“The Lord God has given me a well trained tongue, that I might know how to speak to the weary.” Jesus knew how to speak to the weary and reached out to them again and again. This week in scripture, he speaks to the woman who anoints Him with oil from her alabaster jar, to Peter who denies Him, to his disciples as He washes their feet, as He heals the cut ear of the man who came to arrest Him, to the women on His walk to Calvary, to His mother as she stood at His feet, to the thieves on the cross, and to us. His speaks with understanding, love and forgiveness.
I know what it is like to carry the burden of sinning against God, others and myself. I am consumed by my sin. How could I have done things differently? Will everyone find out? What will they think of me? What relationships have I ruined? How will everyone react to me now? My sins have a way of making me weary.
I know my sin could easily become a trap of doubt and despair, but I also know that I have a Savior who loves me and who wants me to return to Him, and return to who I am – a child of God. When Jesus died on the cross, it wasn’t just for all of the people alive at that time; it was for me - today. It was for you - today. He died on the cross to free us from sin by offering us forgiveness. Like the thieves who hung beside Him, we have two paths to take. We can refuse His sacrifice and deny what He offers us. Or we can realize who He is, what He has done for us and ask for forgiveness.
Asking for forgiveness is difficult for many people; however our Church has designed a way to help us. It is called confession, because we put a name to what shames us, and to how we have hurt God, our neighbor and ourselves. This sacrament is also called penance which is a desire to be forgiven. Don’t we all desire to be forgiven and reunited with the ones we love? This sacrament is also called reconciliation because that is what we want most, to be reconciled to God, our neighbor, and ourselves.
In our church Jesus hangs on the cross above the altar. His arms are open. His arms are waiting to embrace us. Jesus was and is always willing to forgive us. Will His gift go unopened? This last week of Lent we have an opportunity to open this gift. Tuesday, April 7th at 7:30 pm, our parish is providing a reconciliation service with over 20 priests, who will put on Christ to hear our confession and help us reconcile ourselves to Him. Our Church is also providing the opportunity to reconcile ourselves after the 9:00 am mass on Tuesday, and on Saturday at 3:45 pm.
Aren’t we tired of carrying around our sin? Jesus had words for the weary. Will we hear them? He has given us such a marvelous gift by his death and resurrection. Will we be like the bad thief on the cross and deny this gift or will we be like the good thief and open it?