In my life, LGBTQ+ people have taught me about the sacredness of being true to oneself despite the cost. This matters because when we accept the parts of ourselves that others have tried to change or silence, we are really accepting a particular revelation of God. For this reason, in my work as an editor at the National Catholic Reporter, I have found great value in amplifying queer voices. And I can’t help but think of these and other friends when reading today’s Scriptures.
Here, Jesus utters some of his hardest words: whoever loves family more than Christ is not worthy of Christ at all. For many queer people, to be worthy of Christ—to embrace the parts of God they uniquely embody—has asked painful things of some familial relationships. While plenty of families warmly celebrate LGBTQ+ identities, many of my gay and transgender friends have had to cling to the Gospel in the face of harm or rejection. For what is the Gospel if not the good news that the most intimate, vulnerable parts of us are perfectly loved by God?
In Romans, Paul writes that if we die with Christ, we will be raised to new life. Straight, cisgender folks like me might read that and shrug it off as a metaphor. But for many queer Catholics, the picture of dying to an old self and being raised to new life feels precise and familiar.
Today’s Scripture readings are hard, but they’re honest. Human relationships are complicated. What the straight/cis community can learn from our LGBTQ+ siblings is that in God’s economy, loss somehow equals gain. Family often arises from unlikely places. Dying to who you thought you should be raises you to live as who you were created to be.
- How might loss equal gain in God’s economy?
- Have you or someone you know died to who you thought you should be and been raised to live as you were created to be?
Shannon K. Evans is the spirituality and culture editor for the National Catholic Reporter and the author of the books Feminist Prayers for My Daughter and Rewilding Motherhood: Your Path to an Empowered Feminine Spirituality. She and her family make their home on the prairies of central Iowa, where they attempt to live out the values of action and contemplation.