November 23, 2014: For the Poor
“‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, a sick person or a prisoner whom we visited?’ ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for the least of My brothers, you did for Me.’” (Matt. 25:37-40)
Today’s Gospel reading ends the Catholic Church year, and fittingly so. In the end, we are judged on the quality of our love, and in particular, how we loved the lost and the least.
It helps me to remember that beneath ‘gay’ advances, protests and parades lie hurting persons who have struggled most of their lives to feel at home in their own skin as male and female. That is real poverty: to be alienated from the sexual duality which defines us as image-bearers. Shame, loneliness, heightened fears, and a host of options as to how one might best resolve his/her ‘poverty’ adds confusion to the mix.
Not helpful is our indulgent consumer-driven culture; sex sells everything, not unlike Ezekiel’s description of Sodom, a city that was ‘arrogant, overfed, unconcerned for the poor and unwilling to help them, prone to detestable immoralities’ (16:49). Similarly, our young people grow up in a culture that discounts the real fragmentation that underlies same-sex attraction. Instead, most ‘experts’ glibly assert a ‘born this way,’ morally neutral condition.
Affording persons struggling with gender identity very few answers, we urge them instead to sexualize their distress. On the Internet, kids discover a ‘gay superhighway’ where they can conjure and connect with any ‘fantasy lover’ they desire.
We no longer advocate poverty for a wounded generation. We longer seek to understand what is actually going on at the core of same-sex attraction. Why does a growing boy refuse his maleness and yearn for completion in a more apparently realized masculine being? Why is a girl vulnerable to the sensual overtures of an older female friend?
There are answers but we no longer ask the questions. Instead, we cry ‘peace when there is none,’ and generate a host of sexual options for resolving what remains: a frustrated boy or girl working out deep needs and wounds related to his or her gender identity. In the end, (s)he is seeking a source of love that will confirm that identity.
If we truly seek to be a community that goes after the lost and the least, we can begin by knowing that the ‘new’ answers about homosexuality are not working. No matter the new liberties touted by schools and laws and celebrities: kids that have grown up poor are not fooled. Gay identification and practice has not set them free.
The Church has the answers. We must activate them. Freedom for the gender broken can only come from a community of people who love them as they are while calling them to more—to Jesus’ generous self-giving. By confirming their deep need for love and healing, while helping them to live chastely, these young men and women can discover the gender integration that God wills for them.
I agree with Pope Francis: ‘What should rightly disturb us and trouble our consciences is that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without the light, strength and consolation born of friendship with Jesus, and without a community of faith to support them.’ (EG) Will we mobilize and become that community?
We at DSM/LW are witnessing a new rise of very young adults turning from ‘gay’ relationships toward Jesus. In His great love, God is freeing them to own their poverty. Let us the Church offer them the wealth of His love by loving them wisely and well. Their integrity as persons, and the integrity of the bride herself, depends upon it.
‘How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked? Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.’ Ps 82: 2-4
Please join us as we pray for:
Ministries of Pastoral Care (ministriesofpastoralcare.com): For wisdom and fortitude for their board members Anjonette Baum, Michelle Keil, Jed Taufer, Cesli Vaccaro, and board president Gino Vaccaro as they strengthen the foundations of MPC to reach this broken world.
COR Project: For financial provision and creative inspiration and fortitude for Christopher West.
Gianna Catholic Center for Women, Dr, Anne Mielnik Nolte- Director: Expansion of these vital Catholic centers for women’s health.
“Courage for Pope Francis, Reverend Justin Welby and Pastor Phil Strout, that they would ensure that the Church becomes a clear fountain of transformation for persons with same-sex attraction!”