“Wash yourselves clean!” the prophet demands! So clean that the scarlet becomes like the new fallen snow!
And then he tells us how:
By putting away our misdeeds. By ceasing to do evil. And by hearing the cry of the poor.
Put away your misdeeds
The two moments that open our every experience of reconciliation are contrition and confession. Feeling so bad about my sin, being so completely convinced of how wrong it is, that I am willing to imitate Bartimaeus by the side of the road: “Jesus, have mercy on me a sinner!”
And the second moment follows: to confess not only my sinfulness, but my sin. To say to Christ through his Priest, I, Jim Moroney, committed this sin, and I repent and beg God’s mercy.
But these two moments must be followed by the commitment not to sin again. “I firmly resolve, with the help of thy grace…to amend my life.” Not to turn back like the pig to the trough of dissipation and darkness. But to turn away from all that filth and follow the Lord.
And so the final moment of my reconciliation, the moment in which I am really put back together by God is when I return to hearing the cry of the poor, to living the virtuous life. Having been cleansed from my sin I return to living the life of grace and by that grace to loving others as he has loved me.
We do all this intently, purposefully and with concentration during Lent: putting away our misdeeds, with a firm purpose of amendment and a determination to dedicate our lives to loving all the widows and orphans the Lord might send us.
We do it intently now, that we might continue to do it for the rest of our lives.