A naive interpretation is to say that we are to simply stand by and pray while evil takes its course, that “when someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one as well”. But I don’t think that anybody wants to do this. We are members of a church that has, intentionally or not, historically wronged us. What mercy means here is not that we tolerate mistreatment, but rather that our faith is a rallying cry.
When we live our lives in the way Jesus teaches — truthfully, honestly, and congruently — we become the versions of ourselves that we were divinely created to be. We free ourselves of the pressure to fine tune our narrative in the mind’s of others and open up space for God to work in our lives.
Helping others while minding our own safety could be a tricky business, and the rule usually is only help when it’s safe to do so. However, being visible to others doesn’t have to be that difficult. It only takes a small gesture
We encounter God through our relationships with one another. Part of that means learning how to live in our bodies, how to live our genders; figuring out how our bodies relate to other bodies, figuring out how to live and navigate our sexuality fully. It’s hard, it’s vulnerable, it’s messy, it’s ever-changing – and it’s so beautiful and important, and the rewards of letting down those defenses are so great. In knowing ourselves and coming to know others, we come to know God.
For me and many other queer Catholics, there have been many moments of feeling like an outcast in the place that I used to call home. There was a period of time where I asked myself, “Are those words, ‘Come, follow me,’ still meant for me as a queer Catholic?
The erosion I sense used to feel like disintegration of my self. Now I can see how much it was the world that saw me as inherently disordered and broken that was slowly being eroded away. Grain of sand by grain of sand, the sin of the world being taken away.
I would encourage us all to consider the John the Baptists in our own lives. Who are the people who speak against the grain, whom you fear to listen to lest you be tarred with the same brush? Who are the people whose messages cause discomfort, not because they are false, but because they are true?
I’m not sure if your experience was like mine while in high school, but my group of friends always sat at the same table in the same seats during lunch time. For the most part, everyone else did the same thing, too. Every now and then though, things would become askew: one group would sit at a different table prompting the entire lunch room to reshuffle.