Have you ever messed up and wanted to make things right? In today’s first reading, we hear that very kind of language. Only the one who wants to set things right is not the one who messed things up in the first place. It is God Himself. “Come now, let us set things right, say 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.” God wants to set things right with you. Lent is a great time to do that!
Jesus often warned against haughtiness and hypocrisy. We hear it very clearly in today’s Gospel reading from Matthew 23. In referring to the scribes and the Pharisees, He said, “Do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice.” Now let me tell you, as a person who “preaches” every day on the radio, this saying of Jesus cuts right to the heart. But it isn’t only applicable to priests, pastors or radio evangelists. It also applies to you.
By virtue of your baptism and the fact that you call yourself a Christian, these words of Jesus should cut right to your heart, too. You see, whether you like it or not, people are watching you. They want to see if you are living out that which you profess. In essence, you are a role model. It may not be a job that you want, but it is a job that has been given to you by God. And it is a very tough gig. In fact, it is impossible, apart from the strength and grace that God provides. But as God provides, we can lead by example.
Father, help us to show others by our words and deeds your power and grace. As we lead by example, may we always be leading others to you. Amen.