From today’s Old Testament reading, from Isaiah: ‘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’.

St Augustine said in one of his sermons: ‘So present yourself to such a head as a body worthy of him, to such a bridegroom as a worthy bride.… This is the bride of Christ, without stain or wrinkle. Do you wish to have no stain? Do what is written.… Do you wish to have no wrinkle? Stretch yourself on the cross. You see, you do not only need to be washed but also to be stretched, in order to be without stain or wrinkle; because by the washing sins are removed, while by the stretching a desire is created for the future life, which is what Christ was crucified for’.

We are cleansed as we come to the sacrament of reconciliation, and firmly purpose amendment of our lives. There is also an oblique reference to the washing of baptism; the ‘stretching’ is the working out of Christ’s precepts in our daily lives, accomplished through God’s grace building on our own efforts.

May God bless you in all that you do for Him today.