Come and Drink the Water of Life

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

In the Easter season, the Sunday liturgical readings are from Revelation, full of mystical visions and obscure passages about the end of this world. And there are also descriptions of worlds that feel resonant with infinity—the new Jerusalem, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.

But even with readings about endings, we are still in this world as the city opens up again. Here in Chicago, as I bike past Lake Michigan’s gay beaches, seeing men with their arms around each other, teens rollerblading down the lakefront path, and ducks and geese everywhere, I feel like I want to stay here in this world.

The liturgical time between the Resurrection and the Ascension is a heightened version of the reality we all live in. Our time on earth is temporary. Jesus knew this to be true more than anyone—he was about to leave, body and soul. So he gathers with his friends, knowing they will soon be parting ways. What Jesus wanted to do with those few precious days on earth was hang out on the beach, have dinner with his chosen family, share some intimate moments with Thomas, and tell people to love each other.

But I’m also reminded of other possibilities. The city just turned on the water fountains in Chicago again. In spring and summer the green-painted fountains by the lakefront run nonstop — you don’t have to press the button like you normally would for a drinking fountain, just bend down and drink.

As another summer rolls around, a cool drink sounds good, but what else are we thirsty for, particularly as queer people?

A few weeks ago, I listened to a podcast with Jesuit priest Fr. Paddy Gilger, who talked about the spiritual practice of bringing our real desires to God.  Not the things we think we’re supposed to want, but those for which our hearts truly yearn. This question is an ultimate one.

Desire is at the heart of Ignatian spirituality and the Christian life. Our desire for God fuels us. We desire what is to come. And we desire to find God here in this world, too.

Facing our desires is also part of the work of coming out. We have to name the things we desire, and make the choice to pursue them. To allow ourselves to be released from the shame that would tell us that the things we want are too strange, too impractical, too sexual, too controversial. Too much in whatever way.

The statement that God is active in our desires is not an invitation to play some kind of guessing game: “I think I want this, but I must really want something else, something more godly.” It is an invitation to be truly honest. There God can meet and transform us.

Let’s bring all our desires to God, the One who says to come and drink the water of life, from a fountain that’s always running.

Mac Svolos, New Ways Ministry, May 29, 2022

3 replies
  1. Joseph
    Joseph says:

    Thank you, Mac, for raising the subject of desire. The only reference to it in the Catholic Catechism Index refers the reader to Concupiscence. No wonder so few celibate clergy are prepared to discuss human desires.
    No wonder some find it hard to live lives of celibacy if all our natural desires are seen as forms of “concupiscence”.
    It is almost as if they don’t know or don’t appreciate the advancesmade in Psychiatry, Psychology, and Anthropology the past 150 years.
    Thank God, more & more people recognise that human gender is not binary.
    The Catholic Church needs to come out of the Middle Ages with their primitive scholastic Psychology & a 21st century where simple medieval categories don’t fit the empirical evidence.
    I’d like to read & hear more on what is being done to bring priets & future priests up to date with developments in the Study of the Human Person.
    Blessings
    Joseph Quigley

    Reply

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