Image courtesy of Disney
Well, there’s a new Pinocchio movie streaming on Disney Plus. Has anybody seen the new movie? Alright, good, a couple of people have. Well, it’s not much different than the old movie. Has anyone seen the original Pinocchio? Very good. Has anybody heard of a wooden boy named Pinocchio? Alright, good, you’ve heard of that. So, Pinocchio, I think, is just a profound and amazing story, and I want to talk about that today in terms of how we can encounter God’s love, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, and what He’s calling us to be, to be really and truly the people he’s created us to be.
At the beginning of the movie Pinocchio, there is Geppetto, so Geppetto is the older man, the father figure who wants a real boy so much in his life that he begins to carve out this puppet, and he names Pinocchio, which means boy out of wood. And there’s a profound moment where he goes to the window, and he kneels down, and he looks at the brightest star in the sky, and he prays; he makes a wish, and he’s asking for his boy to become real, he wants to have a real child. And, of course, something beautiful happens, as Disney can only do, but through the window comes this blue fairy who comes into the room and goes up to Pinocchio and kind of spreads her magic on him, and he becomes a real boy; he can walk and talk. But she says to him, she says, “Pinocchio, be brave, be truthful, be unselfish. So long as you do that, you will always remain a real boy.” Be brave, be truthful, be unselfish. I’ll talk more about that in the reading we have that mentioned.
But this desire to become a real little boy. Unbeknownst to Disney, there is probably an image of the Trinity in the scene of Pinocchio. So Geppetto plays the role of God the Father; he wants each of you to become his real boys, girls, sons, and daughters. The blue fairy also represents the Holy Spirit coming in to make God’s will be done. And then, after Pinocchio begins to move and talk and speak and walk, the blue fairy says I have someone I want to assign for you, and this is going to be your conscience, and the name is Jiminy Cricket. Think of what the initials of Jiminy Cricket are. Got it? JC, right? Or Jesus Christ. So, in the south, they would say, “Ah, Jiminy Cricket, ” whenever they would mess up, instead of swearing.” So that’s where that came from. So, we have this image of the trinity, Geppetto is God the father, the blue fairy is the Holy Spirit, and Jiminy Cricket is Jesus Christ. Pinocchio represents each and every one of us. Hopefully, we desire to become the real boys, girls, and humans that God has created us to be. But as the story continues, as the plot continues, we discover that once Pinocchio has that freedom to go out into the world, he begins to be tempted, and every time he’s tempted, it’s like another string that he’s moved by and he becomes more and more a puppet, and less and less a real boy.
And we all know anytime Pinocchio lies, what happens? His nose grows, ok? So, kids, don’t lie because it will happen to you. Always tell the truth. So, then we have the scene, and it’s so funny how they tone down the new scene in this movie because they drink root beer. But Pinocchio goes off to Pleasure Island, and before you know it, he’s indulging in one thing after the other, and he begins to lose his real boyness, and he starts to become what? Not a puppet, not a donkey, in the original movie, a jackass, so this is what happens to us when we sin. When we sin, we become jackasses; we become less than human. That’s what sin does to us; it makes us less than human. And not only does it make us less than human, but we begin to get tied, and we begin to be bound, we begin to become puppets. We’re controlled by Satan, by someone other than God.
Well, the good news is we hear in the Psalm today, Psalm 146, “The Lord sets captives free, the Lord sets captives free.” And so, when we find ourselves bound up by sin or tied up by some temptation or addiction or whatever it may be, the Lord sets captives free. And so, he can do it for you. He can do it for me. Pinocchio is supposed to be brave, truthful, and unselfish. In the second reading from 1st Timothy, we hear, “But you, a man of God.” So Saint Paul is telling everyone, “You man of God, a woman of God,” that’s who you are. You are a man of God, a woman of God. We are beloved sons and daughters of the Father. “You, a man of God, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.”
So, these are the maxims that Saint Paul is giving to us if you want to be children of God and to be real boys and girls and pursue righteousness. We all know what righteousness is in our lives. In the original movie with Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio says, “What’s a conscience?” Jiminy Cricket says, “It’s that small voice you hear in your head that you don’t want to listen to; that’s a conscience.” And sometimes that’s true for us. We all have this conscience; we know what is right from wrong. So, pursue righteousness with devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. He says, “compete well for the faith and lay hold of eternal life to which you were called.” So, God is calling you, has called you to eternal life. He wants everyone to get out of pleasure island, this island of slavery, and inherit eternal life. He finally says, “keep the commandments without stain or reproach until the appearance of Jesus Christ, and I charge you before God who gives life to all things.” God gives life to all things. Just as this wooden boy was lifeless and the blue fairy or the Holy Spirit came and gave him life, God wants to give each and every one of us life. He wants to breathe His life into you.
And so, as we celebrate this Sunday, I think it’s good to think about ourselves and our lives. What are the strings that are pulling us? How are we enslaved in some way by sin? How have we become jackasses because of the sin we’ve given in? Know that Jesus wants to release us from sin and make us into real boys and girls. So, keep the faith and always let your conscience be your guide. Be brave. Be truthful. Be unselfish. So long as you do that, you will always remain a real boy or a real girl.