Jeremiah 18:18-20 / Psalm 31:5-6,14-16 / Matthew 20:17-28
“Come now, let us set things right, says the Lord: Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow; Though they be crimson red, they may become white as wool.” Can you think of anything more beautiful than allowing God to “wash us clean”? Even the very worst sins that human beings can commit, can be forgiven. God can fix it, if we let him.
Mothers can fix almost any stains their children get on their clothing, or on the carpets at home, too. How many parents have walked into their children’s room and discovered their child colored a new picture on the wall with crayons? That’s enough to make you see red! Parents often have their children “redress a wrong” too, by scrubbing the crayon marks off the wall. But, we get over being upset and forget about it after a while, because we love our children. That’s exactly the way God loves us too! Isn’t it awesome the way that God loves us? He really is our Father in heaven and we are his children.
In the gospel reading today, the scribes and Pharisees are like overly strict step parents. They have taken their place, as the “head of the household” and insist on respect and obedience from the people. Sometimes fathers can get carried away with their authority as the head of the household and expect their children to be a little too perfect as well.
Our priests, whom we call father, can also exert their authority and expect perfection a little too much with their own church family, especially with altar boys. Everything should look nice and go smoothly at mass, but not at the cost of hurting a child’s feelings over a minor mistake they made.
The majority of our priests, mothers and fathers live sacrificial lives of service to their families and communities though, without expecting any thanks or recognition for their efforts. They work quietly behind the scenes, at their jobs, their desks, or in the home serving those they love every day. It might seem like nobody appreciates them or notices their efforts, but God does.
Nothing is hidden from God, both the good and the bad that we do. He knows the truth about our lives. This Lent is a good time to take stock of the good and the bad in our lives though, and seek Christ’s forgiveness in confession, for he alone can make us clean again and give us a fresh new start this Easter.