We cannot fall back into our old ways:
A leper came to him (and kneeling down) begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once. -Mark 1:40-43, NAB
Imagine this: your ten-year-old son just came inside from playing with his friends. He has grass stains on his jeans, mud on his shirt, and dirt all over his face. He is as dirty as little boys can get. After giving him a bath and putting on a fresh set of clothes, he runs down to the kitchen to get a snack. Two minutes later, he has ice cream all over his shirt.
What does this little story have to do with today’s verse? Well, even as “mature adults,” we are often like a little kid that can’t seem to stay clean. As soon as we clean ourselves up through Reconciliation and Penance, we sin again. Like a child, we can’t seem to stay clean.
Jesus came and healed this leper, but He also gave the man a stern warning. Christ, undoubtedly, told this man to live a good life and not sin again. Do we hear Christ telling us the same thing? After we reconcile ourselves to Christ, do we follow a path that will keep us there? Do we do everything we can to not sin again?
When we approach Jesus through the Confessional, we are made clean again, and we must strive to remain that way. Christ’s forgiveness is a gift, and we should not take it for granted. As our sins are washed away, we must take the path toward holiness and leave the stains of sin behind.