For the four Sundays of Advent, Bondings 2.0 is featuring Scriptural reflections by LGBTQ Catholics.
Today’s reflection is written by Dwayne Fernandes, Director of Spirituality, New Ways Ministry, and a regular Bondings 2.0 contributor. The liturgical readings for the Third Sunday of Advent can be found by clicking here.
If you would like to share some of your reflections with other Bondings 2.0 readers, please feel free to post whatever responses you have in the “Comments” section of this post.
In today’s gospel, John the Baptist begins to prepare the people for the joy of the coming of the Messiah with the simple and pressing message, “Repent and believe in the Good News.”
The people respond at once. “What should we do?” they ask (Luke 3:10). The tax-collectors probe, “Teacher, what should we do?” (3:12). The soldiers, as well, hungry for the joy of the Good News prod the Baptist: “And we, what is it that we should do?” (3:14).
With each question, the Baptist responds taking into consideration who it is that is framing the question. He directs the crowds to share their cloaks and food (3:11). With the tax collectors, he demands that they stop collecting more than what is prescribed (3:13). Soldiers are charged to cease their extortions, false accusations, and be happy with their wages (3:14).
Such diverse answers to the question “What should we do?” suggests that each person now has a distinctive role to play in God’s salvation; that God permits and even asks for individual cooperation in the divine plan, and that the unimaginable joy of encountering the Messiah is available to all.
As the Synod on Synodality is underway, the LGBTQ community may be asking the question: “And we, what is it that we should do?” The synodal process of consultation invites each of us to respond proactively to God’s offer of salvation based on who they are.
This offer of inclusion to be church doesn’t end there. In the first reading, the Prophet Zephaniah pledges: “God has removed all judgment against you; God is in your midst and you have no further misfortune to fear” (3:15). In the Psalm, the Prophet Isaiah inspires – “Be confident and unafraid, because your strength and courage is God” (Isaiah 12:2). In the Letter of Paul to the Philippians, the saint emboldens, “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Through these readings for this Sunday of Advent, God is stirring and electrifying the LGBTQ community to be “filled with expectation,” to repent of anything we have done which harms ourselves and others, and to believe in the joy that is to come in the Incarnate Word.
We can hear God proclaiming – “For too long, you, the daughters and sons of the LGBTQ community have been ostracized from my promises. But no more. I am in your midst. Rejoice! And again I say Rejoice! The threshing floor has been cleared and like wheat, you will be gathered into my barn (Luke 3:17). Through my Son, Jesus, I will rejoice over you with gladness and renew you in my love. And I will sing joyfully – because of who you are!” (Zephaniah 3:17).
—Dwayne Fernandes, New Ways Ministry, December 12, 2021