Since most people who are gay feel that they were born that way and cannot change their orientation how do we accept members of our church family who are gay? They are rejected by society and faith communities. How can we be more like Jesus and accept those who are rejected?
Accepting sinful behavior in other people does them no good. Pointing out the sinfulness is not rejecting them. It’s rejecting what is evil. We owe each other the truth.
Because some people with same sex attractions feel that they were born with such inclination doesn’t make it so. There is no proof for such an assumption. Such people assume this because they can’t remember ever feeling any other way. What we do know is that such people have not identified with the parent of their sex. There can be many reasons for this. The prevailing spin that our culture puts on this dynamic is that the culture must adapt to the need they perceive they have to live as though the behavior that such feelings suggest is good and ought to be the norm for them.
The prevailing spin that our culture suggests to all people is that everyone has a right to sexual gratification. Never mind about context; let pleasure be the guide.
The greatest fallacy in all this derives from the conclusion that if anyone suggests otherwise, he or she is passing judgment and is rejecting such people outright—as when you ask how we can be more like Jesus and accept those who are rejected. Jesus never accepted sinful behavior. He did accept sinners who were repentant and He always loved them—even in their most sinful moments.
I ask you, what is the context in which Jesus matters to us? What is the most important fact that we know about Jesus in relation to us? Quite emphatically it is Good Friday!
Good Friday is not only the day on which God revealed more about Himself than at any other time in the history of creation, it is also our context as followers of Jesus. It is on the cross that Jesus shows us how to live. It is there that He shows us what constitutes love: sacrifice. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me (Mk 8:43).”
That God would love His creatures enough to become one of them and then suffer and die for them is beyond our ability to fully comprehend. Yet to the degree that we can appreciate what it is to suffer, to that degree we can appreciate such love. Each of us is given the opportunity for gaining such appreciation through the crosses that He allows us to have. There are many crosses that people have which prevent them from engaging in normal married life and therefore, genital pleasure. Homosexuality is only one of many. It is only when we look at our human situation in its proper context: the context of Good Friday, that we can recognize our place in it. It is only through accepting the cross of same sex attraction and offering it as a pure oblation in response to His self-gift, that such a person will know the full embrace of His nail-scared hands.
It is when we accept the cross in our lives and encourage others to accepet theirs, that we are more like Jesus—not when we water down His expectations of us!
Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.