3rd Sunday of Lent, C, 2016
How would you describe yourself? Think for a moment (pause about 15 seconds).
How many of us would describe ourselves as did Pope Francis when asked the same question: “I am a sinner.”
Well, of course, we know we’ve all made mistakes, hurt others, and ignored people’s legitimate needs. In other words, in these or in other ways, we all sinned. But to admit it freely and humbly, to say that defines who we are, that’s another thing completely.
The only way we can expect and experience God’s mercy is to admit we are in need of it.
In today’s Gospel, people were talking about the Galileans whose blood Pilate mingled with their sacrifices. At that time such catastrophes were often thought to be a punishment for personal sin. Maybe they were judging the deceased, blaming the victims and at the same time judging themselves to be either sinless or not being such great sinners. Jesus heard and gave another example of people being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Were they more guilty than everyone else? NO! Jesus then issues a call to repentance.
In today’s 2nd reading, Paul was addressing an attitude of some in the church at Corinth. Since they had accepted Jesus as their Savior and were baptized, they thought they were automatically saved. Paul points out to them that the Israelites who had all the signs and gifts necessary to be saved but were nonetheless struck down because they complained, grumbled, and were not pleasing to God. They rested on their laurels and did not bear fruit, much like fig tree in the Gospel.
It’s one thing to profess that I am a sinner in need of God’s mercy. It’s another to act on it, seeking mercy and forgiveness and then bearing fruit.
“Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall.” *
* 1 Corinthians 10:12