• RSS Queering the Church

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS Spirit of a Liberal

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS There Will be Bread

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS The Wild Reed

    • Raoul Peck on Patrice Lumumba and the Making of a Martyr January 17, 2021
      Today marks the 60th anniversary of the assassination of Patrice Émery Lumumba (1925-1961), a leader of the Congolese independence movement who served as the first Prime Minister of the independent Democratic Republic of the Congo (then Republic of the Congo) and who throughout much of his adult life resisted colonialism and corporatism.As I noted this time […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
    • Photo of the Day January 15, 2021
      See also the previous Wild Reed posts:• The Mysticism of Trees• Cosmic Connection• Holy Encounters Where Two Worlds Meet• The Landscape Is a MirrorImage: Michael J. Bayly.
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
  • RSS Bilgrimage

    • Winding Bilgrimage Down as 2021 Begins January 1, 2021
      As readers may have divined, I've been slowly winding Bilgrimage down, and with the new year, will likely not be posting any longer. I'm making this decision largely because I find my energy waning after I turned 70 this past March. Ages are only points on a graph, but even so, I do find my energy decreasing now that I'm a senior citizen — alo […]
      noreply@blogger.com (William D. Lindsey)
    • What Commentators Are Saying to Evangelicals Speaking Out — Finally! — about Idolatry of Trump: "It's about Time. But It's Too Late" December 15, 2020
      Some valuable recent commentary about the dangerous idolatory of Christian Trumpism:Heather Cox Richardson, "Letters from an American: December 13, 2020": In an important move today, evangelical leader Beth Moore, the founder of Living Proof Ministries, a Bible-based women's group from Houston, Texas, who has almost a million followers on Twit […]
      noreply@blogger.com (William D. Lindsey)
  • RSS Enlightened Catholicism

  • RSS Far From Rome

    • the way ahead March 23, 2013
      My current blog is called the way ahead.
      noreply@blogger.com (PrickliestPear)
  • RSS The Gay Mystic

    • A saint for the millenials: Carlo Acutis beatified today in Assisi. October 10, 2020
       A saint for the millenials: the young Italian teen, Carlo Acutis, who died in 2006 of galloping Leukemia, will be beatified today in Assisi by Pope Francis (last step before being officially declared a saint). Carlo came from a luke warm Catholic family, but at the age of 7, when he received his first 'Holy Communion', he displayed an astonishing […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Unknown)
    • Ronan Park and Jack Vidgen: The Travails of Gay Pop Stars October 28, 2019
      (Jack Vidgen)Quite by accident, through a comment from a performance arts colleague of mine, I stumbled across the recent bios of two boy teen singing sensations, both of whom made a big splash worldwide 8 years ago. The first, Jack Vidgen, won Australia's Got Talent Contest in 2011 at the age of 14, primarily for his powerful renditions of Whitney Hust […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Unknown)
  • RSS The Jesus Manifesto

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS John McNeill: Spiritual Transformations

  • RSS Perspective

    • Riot aftermath January 15, 2021
      It's been hard to write a blog post lately. I'm still thinking about the Capitol riot. Every day brings new information about it, and it only gets worse. It appears likely that some Republican House members helped the rioters, giving them tours and stategic info days before the riot ... Republican lawmakers are accused of giving Capitol tours to in […]
      noreply@blogger.com (crystal)

Why This Gay Man Takes Heart from the Feast of the Holy Family

On the recent Feast of the Holy Family my mother and I attended Mass at St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church in Port Macquarie, Australia. I’m currently in the “Great South Land” – visiting my parents, family, and friends – from my “other home” in Minnesota, USA.

As I sat waiting for the homily to begin I braced myself for a diatribe against perceived threats to the family – such as gay marriage. But I need not have worried.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are some members of the clerical leadership in the Australian church who would choose to use such a feast day to malign the lives and relationships of gay people. But, by-and-large, the Australian Catholic Church, I’ve discovered, reflects the wider “live and let live” ethos of Australian society. That, of course, is a far cry from the current case in the United States.

What the priest at yesterday’s Mass did talk about actually resonated with me as a gay Catholic man. He noted that, contrary to the rosy, holy card images we’re so often presented with, the reality is that Jesus’ family knew conflict and misunderstanding – just like any other family. Of course, nowhere is this more evident than in the story of the finding of the boy Jesus in the Temple.

This story served as yesterday’s Gospel reading, and in it we are presented with a young Jesus disobeying his parents; confusing, perhaps even disappointing them – all so that he can be true to the person he knew God had called him to be. As I listened to the priest describe this popular story of the Holy Family in this way, I realized that it is something to which many gay people can relate. Accordingly, it’s something to which many families can relate.

Like Jesus, young people coming into awareness of who they are sexually often have to retreat from their families so as to attune themselves to and embrace what’s awakening within them. For many gay people, answers and support are initially found outside the family. Parents are seldom the first to know that their child is gay.

These were my thoughts as I reflected upon yesterday the young Jesus leaving his family and the caravan bound for Nazareth so as to seek out the wisdom and insights of those in the Temple. I’m sure that as they busily prepared to leave Jerusalem, Mary and Joseph had instructed Jesus “not to wander off.” And yet that’s exactly what he did. He required answers and experiences beyond those which his family could provide, and so he went in search of them. This to me seems a healthy thing; a sacred journey or quest, if you like.

Once found by his parents, Jesus, in a way, “comes out” to them. He’s not the boy they thought he was. There’s definitely something different about him. He challenges them, confuses them, and, no doubt, disappoints them. Yet despite all of this they accept him as he is and, as a family, they resume their journey home together.

Sound familiar? I hope it resonates with you – especially if you’re gay, because here’s the bottom line: God calls gay people to something very special; something very sacred. God calls us to journeys of faith and consciousness that often compel us to “wander off” and seek answers elsewhere, despite the disapproval of others – even our parents, even “Mother Church.” And, no, this “something” is not a life of sexual abstinence – as the clerical leadership of the Roman expression of Catholicism would have us believe. Rather it’s a life of abundance as the relational beings that God created us to be. And, yes, God created some of us with relational capacities that are gay in orientation. Accordingly, for most gay people, a life of abundance means seeking, building, and maintaining a loving relationship with another of the same gender – a relationship that is experienced and expressed as something that is both sacred and sexual. I’ve come to believe that the seeking, building, and maintaining of such a relationship is always about “doing God’s work.”

I take to heart and am nourished and encouraged by the journeys in consciousness and compassion conveyed in the trusting, loving and accepting relational dynamics of Jesus and his family. They are journeys in and of faith. And, for me, they are what make this family – and so many others – holy.

Born and raised in rural Australia, Michael Bayly now lives in the US where he serves as the executive coordinator of the Minneapolis-based Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities (CPCSM). He is also the editor of The Progressive Catholic Voice, and a co-chair of the Minnesota-based Catholic Coalition for Church Reform. His book Creating Safe Environments for LGBT Students: A Catholic Schools Perspective was published in 2007 by Harrington Park Press. He established his blog The Wild Reed in 2006, as a “sign of solidarity with all who are dedicated to living lives of integration and wholeness – though, in particular, with gay people seeking to be true to both the gift of their sexuality and their Catholic faith.”

One Response

  1. The bishops remind us that the holy family is a model for us. They are fruitful bec ause they raised a child not born of their union. This model certainly applies to gay families whose fruitfulness is not based on their mutual fecundity. The bishops also point out that the fruitfulness of any marriage is based on the trinity and I would point out that that’s the love between two males(father and son) that informs all being as well as all marriage.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: