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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

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Isaiah 1:10, 16-20
Psalm 50
Matthew 23:1-12

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the impact of repentance

"Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow; though they be crimson red, they may become white as wool." —Isaiah 1:18

No matter how scarlet our sins are, we can "reason together" with the Lord (Is 1:18, RSV-CE), "set things right" (Is 1:18), and wash ourselves clean by repenting of our sins (Is 1:16). We repent by:

  1. hearing "the word of the Lord" (Is 1:10),
  2. putting away misdeeds from before God's eyes (Is 1:16),
  3. ceasing to do evil (Is 1:16),
  4. learning to do good (Is 1:17),
  5. making justice our aim by redressing the wronged (Is 1:17),
  6. hearing the orphan's plea and defending the widow (Is 1:17).

In effect, we repent by obeying the Lord (Is 1:19). Obedience has to do with our ears and His eyes, with stopping evil and starting good, and especially with doing justice. Repentance is not just a decision. It is actually several decisions leading to a new lifestyle. Repentance so changes ourselves and our world that God's kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven (see Mt 6:10).

Therefore, the Sacrament of Reconciliation is reason to celebrate. We can understand why the angels and saints in heaven rejoice over one sinner who repents (Lk 15:7, 10). Through repentance, your Lent can change the world.

Prayer:  Father, may my next Confession result in hundreds of people ceasing to do evil, learning to do good, and caring for the basic needs of thousands.

Promise:  "Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, but whoever humbles himself shall be exalted." —Mt 23:12

Praise:  Marcia has the honor of seeing the joy and freedom on the faces of teenagers after receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation while on retreat.

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 11, 2008

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