Fifth Sunday of Lent, Year B
- How do you identify yourself? As you speak to others, what identity of yours do you usually convey (nationality, race, religion, gender, occupation, orientation, or others)? How do you live out your identity as a child of God?
- The surprising entry of some Greeks – curious to “see” Jesus – at the Passover festival suggests the ever-expanding reach of the One who now draws all nations and all peoples to God. How aware are you of others in the LGBTQ/ally community who do not share other parts of your identity? Do the “Greeks” in the Gospel inspire you to cross boundaries and engage others unlike yourself? What prevents you from seeking the face of Jesus in some peoples or nations?
- How does the gospel paradox – “unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain, but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest” – inspire you to embrace your calling or purpose however difficult that may seem?
- As “the hour” approaches, we see a more vulnerable Jesus – one whose “soul is troubled.” In this part of the Gospel, Jesus struggles with his identity as witnessed in the prayer dialogue with Abba God. As you dwell on these verses what has been the greatest challenge to your identity as an LGBTQ person or ally? Have you ever asked to be “saved from this hour?” What emotions or feelings stir up within you as you hear Abba God respond, “I have glorified your name, and I will glorify it again?”
- At the end of the Gospel passage, Jesus says he will “draw people” to himself. What parts of your personality or identity are inviting or welcoming? In which areas do you feel the need to grow so as to best serve God?
- In today’s first reading, YHWH says, “I will put my Law in their minds and on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people… All of them, from the least to the greatest, shall know me for I will forgive their misdeeds and will remember their sins no more” (Jeremiah 31: 33-34). As an LGBTQ person/ally does such a revelation comfort and strengthen you? How can you preach this Good News – or be or service – to others in the LGBTQ community who for various reasons may still identify as the “least” because of harmful rhetoric, customs, traditions or theology?
Negotiating one’s Catholic and LGBTQ identities can be challenging. Even at a time of increasing societal acceptance of sexual minorities, boundaries between faith and sexual identity may still persist.
In the film, below, Fr. Greg Greiten, pastor of St. Bernadette Parish in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, offers a message of support for LGBTQ Catholics struggling with their identity. He closes with the uplifting words of St. Catherine: “Be who God created you to be and you will set the world on fire.”