This is a syndicated post from Daily Meditations with Fr. Alfonse. [Read the original article...]
Friday of the Twenty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
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Jesus told his disciples a parable: “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?”
It’s not uncommon practice for Catholic parishes to ask priests from nearby parishes to help out with their confessions and Masses.
Confession time. A few years back, I was asked to celebrate a weekday Mass at a parish nearby downtown Dallas. It turns out their priest had a family emergency and he needed someone to fill in for him. I agreed to help and immediately got into my car. When I arrived, just in the nick of time, I was struck at how few people were in attendance. There were only 16 people sitting in the pews.
I couldn’t believe it. I guess I’m spoiled. I’m used to seeing at least two hundred people at daily Mass. I kept wondering why so few people were there. And then I understood.
When the time came for the readings, I saw an elderly man see-saw his way out of his seat, struggle to get up the stairs and, favoring one hip, as he limp his way towards the podium. His physical appearance was even less flattering. His clothes were old, his hair was a matted to his head and his pants were jacked up well above his waist. I thought to myself, “Oh my goodness! No wonder why so few people come to Mass here. They need to get someone young, vibrant and elegant up here to read. That’s how it’s done. This is depressing!”
Unfortunately, this poor creature reminded me of Quasimodo from the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
After Mass, I went straight back to the sacristy to change. To my surprise I saw this same man waiting outside for me. He asked if he could have one minute of my time. I was surprised. At first I felt convicted. Out of all the people who wanted to speak to me, why him? For a minute there, I thought he may have heard my thoughts. But that was impossible, right?
Well, what came out of his mouth was as sweet and sincere as could be. He spoke to me of how he suffered and struggled, but how his faith was as strong as steel. He communicated to me how he wished he could offer up more of his life to the Lord and how he could be more like me, a holy man of God.
I nearly broke down in tears.
I had to guard my eyes and look away, otherwise this holy man would see what a superficial fraud I’d become.
This was a lesson from God. It was a good lesson for me to learn. Unfortunately, it seems to be a lesson that must be repeated often before it is finally understood.
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own? (89)