The first reading, from the book of Isaiah says, “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. Throughout his earthly journey, He speaks to many people who are weary with sin. He speaks with understanding, love and forgiveness.
Sins have a way of making one weary and could easily become a trap of doubt and despair. Every week at mass, we are reminded that we have a Savior who loves us and who wants us to return to Him. When Jesus died on the cross, it wasn’t just for all of the people alive at that time; it was for you - today. It was for us - now. 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. This way has three common names in English: confession, penance, and reconciliation. It is called confession because we confess the things that shame us, and to how we have hurt God, our neighbor and ourselves. It is also called penance which is a deep desire to be forgiven. Don’t we all desire to be forgiven and reunited with the ones we love? It 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? 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?