Today’s reflection is from Bondings 2.0‘s regular contributor, Kevin C Molloy. Today’s liturgical readings can be found by clicking here.
Like most people who desire justice for the LGBTQ community, for the last few weeks I have been reading and re-reading Pope Francis’s statement on civil unions for LGBTQ families. And like so many others, I have been riding a rollercoaster of emotions. At times, I’ve been ecstatic, disappointed, hopeful, doubtful, even simultaneously unimpressed and floored. I’ve read commentary after commentary. I’ve heard from loved ones that they were thrilled, and from others that their joy was dashed at Mass, listening to priests contradicting the positive tone of the Pope.
But in all of this obsession, I have missed the sacrament. I have missed God’s grace being made present in our midst.
Because: Wisdom “makes her own rounds, seeking those worthy of her.” (Wisdom 6: 16, from today’s first liturgical reading)
In placing all my trust in one man, even if that man is the pope, I missed God. Wisdom—who is the God of Love—does not make herself known in skepticism, exclusion, denial, fear, ignorance, or hatred. Wisdom makes herself known in patience, kindness, humility, and truth.
Placing too much trust in one man’s ambiguous (albeit important) statement limited my view of the ineffable work of God, of Wisdom, of Love. The response of living prophets, preaching God’s Love in the face of injustice has been swift and loud. I feel gratefully, joyfully overwhelmed by the passionate statements from Francis DeBernardo, Marianne Duddy-Burke, Jamie Manson, Xavier Montecel, Eve Tushnet, and others.
While folks can fruitfully debate what Pope Francis meant, what consequence his statement will have, and where the Church continues to stand, as long as people continue to defend excluding LGBTQ folks from the Catholic Church and from full equality in church and society, Wisdom will continue making her own rounds, seeking those who are worthy of her, graciously appearing to them and meeting them with solicitude.
Over the last several years, I’ve identified my ingrained inclination to defer to religious authority figures. Raised Catholic, formed by incredible pastors and teachers, I grew comfortable looking first to priests, bishops, and popes to speak God’s justice and radiate God’s Love. While I am fortunate enough that the pastors in my life remain welcoming and inclusive, I recognize that limiting my gaze only to people with official authority has closed me off to the fullness of God’s Wisdom.
So I ask: Who is approaching the LGBTQ community with true care? Who is graciously meeting queer people on the margins of society and the church? Who is found worthy by their love, patience, humility, and truth?
I cannot help but conclude, deep in my bones, that it is not those who defend limiting the legal protections of a marginalized people. I cannot pretend to find Wisdom, with her caring concern for humanity, present among those who stoke fear and division, hatred and exclusion. But when I see LGBTQ and Ally Catholics stand up and say the God of Love compels us to not only welcome, but to celebrate LGBTQ people with a full recognition of the sanctity of their lives and love,
I am flushed with an overwhelming sense of love, strength, energy, passion for justice, and hope. As a Christian, I find myself thirsting for God on a daily, hourly, moment-by-moment basis. My thirst is not quenched when I see people belittled, excluded, dehumanized, deprived love, rights, safety, or even life. My thirst is quenched, however momentarily, when I recognize Wisdom on her rounds. My thirst is quenched when I hear LGBTQ Catholics and their allies, in the face of injustice, saying “LGBTQ people: we love you, you belong, God revels in your love.”
In the love, acceptance, and truth of Wisdom I find my joy. When hope and joy are rooted in Wisdom—in the Love of God—then no doubt, no exclusion, no discrimination will prevail. Only love.
–Kevin C Molloy, New Ways Ministry, November 8, 2020