I didn't expect a full house today when I walked through the side door of St. Columba Cathedral on my way to confession.
Cardinal Mooney High School's graduating class, rehearsing for Baccalaureate tonight, were giggling, chattering, fidgiting and just about bursting out of their skin. As I waited in the confessional line (yes, there really is a line for confession), I watched the students process down the center aisle. Not a single one could hide their feelings. They were confident, scared, excited, nervous, worried, anxious, jittery, and uncertain about everything except one fact: tonight they will process down that aisle into the end of life as they know it.
We disciples had our own procession going on as well. Those of us waiting in the confession line had more practice at hiding our feelings, but believe me, we had 'em too, right down to that certainty of an end to life as we know it.
But isn't an end to one thing also the beginning of something else?
I'll admit, the commotion made my examination of conscience a little more difficult, but watching those students, their emotions stirring about in all different directions, suddenly gave me hope for the future. And as each disciple emerged from the confessional lighter, having left life as we knew it behind on the confessional floor at the feet of our Lord Jesus, I found myself rejoicing in the new life I was about to grab with both hands when I walked through the door and sat before Father.
I offered the first prayers of my new life with joy in my heart, and a few extra for the kids, hopeful not just in my own new beginning, but in that new beginning for the graduating class of 2009, emerging from church bursting with anticipation, ready to grab onto those new lives that await---yep, with both hands.