With the bill regulating gay unions (or gay marriages) on our doorstep, we Christians stand at a fork leading us in two very different directions.
Having discussed this matter with many people during the past few weeks, I am under the impression that the first direction is the one many of us are taking. I have met many people speaking of gay unions as if it is the end of the world, as a catastrophe and as a sign which indicates the moral fibre of our society is spiralling downwards.
The second direction is to look at the current situation and ask: What are we, as Church and Christians, going to do in this situation? We all know what the teaching and theology regarding marriage states; it is not my intention to repeat any of it here. But is it maybe more important to remind gay people about the great love that God has bestowed on them, that they are called children of God? Isn’t Jesus the Saviour of the gay people as well?
Whenever there is this gay-union issue, let us not point fingers at others thinking that we (the straight ones) are holy, putting our minds at rest and labeling others as “sinners”. One practical hint for us is maybe remember that we are all sinners – for when we forget how sinful we are, we will start judging others – thinking we are holier than “them”. We become the Pharisees of the 21st century. Isn’t badmouthing someone, refraining from doing good, believing that the words of Jesus apply for others and not ourselves a greater sin than someone who genuinely loves a person of the same sex? Or are Jesus’ words “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” superfluous and obsolete?
Yes – let us remind the people about the beautiful and profound meaning of the marriage. But let us not forget that we are supposed to be the bearers of the Good News – and we must admit that sometimes (and maybe even a bit more than that!) we fall short of living this mandate that Jesus has given us as Christians.
I would like to conclude with a saying of St. John of the Cross, a saying which Pope Benedict several times repeated (obviously he was ignored by the media), which says “In the twilight of life, God will not judge us on our earthly possessions and human successes, but on how well we have loved.”