Mea Culpa

Thanks to televised Senate hearings, our list of expressions has been enriched with phrases such as “Back off!” and “Moderate their greed.” When confronted with his own shenanigans, the star witness cried out, “Mea culpa.”
Image source: Streams of Living Water
“Mea culpa” is Latin for “my fault.” According to Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia, “[It] is not simply a confession of sins, but rather an admission of one’s flawed nature and the willingness to make amends for it.”

We read a similar “mea culpa” in Luke 19. When Jesus went to Jericho, Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector, “wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.” (Verses 3-4, NIV) During those times, people hate tax collectors. They did not apply for the position. They bought it. But Rome did not offer salaries. They just asked the tax collectors to remit a certain amount to the empire coffers and they were free to keep whatever they imposed over and above. The system itself bred corruption. Imagine if you are the chief of these tax collectors. That was Zacchaeus’ position. The Bible even pointed out that he “was wealthy.” (Verse 2) Filthy rich would be an apt description. So people hate him more. Thus, he got the surprise of his life when Jesus invited Himself to his house: “I must stay at your house today.” (Verse 5)

Image source: Holy Ordinary
Then he said his “mea culpa” in verse 8: “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Not only did he admit his shortcomings, but also he made amends. That’s a true “mea culpa.” It is not just mouthing, “I am sorry” or “My bad.” It is acting on our repentance. That is something that not only people in government but also everyone in the country need to learn. 
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We are assured of forgiveness if we do so. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

My take? Have you ever said your “mea culpa?”


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