacies before they condemn others.  He tells them to fix themselves before they’ll be able to help others.  But he seems to be saying that they should fix themselves so they will be able to help others.  In the first reading the people were condemned for their sinfulness, but they were given ample opportunity to change.  Prophets were sent.  The people were told their ways were not of the Lord and that they needed to change, but they did not.  Those prophets were not accused of inappropriate judgment; they were doing God’s work.  Jesus’ disciples are likewise doing God’s work.  But before they can help others, they need to get their own lives in order.  Hypocrisy is inappropriate, but helping others reach a good goal is not.  Once the disciples get their own lives in order, they will be indispensable to the cause.  But they have to get themselves together first before they’ll be capable of helping others.

Jesus says, “Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged.”  This does not tell them not to judge at all, but lets them know that they will be held to the same standards.  They need to look after their own salvation first.  Then they need to help others along the way. 

My sun burnt toes are not on the level of live or death, salvation or damnation.  They’re a red and sore reminder that I need to take my own advice.  I need to get my own life in order and look out for my own salvation as well.  If I can get myself in line, then I’ll be in a better place to help others.

Click on the link below to send an e-mail response
to the writer of this reflection.

Let Your Friends Know About This Reflection By Sending Them An E-mail


Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook