“When Jesus Came”
by Andrew Glasser
When Cathy got home from school, Jesus was just finishing up with her mom.
“Who’s that?” Cathy asked.
“That’s Jesus,” her mom replied.
“Oh.” She should have recognized Him, she thought. She was suddenly very nervous. What was He doing here? Would He punish her for not recognizing him? Could she remember any bible verses to recite?
“We’ve been talking about you,” Cathy’s mom said, “among other things.”
The “among other things” didn’t soften the blow. She already knew she was probably going to hell- she’d been told- and now Jesus was here in her kitchen talking about her with mom.
When would she be able to defend herself? Tell her side? Certainly Jesus would know if she lied. But how could she tell the truth?
“Is He staying for dinner?”
“You don’t have to talk as if He isn’t right here,” Cathy’s mom said.
Dammit, Cathy thought. She looked at Jesus. He looked right back through her. She had to tell the truth.
“I’m not sure I believe in you,” she began. “No offense, I mean, you’re here in my kitchen and all, and I don’t mean to make you mad. I didn’t expect you to be talking to my mom. But now I guess I believe, that you’re really here, ’cause I can see you. I’m just not sure that I believe the other stuff. Is it true?”
Jesus was silent. She looked at him, He looked at her, His eyes, His expression were non-committal. She looked away.
“I do the best I can.” She sat down. Her mom was no longer there. “I guess that’s no excuse. Let me tell my side of the story, at least.”
Jesus still didn’t say a word. And so she told Him her side of the story. She let all of her fears, all of her insecurities, fall out. She confessed everything.
Everything she had ever heard, been told, about Jesus, worried her now, and she was fishing for something. She talked about sin, and lying, and believing. She talked about being forced to believe, as if that was an excuse for not doing it. She didn’t know. “Is it?”
“I didn’t know my mom knew you personally. She said she did, but I didn’t know that’s what she meant.”
Cathy went on about how she knew it was wrong to drink alcohol and to smoke pot. She explained why she had sex. She couldn’t lie, she liked it. More honestly, she was looking for love. She didn’t understand why that meant she was going to hell. She searched the eyes of Jesus as she confessed for a sign of what she was sure He already knew, searched for some kind of confirmation that He knew, that these things were or weren’t a sin. She got none.
“I know my mom thinks I’m irresponsible, that I shouldn’t be going out with ‘that boy,’ and that I’m going to have his baby and then go to hell.
“I’m sure she told you about my piercings and tattoos. It doesn’t say those things are a sin in the bible does it? Oh, I guess I should know, but I don’t read the bible as much as I should. It’s hard. So does it? Does it say anything about piercings and tattoos?”
Jesus was a sponge.
“Did you talk to my dad too,” she went on. “He’s not the nicest guy. I think he spoiled the concept of a “Father” for me. Can I call you something else? Not that I want him to go to hell. Maybe I should just shut up. He believes in you. He believes in you a lot. But I guess you know that. I thought maybe it didn’t matter. But I guess it does. Look, I didn’t know, but now I know.”
Now she knows. She said it. But she expected a reaction so she would know. She thought about it and realized she wasn’t going to get one. She didn’t know after all. It was just as if Jesus had never come. As if Jesus had never been in her house, never sat in her kitchen.
After he was gone, she couldn’t remember if she had made any promises, or if she had to keep them.
“Jesus,” she said.