|By Fr. Brendan McGuire
Pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, San Jose and Vicar General for special projects, Diocese of San Jose. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is Me, Lord!
Third Sunday of Lent – February 28, 2016
When I was growing up with my brothers and sisters, we would play in the house and something would break. Mum would ask, “Okay, who did that?” The typical chorus of response was, “Not me. Not me. Not me.” We all would say it. Or if there was a chore to be done like washing the dishes or taking out the trash, and my Mum would forget whose turn it was, she’d ask, “Whose turn was it to do this?” And we’d go, “Not me. Not me. Not me.”
We knew when it was our turn; and we knew when we broke something or did something wrong but we rarely confess on the first time. Most always, we would skirt it first. And then later, came around to it.
It is sort of funny to look back at ourselves as children but in adulthood we expect something different. We expect when we ask somebody if they have made a mistake, they say, “Yeah, I did that; or yeah, that is what I did.” Often times, we carry over our childish way of avoiding and evading responsibility into our adulthood.
It is no longer cute in adulthood. In our own spiritual lives, in a special way, it becomes significantly problematic. Lent is a time for all of us to stop saying “not me” and in our own hearts and minds say “That was me, Lord. That was me.” We humbly stand before the Lord and say, “I did that.” Then we seek to address what wrongs we have done or the shortcomings and failures to do good were lost. That is what the whole journey of Lent is about —is to say, “It’s me, Lord. It’s me.” The readings today all speak of this humility before God, recognizing that it is “I” and not somebody else but that it is me, Lord.
Moses, the murderer is in the desert hiding and God appears in the burning bush. Moses knows what he has done and out of humility, he appears before God and takes off his sandals to appear before the burning bush. He recognizes this moment is a special moment and repents.
In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he pleads for them to live and to learn from their past mistakes; to learn from their ancestors’ past mistakes; to be humble before God and to demonstrate that faith in concrete actions of goodness and fidelity to God.
In the gospel, Jesus addresses the false truth: when bad things happen to good people they were considered bad people and therefore God was cursing them. So with the witness of these Galileans who were followers of Jesus, that Pilate had killed. They said, “Oh they must not have been good.” But Jesus reminds them this is wrong. Look into our own hearts first and see what is it that we do. If we do not do that, we will be judged on that. A reminder that we are called to be humble before God and to recognize our own sins and say, “Lord, it is me;” and ask ourselves, what is that one thing this week that I must do?