June 21, 2021
by Molly Mattingly
Creighton University's Campus Ministry
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious
Lectionary: 371

Genesis 12:1-9
Psalm 33:12-13, 18-19, 20 and 22
Matthew 7:1-5

Praying Ordinary Time

A brief bio of the Jesuit, St. Aloysius Gonzaga.

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

The portrayal of today’s parable that sticks with me is from the 1999 stop-motion film “The Miracle Maker.” Before I saw it, I had always imagined Jesus sternly warning me, “Don’t tell other people what to do until you’ve got it right yourself!” I also imagined a person with a two-by-four somehow sticking out of their eye, which didn’t make any sense. How would that even happen?!

In the film, as Jesus tells the story with good humor to a crowd, the animation portrays two carpenters. The first pauses his work to remove an irritant from his eye. The other, carrying a thick beam over one shoulder, insists on helping his friend. He turns around, swinging the beam with him and knocking several things over as he tries to get into a good position to “help.” Jesus and the crowd laugh as they picture the slapstick scene, with the silly arrogant man who didn’t think to put down the beam before helping his friend. This portrayal helps me imagine the parable because, while it illustrates the potential destruction if I don’t recognize my own blindness, it also gives me permission not to take myself so seriously. That, in turn, helps me to be open to learning and making amends when my blind spots are revealed to me.

Finally, in this portrayal, the thing causing the person’s blindness (the beam) is a lot of work to carry around! It looks heavy and unwieldy - indeed, almost like a cross. I like that in this image it is possible to set the beam down. Maybe we don’t always know how to set it down, if we’re even aware of it at all. Until we can do that, I think, it is better to just be present and trust that God will help our friends with their splinters just as God will help us to set down our wooden beams.

Open My Eyes” by Jesse Manibusan

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