Mea Culpa

'Lost and Found' by Greg Olsen. Used with Permission.
“Lost and Found” by Greg Olsen. Used with Permission.

November 20, 2022

March 18, 2021
Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent

John 5:31-47

Jesus said to the Jews:
“If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true.
But there is another who testifies on my behalf,
and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true.
You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth.
I do not accept human testimony,
but I say this so that you may be saved.
He was a burning and shining lamp,
and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light.
But I have testimony greater than John’s.
The works that the Father gave me to accomplish,
these works that I perform testify on my behalf
that the Father has sent me.
Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf.
But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form,
and you do not have his word remaining in you,
because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent.
You search the Scriptures,
because you think you have eternal life through them;
even they testify on my behalf.
But you do not want to come to me to have life.
“I do not accept human praise;
moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you.
I came in the name of my Father,
but you do not accept me;
yet if another comes in his own name,
you will accept him.
How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another
and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?
Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father:
the one who will accuse you is Moses,
in whom you have placed your hope.
For if you had believed Moses,
you would have believed me,
because he wrote about me.
But if you do not believe his writings,
how will you believe my words?”

Beautiful day today. Sunshine, blue skies, cool temperatures – what a day to enjoy.

I can’t. I’m cranky. I’m cranky because I didn’t get any sleep last night. Why you ask? Because the Holy Spirit came to me as I was reading this Gospel and said, “Do you think you embody this?” “What?” I asked.

I stand here every week and tell you about how holy this time of reconciliation – Our Lenten Season. How in our sacrifices and our goals to become better that we will emerge victorious at the other end.

And you listen and try.

But I have to say, that today I stand here a failure. That’s what the Holy Spirit was questioning. Not how YOU are doing but, rather, how I am doing. And it isn’t good.

Last Thursday, after this very Mass I spoke to my mistakes I make in my ministry. And somewhere in there a young woman – Andrea – came to me after Mass as I was saying good day to the attendees. She asked if she might speak to me. I was happy to speak to her. After everyone had exited, I went over to her. She was emotional and she said she had been affected by what I had said. (I think people think way to highly of clergy.)

As I preached about how I miss the mark so often because I don’t hear what God is saying it struck a chord with her. She felt she was trying very hard, but that God wasn’t speaking to her. That’s not a sidewalk conversation. So, I told her we needed to talk. I had meetings all afternoon and asked if she might come in the next day to talk. She said she was leaving back to Mexico City the next day. So, I gave her my email. And I went to my meetings.

I haven’t heard back from her.

I gave her my email? I’m not surprised the Holy Spirit was upset with me. I’m not surprised that I couldn’t sleep. I had failed miserably at something I thought I was really gifted at and that is ministry. What a miserable attempt. A young woman cries out to talk – and I go to my meetings.

In the middle of the Gospel today we read, “The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf.”

Jesus says our works and our words are our testimony. I stand here convicted. If that was my testimony, Andrea, I am sorely lacking.

If anyone out there knows Andrea from Mexico City, please apologize for me. I don’t think I will sleep well until I can speak to her and beg her forgiveness. If you know her ask her to reach out to me. Let me make my sacrifice for her.

For each of you I pray that you don’t allow the world to intrude on your opportunity to evangelize to an Andrea of your own. We must come out of Lent better. We must become more.

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