October 28, 2012
A former student of mine was preparing for his college interview. He was given a list of possible and usual questions that the representatives of the schools were likely to ask. Among the questions was a familiar one and so he asked me, wondering what I would say. “If you could meet anyone in the world, living or dead, who would it be?
The student knowing that I had a degree in Russian history thought that I might say Stalin or Lenin or maybe even Peter the Great. I think that I stunned this young man, who happens to be Jewish, by telling him that I would like to meet Jesus. “Samuel” was worried that he might be subject to a long religious indoctrination. Instead of preaching to him about the “good news”, I told him that I would like to ask Jesus a few questions about history.
What does Jesus think about what has happened throughout history in His name?
What does Jesus think about what has been said by His followers using His name?
What does Jesus think about what His Church has preached and done in His name?
Certainly, the Only Begotten Son of God must at times look down from the Heavens and shake His head in wonder as well as disappointment when He observes what Christians say and do in His name.
A dear friend of mine has a theory, which while contradicting Scripture and theology, is for some a plausible reason for the way people act. He believes that it is impossible for people to have been created in the image of God, because if we were, humanity, and certainly those who call themselves Christians would not say the things that they say and act in the manner that they do. I have not accepted his theory, because I know and see the good and selfless acts that Christians have and continue to commit on a daily basis. And yet history has indeed recorded not only the lives of saints, but the lives of sinners as well.
In particular, I wonder what Jesus thinks about gay people and choices in life. Not the famous gay people, such as Anderson Cooper or Rosie O’Donnell, although I know that Jesus cares about them as well, but the average Joe and Jane who live ordinary lives, similar to everyone else, except for the fact that they want to love or are in love with someone of the same gender. Some people reading this reflection might immediately retort that of course we know what Jesus thinks about gay people, it is in the Bible. Actually, it is not. There is not one single sentence recorded in the Gospel about the thoughts of Jesus concerning gay people. Jesus never mentions gay people. Why is that? Jesus did bring up many other topics in His short life upon the Earth. He preached about love and forgiveness, about hypocrisy and being kind in word and deed to others, especially to those less fortunate. Jesus, did you forget about us LGBTQ people?
Of course not.
Jesus knows that I was created as a gay man and has witnessed me struggle and fight against my own nature, the nature He created, because that is what society has frequently demanded. And yet it is a silly, unproductive, and even blasphemous fight. Certainly Jesus is more satisfied with me on the days that I comfort the afflicted and feed the hungry than on the days that I obsess about my being gay.
Being a follower of Christ is about the transformation of the soul, mind and actions. It is not about changing the things that can’t be changed such as the color of my eyes, my gender or my sexuality. Jesus asked St. Peter only one question: “Do you love me?” I believe that Jesus will have the same one question to ask me. And so, I guess that I really do not have any questions to ask of the Lord. I feel His presence daily in my life as a gay man and a man in love with another man, a relationship that the Lord Himself has blessed and continues to bless every day.