March 3 – White as snow
Isaiah 1:10, 16-20
Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom!
Give ear to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomor′rah!
Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes;
cease to do evil, learn to do good;
seek justice, correct oppression;
defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.
Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.
If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;
but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
People today and throughout salvation history tend to turn towards God only when they are in trouble, or when they need something from Him. Isaiah is warning the people of Sodom and Gomorrah (which is symbolic for all people who do not believe in God and follow His ways) that they need to hear the word of God and listen to His teaching. Isaiah, the prophet, is also pointing the people to the sacrifice which will be coming of Jesus Christ. At the time, they did not understand who was coming to save them, and many today are still not willing to accept that they have been saved.
Washing ourselves clean refers to our Baptism and the washing away of original sin. When sin is removed, it allows the Holy Spirit to dwell within us and He helps us to turn away from evil. The Holy Spirit also guides us to learn to do good since our appetites often cause us to pursue a partial good rather than our true good. Through the sacrament of Reconciliation, we are offered the mercy and forgiveness of Jesus, which gives us the opportunity to again turn away from evil. We need to look at sin the way the Lord sees sin, and our eyes will be opened to all of the evil that is in our world. We will be motivated to seek justice for others who are oppressed, treated inhumanely, and unable to defend themselves.
We are bloodied by our sins before the Father, just as Christ was bloodied during His scourging. The Father is holy, and anything that is not holy cannot be in the presence of the Lord. When we place the sacrifice of Christ between us and God, our sin and blood is washed away, and we become white as snow or wool.
During our lives, we are the ones who have to choose where we stand; to be willing and obedient with Jesus standing before us, where we will be welcomed into the kingdom of God, or we can refuse Him and stand alone without Jesus. If we choose this path, our sins and our behavior will stand bloodied and naked before God and we will be devoured by the sword. Therefore, choose to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, be made pure by the perfect sacrifice of the Son and through the sacrament of Reconciliation.
Lent in Action:
Ask for forgiveness through the sacrament of Reconciliation before Easter.
God my Father, Thank you for your Word which guides me to live a good life and turn away from evil. Help me to learn from the mistakes of the Israelites, and do good works because it is pleasing to You, not to gain favors for myself. Show me where there is injustice in my own family so that I can fight to correct it. Wash away my sins with the blood of Jesus Christ, so that I may be white as snow. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.