For me, the kicker in this weekend’s readings is the very last line of the Gospel: "the whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” Loving God with all that I am and loving my neighbor as myself. These are not just suggestions for Christ seekers...these are commandments that the law and prophets depend on. I would assume that it challenged the prophets to spend time reaching out to the margins, while also tending to the interior spiritual life that roots us in the love of God. As for the law, I imagine a world where laws are created out of love for each of us and our neighbors...a world where no one is left behind or left out...and a world that hears the cries of the children separated from their parents.
In other words, we most definitely have to acknowledge our place on this earth and cooperate with the systems we live in, but it doesn’t let us off the hook from trying to transform it. We cannot become so heavenly minded we are no earthly good.
Today, as we hear/read the selected scripture from the lectionary, a clear theme emerges from the text: the Lord GOD will provide all the comfort EVER. While that sounds wonderful and does provide hope in my life, I face what many LGBTQ+ people face; struggles with mental health.
The starting point is the assumption that queer people are good, holy, and capable of love exactly as they are. We won’t be tackling Scripture passages that have been used in non-affirming ways or Catechism references which imply otherwise.
In times of great mental distress, heart-wrecking grief, or that deep-seated loneliness, I must be careful not to fall into self-destructive behaviors or thoughts. On the contrary, meditation allows one to dip below their humanity to touch their soul connection with God.
I felt like if I joined the priesthood, I would be betraying my community in some way. I also began to realize that part of me wanted to join so that I could run away from my sexuality.
I don’t mind tax collectors and prostitutes getting in before me. It adds up. They’re people who aren’t afraid to own who they are and what their lives are really like. And then there’s me.
They can be incredibly useful, bestowing a sense of belonging or understanding to concepts or feelings that once confused or created distance.
However, this parable challenges us to look at the situation differently: not with our own needs and desires placed at the forefront, but rather those of our neighbors. By removing one’s ego from the equation, the grander scheme comes into focus: all of the laborers were able to acquire meaningful work and take home the promised compensation of a day’s wages. Similarly, the facts of this circumstance can be applied to our personal relationships, both with God and others in our community. Let us not resent the happy occasion when our neighbors endeavor to draw nearer to Christ, regardless of the hour, and are rewarded generously for their efforts. Instead, let us celebrate the fulfillment of God’s goodness wherever we can, united as a community that embraces compassion and upholds the dignity of all.
Unity that requires us to put away our trauma for someone else’s comfort is not healing. What would conversations in our churches look like if we stopped talking about division and started talking about oppression?