“Catholic Women Preach,” an initiative which promotes preaching by women through an online video series, invited Petra Dankova, a Catholic lesbian woman from Germany, to offer a reflection on this Sunday’s readings (see her bio by clicking here). Today’s post highlights key portion of Petra’s homily, which you can watch in full by clicking here. The readings for today are Isaiah 25:6-10a; Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20; Matthew 22:1-4, all of which you can find here.
Dankova began by expressing the difficulty she had with the readings, including the Gospel verse “many are invited, but few are chosen” of which she asked, “What are we to do with that?” But rather than dismiss difficult readings or issues we may have with the church Dankova encouraged listeners to stick with questions and struggles as the way to finding God, and explained from own life:
“To stick with it is a feeling that I know well. My partner and I are asked all the time why do we stick with this Catholic Church? Isn’t it a horrible place to be a same-sex couple? Sometimes that’s true, and we cannot gloss over these moments, these parts of our experience with our church that may be painful.
“But in the same way, we also cannot deny that a church is a life-giving place of beautiful encounters, of really transformative experiences. . . I imagine that not only LGBTQ Catholics but many of us feel that sometimes the church is a place where we are well-fed and sometimes it’s a place where we go hungry. St. Paul, in today’s second reading, tells us that we can bear that when we are centered on God, centered on the one who strengthens us in all circumstances.”
Dankova also reflected on the debate and legalization of marriage equality in Germany, where she resides, that happened earlier this year. She was not stunned by the bishops’ opposition to equal marriage rights, as the discussion in Germany was relatively “quiet, polite. . .open, and really constructive,” but commented:
“But what stunned me was one official who declared that discussing same-sex marriage so much is really not appropriate because it is a marginal issue that does not deserve so much attention. That hurt because I think this sums us so clearly what many LGBTQ persons and families, and many others experience in our church. This feeling of being unimportant, of being overseen, of being expendable. We are reduced to a hotly debated issue, and the humanity of us [is] lost in this process. In the defense of a doctrine the lived experience of people for whom getting married is a major life experience, a major decision that shapes their lief, that is lost.”
Finally, to conclude, Dankova said she was reconciled with neither the daily readings nor with the church “as it is today,” but again invited listeners to stick with the difficulties because “we are all children of God, we are all fed by God’s love.”
—Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, October 15, 2017