Scripture: Lectionary 232. Tuesday, Feb. 26: Isaiah 1:10, 16-20. Psalm 50:8-9;16-17;21.23. Matthew 23:1-12:
“Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow; though they be crimson red, they may become white as wool.” Isaiah gives us this consoling message in the first reading. He speaks the words of God to us. In thinking about the passage, we may wish to spend some to review our own sins through an examination of conscience and then follow up on this by going to the sacrament of reconciliation. Our sins will be remitted and our hearts will be cleansed just as Isaiah says in this remarkable imagery. I love the passage and have always associated it with the confessing of my sins. It is refreshing to have the feeling of being free of them and becoming cleared of past infidelities. A sense of peace follows once we have participated in the sacrament of Reconciliation.
The confessing of our sins is essential to the sacrament. Together with a contrite heart and a firm purpose of amendment we are strengthened by the graces of peace and forgiveness. The sacraments are institutions of the Church’s tradition based on a spiritual and deep reading of the Scriptures. These sacraments are meant only for us humans who realize we cannot do the commandments and precepts without the help of God’s grace given to us through these visible signs seen in the sacraments.
Our preparation for the gift of Reconciliation is making sure we leave our gifts at the altar as we read in Matthew’s gospel, and first go and be reconciled with those whom we have offended. The recalling of our sins helps us to be prepared. Once confessed we close the door of the past and, so to speak, open a door into the future. We have finished another chapter in our book of life; close it and move on without worrying about the past. The scarlet letters and crimson reds have been removed through the graces of the sacrament. It is quite appropriate to go to confession during Lent not out of “obligation” but out of thankfulness for God’s loving care of each one of us and for our own humility and honesty in admitting the scarlet and crimson in our life. Amen.
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.