Monday, July 6, 2015

Same Sex Marriage, Love Thy Neighbor, and Rodney King

Rodney King. Remember him? May God rest his soul, he died a few years back -- his story, that sparked riots in CA after his beating by police, echos in the stories we have recently grappled with concerning police brutality vs. necessary force.

But, that's not what I want to focus on here, although there is much to be said regarding that, as well.

Mr. King may be best remembered for his quote: "Can we all get along?"

It was a simple phrase -- and one that very few have considered attempting, even remotely, since its utterance.

Why?

Simple.

We can't all get along. If we could, there wouldn't be strife in the world, terrorism, hunger, racial tensions, abortion,  same-sex marriage legalization, etc.

No, we can't all get along. Not under our own power.

Christ never said this life would be easy. He emphasized the narrow gate that led to heaven (cf. Mt. 7:13, and that persecution was to be expected (cf. Mt 5:11; Mk 13:13; Jn 15:19; Lk 6:22) if we were to follow him.

Here's where the "get along" statement becomes even more problematic for a Christian. We are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us -- it's paradoxical.

As we are confronted with issues, situations, laws that assault our Christian sensibilities (notice I didn't say offend -- which would make it merely sentimental), we are to become more humble, more loving, more charitable, more gracious, more, etc. -- you get the picture.

What are we to do?

Our outcry is first to the Lord to protect us in this battle against the world of darkness that is ever more encroaching on our freedom to do what we ought, not what we want. Then, we must reach out --- gently, peacefully -- to our hierarchy and beg them to teach the truth with courage and perseverance, reminding them that we are praying and will support them with our very lives. How can they be courageous if they don't believe that God has provided them an army of angels and men to fill them with fortitude?

Then, we need to practice what has been preached to us. What a joy it was this past Sunday to hear our priest be so loving, yet unapologetic in his defense of marriage and family.

He wasn't being a bigot or a hater.

On the contrary, he was being a lover of God, a lover of his fellow man, and was upholding the directive to do both (cf. Mt 22: 35-40). And, we are called to do the same.

Granted, it would be easier if the Gay Pride Parades were not filled with pornographic, lewd and crude representations of sex (didn't look too much like marriage to me). It would be easier to love that particular neighbor if what was witnessed was representative of loving same sex couples with a desire to try and live out what marriage looks like to them (yes, I am saying they don't understand what "true marriage" is).

And believe me, the decline in fruitful and faithful heterosexual marriage hasn't made it easy to defend the sanctity of marriage either. People will note that the divorce rate is declining, which on the surface would appear to be a good thing. The problem is that this "marriage" that everyone wants is also in decline -- people aren't getting married at the same rate as they once were. (And, to be completely cynical here, divorce attorneys are probably champing at the bit for what will likely be an increase in their revenue as same sex couples marry and divorce.)

Ultimately, Jesus never promised us that being his disciple would be easy (cf. Lk 9:23; Mk 10:38), and he never said that we would all get along (cf. Mt. 10:21; Lk 12:53). We are going to be judged, separated and placed where our lives have led us -- in eternal glory or eternal damnation (cf. Mt. 25:31-33; Lk 10:16; Mt. 12: 37).

It is our objective, then, to live lives that glorify God and keep his commandments ( cf. Jn 10:27; Jn 15:14). We must love our neighbor and try to help him see that it is in love that we reject his behavior, not his dignity as a human person. And, utmost in our minds and hearts should be to preserve God from this further indignity to his glory.

"Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ", St. Paul tells the Corinthians in 1 Cor 11 -- that's a tall order, but a necessary one. Jesus loved the sinner, with the directive to go and sin no more; with the authority and gentle presence to have the crowd, ready and willing to inflict harm, shamefully disperse and drift away inflicting no harm whatsoever (cf. Jn 8:11).

That is how to proceed -- be imitators of Christ.


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