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“When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, He said to him, ‘Do you want to be well?’” (John 5:6)
As I waited for my turn for Confession, I couldn’t help but think of this passage in John’s Gospel. The phrase “Do you want to be well?” weighed on my heart and forced me to ask myself that very question: Do I want to be well? Do I desire to be healed? Am I going through the motions of Confession to truly participate in the Sacrament or simply just to have a clean conscience and then go about my day? Do I want to be well?
Jesus’ mercy waits for us in the Sacrament of Confession. He patiently waits for us to call to mind our unworthiness and, embracing the virtue of humility, admit that we are in dire need of Him—such a simple but monumental task. See, the tricky thing about Confession is it is on our time. Yes, Jesus seeks us out, however, it is our responsibility to take the steps home to the Father. The question is: do you want to? Do you want to be well?
In the scripture passage, John clarifies that Jesus “knew that [the man] had been ill for a long time,”. It was not news to Jesus that this man was sick. In the same fashion, it does not shock Jesus that we sin. The thing is, just like the crippled man was resilient in his efforts to be healed in the pool of Bethesda, so must we in our seeking of the Lord’s forgiveness in Confession. The difference between us and the crippled man is the fact that we know where to go; the man had limited options and, as many of us do, looked to other means to heal him, to fulfill him, to treat his illness before He found the Messiah. The good news is that we have a Divine Physician who longs to heal us! We, as Catholics, have an extraordinary opportunity to be healed by our Lord and Saviour through the Sacrament of Confession. So my question again for you is, “Do you want to be well?”
-written by Gabby Douglas, 2021-2022 Alumni