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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, March 7, 2010

By Sharon K. Perkins
Catholic News Service

March 7, Third Sunday of Lent

Cycle C Readings:

1) Exodus 3:1-8a, 13-15

Psalm 103:1-4, 6-8, 11

2) 1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12

Gospel: Luke 13:1-9

It's a very human inclination: the tendency to hide when one is ashamed, afraid or embarrassed. When we're children, hiding often begins as a game, whether it's peekaboo or hide-and-seek. But sooner or later, the game takes on more seriousness as we learn to conceal ourselves -- sometimes quite skillfully -- from anything we perceive to be an inconvenience or a threat.

When I was about 10 years old and wanted to escape chores I disliked, I would climb the ladder to a backyard treehouse and hunker down where I thought no one would see me. But I also remember an incident in which I thought I had hurt a favorite aunt's feelings with a foolish remark. The next time she came to visit, I hid outside in some shrubbery for over an hour, just to avoid the embarrassment of facing her! And what child hasn't tried to hide the evidence of wrongdoing to avoid a deserved punishment?

Unfortunately, we carry those tendencies of subterfuge into our relationship with God. In Moses' case, he had good reason: The glory of God was so overwhelming that it was believed that no one could see God's face and live. But Scripture also gives us the examples of Adam and Eve, who hid from God amid the garden's dense foliage to avoid facing the truth and consequences of their disobedience. At best, we find ourselves hiding from God in our abject inadequacy -- at worst, we hide from God in our sinfulness. Either way, we're not really fooling anyone, least of all God!

The good news is that God never hides from us. In the words of the psalmist, God is always "revealing" his ways through mighty deeds and disclosing his merciful love through countless kindnesses to us. But in today's Gospel, Jesus has harsh words for those who delude themselves and hide from their own need for repentance.

If we really want to see God's face, we must cease fooling ourselves, as St. Paul says, about our own tenuous security, "lest we fall."

Lent is a particular season to remember God's boundless mercy toward us. It is also an invitation to come out of hiding -- from ourselves, from one another and most of all, from God.


In what way have you been fooling yourself about your own need for repentance? What sin or failing have you been hiding from the healing love of God's mercy?


"Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God" (Exodus 3:6).


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