by Joe Gentilini
- Is 53:10-11
- Heb 4:14-16
- Mk 10:35-45
"Whoever wishes to be great will be your servant." True greatness and holiness consists in self-sacrifice, in handing ourselves over for the sake of others. In this way, all authentic greatness and holiness mirror the goodness of God whose love always takes the form of mercy.
My own experience and insights have taught me that at the core of the cosmos and of life there has always been suffering and this is a mystery to me. While I don't understand it, I believe there is a purpose to suffering and one way I deal with it is to unite it with the Cross of Jesus Christ. For me this involves accepting the pain of loving someone else when I don't feel like it; it involves accepting the frustration of listening to someone who needs to talk when I would rather do something else; it involves praying for the person who hates me because I'm gay, knowing that they feel so smug in their own self-righteousness. It means living out the contemplative witness to the truth of our lives, even when this is not pain free. Out of these little deaths come my participation in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Years ago Leo and I took a trip to Holy Cross Abbey, a Cistercian-Trappist monastery at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia to see our monk-friend, Father Edward. He took a walk with us to the Shenandoah River where we sat down and listened to the river gurgle over the rocks as it flowed. He remarked that our suffering as GLBT people was like the blood of the early martyrs – it was bringing about the change in the Church that all of us desired. We were way ahead of the Church and it would change, although probably not in our lifetime. I believe this also is true of women and of married priests in the church who suffer from being ignored and discounted.
How will the Church change? I believe it may mean uniting our lives with the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ. It may mean looking for ways to help others, looking for opportunities to serve as a beacon of life and truth to the Church and the society. It may mean living lives of integrity and accepting the gifts that God has given us, so that we can truly be witnesses of goodness to society and to the church. In the here and now, it means accepting some leadership role for our local Dignity Chapter. How many here have never accepted such a role. Maybe now is the time to think about it.