Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent

Today’s readings

Many people who have been away from the Sacrament of Penance for a long time have said that they were afraid to come back to the Church because they felt like their sins defined them.  That they walked around with some kind of scarlet letter on their persons.  I think this is the experience that Isaiah is getting at when he says, “Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow; Though they be crimson red, they may become white as wool.”

Our sins do not define us, but our repentance does.  And that repentance has to include a commitment to justice for those we have marginalized: “redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow.”  Our penance and our righteousness has to be approached in humility, remembering that those who humble themselves will be exalted.  Our repentance has its reward, as the Psalmist tells us: “To the upright I will show the saving power of God.”

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