Afternoon reflection: Learning to do good

This morning, in the Scripture reading at lauds, God spoke to us very directly, with the prophet Isaiah as His mouthpiece:

“Take your wrong-doing out of my sight. Cease doing evil. Learn to do good, search for justice, discipline the violent, be just to the orphan, plead for the widow. ‘Come, let us talk this over,’ says Yahweh. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

Isaiah 1: 16-18

Following the reflections of the past few days, in which we learned that God is always eager to forgive our sins, and that He accepts us for who we really are, here He comes once more towards us. We people have done wrong, but God is the one to suggest we talk it over. And then He makes an almost unbelievable promise: no matter how serious the sin is that we have committed, He will forgive them. But, God does expect something from us in return: in essence, that we do not sin again. And here, as ever, He nows us through and through: we must learn to do good. God invites us to do so. We must take an active part in repairing a damaged relationship.

Forgiveness, although freely given by God, does not come without a price. Like we saw yesterday, we must be truly contrite for the forgiveness to be of any value; and today we learn that we must work to avoid falling for the same sin again. Jesus tells us the exact same thing in the Gospel of John (8:11): “Go away, and from this moment sin no more,” He tells the adulterous woman. She has sinned, there is no question about that. But her sins are forgiven of she’ll sin no more.

There is a n image that some people have of the sacrament of Confession: Catholics, they think, can do wrong without any problem: they’ll just confess and all is well again. Luckily, things are simply not that unjust.