by guest blogger Charlotte Ward
I had the privilege of going to Confession with my boy friend’s sister-in-law, Meredith, for her First Reconciliation as a convert. It was just so neat to be able to go with her to Confession — like I’ve done since I was eight or nine — and see someone who is 27 or 28 do it for the first time and come out with that burden lifted off of them. I can’t contain my excitement of being new and having that new life. Praise God she will be coming into the Church in May.
I had been reflecting on that and when I went to Mass the next morning, the Gospel reading was John 11:1-45, the raising of Lazarus. I’ve heard it so many times and remembered that Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days, and it smelled pretty bad. I always have an image in my mind when I think of it because I am very sensitive to smell. I thought, how did he stand in front of that tomb with the smell coming out of it?
When the priest was giving his homily he said that Jesus stood in front of the tomb and said, “Lazarus, come out.” According to the priest, in that moment, Lazarus’ veins filled with blood and his eyes filled with light and his ears with hearing and everything came back, and he came out.
When the priest was describing it that way, I thought how that is what Confession is like. We are in this tomb, smelly. The Lord should not want to come near to us but yet that’s where he has come.
If you look back in the Gospel, Jesus is heading straight into danger. The Lord goes straight into the city where they don’t want him. The disciples all say,”Let’s all go with him to die” because the Jews pretty much said, “If you come back we’re going to kill you.” But Jesus attitude is, “Yes, I need to go back because Lazarus is asleep and I need to wake him up.” He’s dead, which is what we are when we sin, but God says, “No, you’re just asleep. I need to wake you up.”
I was so overwhelmed with the power of Confession and what a gift it is. It was so neat that this was Meredith’s first Confession. Praise God!
Charlotte Ward is a teacher at the Highlands Catholic School in Irving, TX, leads a young adult ministry and is a talented writer, musician and evangelist.