Today’s reflection is by Kevin Molloy, a Bondings 2.0 contributor whose bio can be found here.
Today’s liturgical readings can be found by clicking here.
In today’s liturgical readings, we hear themes of life, abundance, justice, equality, love. The Book of Wisdom reminds us that our God is the God of Life, the God of Justice. God never diminishes life, because it would betray the wholesomeness of God’s creation. Because of that love of life, St. Paul tells us that Jesus came to teach us how to bear one another’s burdens so that might live this life in equality. What better message for Pride can there be?
And yet, these sentiments feel so topsy-turvy this June.
Even fifty-two years after the riots at Stonewall, there seems to be death-dealing all around us. So far this year, the Human Rights Campaign has recorded at least 29 instances of anti-trans murder, violence directed primarily at trans folks who are BIPOC. There are still nearly 70 countries that legally criminalize same-gender relationships. The Trevor Project reports that this past year, 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide. Some Catholic circles still promote reparative or “conversion” therapy, sometimes irreparably harming LGBTQ youth. The Supreme Court continues to carve out legal space for religious institutions to treat LGBTQ people like second-class citizens. The USCCB during last week’s Religious Freedom Week asked U.S. Catholics to pray for a defeat of the Equality Act, while actively using fear-mongering language.
In the midst of all this, how do we celebrate Pride? How are we to feel the love of a God who is just, who promises life, who desires equality? We celebrate Pride because God is close to the struggle. Our Christian roots are found in resistance—in resistance to death. In resistance to first century Rome’s culture of death that valued one class of people over another, Christ came so that all might have life and have it abundantly. His message and mission are still the same today.
Christ was among those beaten by police at Stonewall in 1969, and Christ is with those who are murdered today. Christ is with those youth who think, sometimes because of what church leaders say, that they are alone in this world and despised. Christ is close to those parents who are denied the gift of a child because their love isn’t seen as real. Christ is close to the child whose parents believe sexuality can be reversed. Christ is near to the LGBTQ person excluded by their church, their country, their family, their friends.
To know this, we need look no further than the wisdom of today’s Scripture, which calls us to reject death-dealing in favor of life. We are called to imitate God, who Wisdom tells us did not make death, who fashioned all things that they might have being. The Book of Wisdom tells us that all of God’s creatures are wholesome. All of God’s creatures are wholesome. LGBTQ people are not created by God faulty. LGBTQ people are not created by God to be fixed. LGBTQ people are created wholesome by God for life and life abundant.
When the whole Church builds a relationship with this God of wholesomeness, we will stop treating our LGBTQ family like defective straight people. We will celebrate the wholesome creation we are. When we seek Jesus, we will find him close to the LGBTQ people who are marginalized, excluded, and targeted. Close to him, we will listen to our LGBTQ family, hear the experience of those who have been wrongly condemned for so long, feel the pain of those who are scorned, and commit to meeting their needs. In meeting Jesus amongst the LGBTQ community, we can see the transformation of humanity from otherness to oneness—the equality God intended for humanity.
When we finally take seriously Christ’s call to love one another as we love ourselves, we will see a radical shift from death-dealing to the fullness of life. Celebrating the fullness of life in the face of death is not always easy. But when Scripture so beautifully reminds us that God is the God of life, close to those who are treated unjustly, calling all of Their wholesome creatures to equality, we can’t help but feel a fire burning within us. When we’re reminded that this is the good news of Jesus Christ, we can’t help but feel empowered to build a more just Church and world. When we meet this God within ourselves and Christ amongst our LGBTQ family, our mourning is turned into dancing and we celebrate Pride with joy. Thanks be to God.
—Kevin Molloy, New Ways Ministry, June 27, 2021