Solemnity of the Most Blessed Trinity. May 27, 2018.
Dt 4:32-34,39-40; Rom 8:14-17; Mt 28:16-20
Created, called and graced for divine communion
“Juan Carlos, that you are gay does not matter. God made you that way and that is the way He wants you to be and I do not care.”
These are the words reported by the Spanish newspaper El Pias to have been said by Pope Francis in a recent private audience with Juan Carlos Cruz, a Chilean clergy sexual abuse victim and a self-described homosexual. Right now these words remain only an unverified account of Cruz about his private audience with the Pope. More troubling is the silence of the Vatican about these words, a refusal to either clarify or to deny it. Meanwhile the reported words of the Pontiff has caught the headlines and has become the topic of many discussions, with many asking the question, “Can God really make someone gay?”
In the midst of all this confusion, today’s Solemnity of the Blessed Trinity is an invitation for us to reflect on the true nature of God and so gain an insight into what God can really do and not do. Because we are all created in the image and likeness of God, there are deep anthropological implications from the doctrine of the three divine Persons in the one true God. That the true God is not one single person implies that God is not a dictator or a tyrant, who makes laws arbitrarily and who creates whatever He wills without reason or just for His kicks. That the true God is not two persons either implies that God is not focused on competition or domination of the other but acts always in truth and love. That the true God is three equally divine persons implies a communion of divine persons with infinite love, holiness, and happiness within them. Hence the true God is a God of loving communion of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, eternally knowing and loving each other perfectly in a life-giving way.
The true God is not only a God of communion, but also a God who lovingly labors to bring all of creation into communion with the divine persons. All of creation is stamped in their very being with that vocation and divinely bestowed movement to full communion with the Triune God by sharing in the divine life of love, holiness, and happiness.
We then need to ask the question: If the true God is a God of loving communion, who constantly labors to bring us sinful creatures who are nothing to intimate communion with the divine persons, is it possible that this same true God will also create some of His creatures gay and others not gay? Is it possible that this God of communion will desire that some of His creatures, whom He made for full communion with Him, experience an insurmountable inclination to something evil, not life-giving, contradictory to His commandments for us, and contrary to the selfless love of God? Can a God who longs for perfect communion with us at the same time create some of us totally condemned to the cruel slavery of our basest desires for sexual pleasure? It is just not possible that the true God, the God of communion, who labors to bring us all to communion, will create some people gay and allow them to be defined, impelled, and determined solely by their sexual orientation. It is not just possible!
Today’s Readings show us how the Triune God, true to the divine character, labors continuously to bring us into deeper communion with Him. The Readings also attest that those called to communion with God must struggle to overcome the sinful tendencies that lead them away from God. Our divine call to communion with God demands this freely embraced struggle on our part.
The First Reading shows us how God labors to bring the Jews into communion with Him from their slavery in Egypt. God does the previously unthinkable thing, taking a nation for Himself by “testings, by signs and wonders, by war, with His strong hand and outstretched arm, and by great terrors,” just to make them His own people. The only response that they are to make to this divine invitation to communion is to remain in this communion by their loving obedience, “You must keep His statutes and commandments which I (Moses) enjoin on you today.”
The risen Christ says to His disciples in today’s Gospel, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” This divine power is not used to torment, subdue or dominate us, but to bring us into communion with the Father in the Spirit from the moment of baptism, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Jesus promises to always be with us, “I am with you always, until the end of the age,” because He will labor unceasingly to bring us to full communion with the Father. Again communion with God demands that those called to communion also learn to obey Him, “Teach them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
St. Paul reminds us that the Spirit of Jesus is also laboring to bring us to deeper communion with God, “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” We are no longer slaves to anything, including our disordered sexual inclinations, so that we live in fear but we are now adopted children of God, “heirs of God and coheirs with Christ.” Again, for the full communion with God, we must “suffer with Christ so that we may also be glorified with Christ.” Christ, the only begotten Son of God “had to suffer to as to enter into His glory.”(Lk 24:26) We too, wretched sinners called to communion with the trice-holy God, must be ready to suffer with Him on the path to full communion with God, and this suffering with Christ begins with our unceasing struggle with those tendencies that lead us astray from full communion with God.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, our God is a God of loving communion, constantly laboring to bring us and to keep us in communion with Him and growing in this communion. But we must labor to persevere and mature in our communion with Him. Our first and fundamental vocation is to full communion with God, and to participate in His life of love, holiness, and happiness. This demands that we all struggle against those things within and outside us that lead us astray from divine love. We cannot pretend to dispense ourselves from the struggle for deeper communion with God by saying such things as, “God made me gay.”
Come to think of it, to whom among us did God ever give His blueprint plan about how He created us so that we can definitely say that God made us this way or that way? Whether we label ourselves as gay or straight or whatever label we accept for ourselves, we are all called to full communion with God. Nothing on earth can ever satisfy us as long as we ignore that vocation to participate in divine love, holiness, and happiness. We all have to suffer many interior struggles but these are our ways of suffering with Christ within us whose grace is never lacking. There are numerous things that we struggle with interiorly – same-sex attraction, attraction to the opposite sex, gambling, pornography, alcoholism, masturbation, bestiality, etc. We deceive ourselves when we try to excuse ourselves by saying, “God made me gay or so-and-so.”
We also owe the truth and hope to our dear brothers and sisters who are struggling with same-sex attraction. But first we too must learn to struggle with and master our own evil inclinations, striving to live and grow in inner freedom before we can lead others to freedom too, “Go and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” How can we teach them what we do not observe ourselves? How can we lead them to freedom when we too are in inner bondage to our sinful tendencies and inclinations?
Jesus Christ who assured us that He is with us always until the end of the age is no stranger to inner struggles. Isn’t He the Sinless One who cried out to His disciples in the moment of His agony, “My soul is troubled even unto death?” He is the Good Shepherd who searches and carries the single lost and found sheep all the way to His home and place of rejoicing. He is not afraid or put off by our sinful tendencies but calls us to trust Him to carry us home to perfect communion with God. We remain in His communion by our loving obedience alone, “Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love.”(Jn 15:9) We frustrate His loving plan for our deeper communion with Him when we are self-deceiving and reluctant to suffer with Him because we are convinced that “God has made us gay.”
The divine call to communion was first answered by Mary, the Mother of Jesus, who became the faithful daughter of the Father, the admirable mother of the Son and the faithful Spouse of the Holy Spirit. She too will suffer with Christ throughout her life and especially at the foot of the cross so that we, sinful children of God, may be brought into communion with God. The words of the Angel Gabriel never left her heart, “With God all things are possible.” If our hearts are close to Mary’s heart, she will help us realize that with God all things are possible, and that we can strive for deeper participation in divine love, holiness and happiness today no matter the sinful tendencies that we are struggling with.
The Eucharist we partake in is also called Holy Communion, an encounter with the God of communion and His undying labor to bring us deeper into communion with Him. Here is our communion with God deepened and we are offered the grace and the hope that we all need to suffer with Christ till the very end and thus deepen our communion with Him. Let us not deceive ourselves by saying “God made me gay or so-and-so” because none of us is created to be a hopeless slave of our base passion. We all are created, called, and constantly graced by the God of communion for full and perfect communion with God. This full and beatifying communion with God will be ours in this life and in the life to come if and only if we willingly suffer with Christ to the very end.
Glory to Jesus!!! Honor to Mary!!!