Today’s scriptural reflection is from Br. Ernest Miller, FSC, who is Brother of the Christian Schools and Vice President of Mission, Diversity and Inclusion at La Salle University.
Today’s liturgical readings can be found by clicking here.
Today we celebrate the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, six weeks after the great Christian feast of Pentecost. Though situated outside the major liturgical seasons, Ordinary Time is anything but ordinary or insignificant in our faith life. This liturgical time affords us participation in the everyday life of Jesus of Nazareth.
In today’s scripture readings, we hear how the prophet Ezekiel, the apostle Paul, and Jesus all witness to perseverance, despite stumbling blocks, when they delivered difficult but critical messages to divided, wayward communities of faith.
In Paul’s Second Letter to the church at Corinth, he situates his audience—who, like us, were everyday people—in the life of Christ. Sharply contrasting himself with the bombasts who had challenged his authority and previously driven him out from the community, Paul writes: “I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ,” for God’s “power is perfected in weakness.”
This past Pride Month marked the fifth anniversary of the horrific attack at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, where a senseless loss of innocent life occurred on June 12, 2016. Like many previous perpetrations of violence against LGBTQ people everywhere, the sense of weakness, vulnerability, and helplessness that followed the events of that day remains palpable even years later.
In the tumultuous five years since that day, through a presidential administration that pursued a nonstop onslaught on the human and civil rights of LGBTQ people, it is grace and mercy that has allowed all those impacted to overcome hardship, persecution, and calamities. Paul’s message to the Corinthians lays bare how our identity in Christ can order our steps amidst such bias, hate, and discrimination.
Our celebrations of Pride are constitute an ordinary time during which LGBTQ Catholics can celebrate two aspects of their identity, a double consciousness, to be a queer within the Catholic community and to be Catholic within the queer community. Far from presenting itself as a fatal contradiction, Paul reminds us that dualities like these pour forth from the infinite grace of God. It is precisely in our weakest moments, he insists, that the power of God’s grace is strongest and nearest to us: “for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
On this 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, let us be open to the wonder-working power of God’s grace. Let it be said once more:
The strength of God’s grace is sufficient!
—Ernest J. Miller, FSC, July 4, 2021