A lectionary reflection for the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle B, in light of the recent Supreme Court decision on marriage equality.
All of creation is good. None of it is bad or destructive.
No human beings are ontologically ordered towards evil.
For he fashioned all things that they might have being;
and the creatures of the world are wholesome,
and there is not a destructive drug among them
(…Pause for a moment here, and remember that the church of Corinth, to whom Paul is writing here, was perpetually plagued by factionalism and divisiveness.)
We should strive to excel in love and generosity. When we give from our abundance, it is not so that we will have less, but for the sake of equality.
Straight married couples, don’t feel threatened that this ruling takes something away from you. Instead, rejoice that you can share the abundance of blessings that come with marriage with your gay sisters and brothers: for the sake of equality.
Not that others should have relief while you are burdened,
but that as a matter of equality
your abundance at the present time should supply their needs,
so that their abundance may also supply your needs,
that there may be equality.
As it is written:
Whoever had much did not have more,
and whoever had little did not have less.
Jesus’ power nullifies both death and impurity. The woman afflicted with vaginal bleeding was impure, but when she touched Jesus, her impurity didn’t go into him; instead, his power went into her. The family of the synagogue official was convinced that his daughter — whom he loved enough to ignore the official stance towards Jesus — was dead; but where humans saw death, Jesus saw life. In both cases, Jesus overturned mere human logic; he restored both the woman and the girl to full membership in the community.
Tradition has it that our gay sisters and brothers are impure, and that their love is ordered towards death because it is not procreative. Jesus nullifies this human logic. To imitate him, we must restore them to full membership in our community.
So he went in and said to them,
“Why this commotion and weeping?
The child is not dead but asleep.”
Shoutout to Richard Beck, who illustrated the usual flow of purity for us at a Theology & Peace meeting a few years back, and pointed out this interpretation of this miracle.
See also James Alison’s discussion of Peter’s dreams and his baptism of Cornelius in Acts 2, for example in Towards global inclusion of LGBT people within Catholic communities: a new theological approach.
There are two valuable reflections from the Jesuit Post:
What “persecution” language really points to is the church’s marginalization. For decades a central power in American culture, the church now experiences itself being forced more and more to the sidelines.
Nana & Dot were a couple for 50 years. And they had to pass as sisters for all of it. . . . Nana & Dot were also the strongest influences on my Catholic faith growing up. Their home was a place of prayer and pious devotion. They were Eucharistic Ministers at their parish, bringing communion to home-bound and hospitalized elderly. They taught me to pray the rosary. More than that, they showed me the values of love, fidelity, and mutual care. And, just as they adored that I was an altar boy in my youth, they would be deeply happy that I’m just months away from my own diaconate and priestly ordinations in the Jesuits.
I read that last one, and I think “they bore good fruit.”
These were my reflections as I listened to the Liturgy of the Word on Sunday. If I had the pastoral care of a congregation, this is not the homily I would have preached. This is a controversial issue about which Catholics acting in good faith and good conscience can disagree, and while the recent court decision is Good News for some, it disturbs and frightens others. I am deeply grateful for the pastoral, non-divisive homily that I did hear on Sunday, and I pray that we can all practice empathy, compassion, love, and communion with each other.
Gracious God, we pray for your holy catholic church.
Fill it with your truth;
Keep it in your peace.
Where it is corrupt, reform it.
Where it is in error, correct it.
Where it is right, defend it.
Where it is in want, provide for it.
Where it is divided, reunite it;
for the sake of your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.