The “Glory Days” Are Our Daily Lives Now

Today’s reflection is by Bondings 2.0 contributor Michael Sennett, whose brief bio can be found by clicking here.

Today’s liturgical readings for the Fifth Sunday of Easter can be found here.

As a kid, I recall adults often voiced their desire for the “glory days.” Thinking back to my childhood I can hear the reminiscent tales of sports, politics, religion, technology—you name it. Back then, their stories echoed through my head as an enigma. Now, as an adult in my mid-twenties, I understand their inclinations. Even the notion of change in my stable word is enough to make my skin crawl.

To clarify, change has ushered in an abundance of good, and will continue to do so. Advancements in the rights of women, Black and Brown people, disabled folks, the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants, refugees, and many marginalized groups are a testament to this. Nevertheless, accepting change in my own life does not come easy.

Currently awaiting the assignment of a new pastor as a parish employee has been an emotional rollercoaster. In the midst of this major workplace transition, I’ve assumed the (totally unhelpful) role of a Doubting Thomas. Being a Catholic transgender man raises many questions for me. What if the next pastor is transphobic? Will he support our efforts to minster to LGBTQ+ Catholics? Can I be visible around him without fear of repercussion? Scenarios like these have been weighing on my mind. Initially I was consumed with guilt for my pessimistic thoughts. Then I remembered the multitude of instances in which LGBTQ+ Catholics have been discriminated against. As unfair as it may be to fear someone I’ve never met, I also can’t feign ignorance to the trauma of queer Catholics and my own experiences.

Today’s Gospel reading, however, was a slap in the face for me. When Jesus revealed to his apostles he would only be with them for a little while longer, they surely felt dismayed at the prospect of ministry without their leader. He had guided and protected them. How would they serve without him? But Jesus instructs his disciples with a new commandment: “love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” Unconditional love triumphs over doubts and uncertainty. Loving through fear reveals the presence of God.

Instead of allowing my concerns to overwhelm me, I need to react in love. Drawing lines of division only invites Jesus to stand on the other side, with the isolated party. At the end of the day, all staff members share the common mission of spreading the Gospel and bringing the love of God into the parish community. A warm welcome to the new pastor, getting to know his gifts, and meeting him where he is are essential to cultivating loving discipleship. The leadership of the current pastor also makes this process possible. His support has helped me in growing my confidence as a Catholic trans person, setting the stage for me to find my purpose and passion. Creating the same environment for the next pastor is an act of love. St. John’s gospel reading, written by the disciple whom Jesus loved, also emphasizes the glory of God: “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.” Glory is not an abstract of the past—it exists now. The “glory days” are our daily lives, and the best is truly yet to come when we can rejoice with the Lord.

Apprehension in the face of change is normal. Yet we must not permit our fears to overcome our ability to love. As disciples we are compelled to love without restriction, defeating the darkness of uncertainty with the Light of Christ. We no longer have to relive the joy from the days of the past—we should revel in the glory of the present and look forward to the promise of the future.

Michael Sennett, New Ways Ministry, May 15, 2022

2 replies
  1. Tracey Horan
    Tracey Horan says:

    Thank you for your courage to choose love over fear, Michael. Your decision to model welcome is a blessing. Peace to you in this transition!

    Reply
  2. Maurice Richard
    Maurice Richard says:

    Dear Michael, Thanks for sharing your wisdom. As a pastor, I too wonder what will the parish be like?, who will I get to know first?, will they like my style of pastoring?
    Uncertainty always brings insecurity. And your right, getting to know the pastor, praying for him and for the adjustments he must go through in a new parish. It’s like the spider dropping but not quite landing at first, scouting the area before landing. Love, trust and kindness go a long way to help someone land, be it the pastor or the team member. You’re in my prayers.

    Reply

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