This is Love – A Reflection on Marriage and the Cross
Equality. This word has been thrown around this week in my life more times than I can count. After writing a post on my Facebook wall regarding the fact that supporting “homosexual marriage” is a grave evil for Catholics, I was inundated with 296 comments (many of them very negative). What did I say?
Today, many people, including so-called “catholics” are posting in support of homosexual “marriage”. I just wish to remind those Catholics that the Church teaches that, “the spouses’ union (between man and women exclusively) achieves the twofold end of marriage: the good of the spouses themselves and the transmission of life. These two meanings or values of marriage cannot be separated without altering the couple’s spiritual life and compromising the goods of marriage and the future of the family.” ~Cathechism 2363
If you are Catholic and supporting something gravely contrary to the moral good, please take some time, especially this Holy Week, to pray with the Church’s teachings, and re-evaluate why it was that Jesus did all He did on the Cross for us –
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery…For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another.” (Galatians 5:1, 13)
I was called a bigot, intolerant, and I upset people (especially “so-called catholic’s”). I have spent the past couple of days in prayer and reflection about this. I have stayed mostly out of the conversation, mostly because I have not had time to engage 296 comments, but also because I saw the things said and required time to reflect. Though the majority of the conversation has excluded God and religion, one interlocutor stated,
How can you behave with such bigotry in the name of a God who asks us to strive to behave with grace, compassion and gratitude? Is this the higher enlightenment that was intended? …This cannot possibly be what any benevolent God would intend. If you truly feel God’s presence in your heart, why don’t you put that divinely-inspired energy to some positive use and do some good in this world? Set aside your anger, do right by the mistreated, and accept people unconditionally, lest they harm none.
Now, this post is not necessarily meant to be a catechesis on marriage. If you want that, click here. This is not meant to explain why “homosexual marriage” is simply impossible or why the term “marriage” should never be applied to homosexual “unions”. This post is not about homosexuality. I have been looking instead at these arguments on my Facebook wall in the context of the week we are in: Holy Week. From the times in prayer I had, I seemed to be drawn to the Cross over and over. What did Jesus accomplish there? What does the Cross demand of us? What does it mean to love? I hope that this post answers the question above about what our God intends.
Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. (Genesis 3:1-5)
We will be equal to God? Sign me up! *CHOMP*.
Sin is now in the world. The immortal humans, in perfect blissful union with God are now torn apart from Him. Death enters the picture. We have done the one thing He told us not to do and now we are forever to be separated from Him. By the way, do you notice, the snake has left? He’s already gone. No pats on the back from the evil one as our first parents were exiled from the Garden.
This has always been the lie: You can be God. Equality. This is what Jesus saved us from when He mounted the Cross for us. He saved us from thinking it is all about us. He showed us that His Love and His truth far surpasses anything we could ever contrive. He destroyed death by making it possible to be united to Him again, just like in the Garden. This is Love!
Does Jesus save us and leave us? Does He say, “You’re all set, go do whatever you feel like doing”? No. Take for example the story of the woman caught in adultery. What happens? “Then Jesus lifting up himself, said to her: Woman, where are they that accused thee? Hath no man condemned thee? She said: No man, Lord. And Jesus said: Neither will I condemn thee. Go, and now sin no more” (John 8: 10-11). Jesus forgives but commands the woman to not sin again. This is the God who wills to forgive us through the Sacrament of Confession but makes it clear that we must be repentant and have the resolve to turn our lives around. “Do not be deceived: neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Cor. 6:9-10) (NOTE: This passage is directed towards “practicing” homosexuals, not “chaste” homosexuals).
The arguments for same-sex marriage simply do not have any theological merit. They cannot, on any basis, fall in line with a proper understanding of the Cross. Jesus, as the Bridegroom, laid down His life for the Bride, not for another bridegroom. When Jesus restored us through the Cross, by the power of the Sacraments to new life in Him, He also restored marriage. Jesus, when speaking on the Judaic Law of divorce said, “…For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so” (Matt 19:8). What did God intend? He intended that we have union with Him like in the beginning; that everything, down to our sexuality, would fall in line with what He willed for us. The union we would have with our earthly spouse was to mirror the union of the Blessed Trinity. Right before our very eyes, we could see this union of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We could see that our bodies were created for unity. Yet when sin entered the picture, we broke what was originally intended for us; what we were created for. Enter sin.
Sin is disobedience. It is distrust in God’s ultimate plan for us. It is making a false god out of our desires, instead of choosing to assent to God Himself, and to the things that He has commanded. We are all sinners and not one of us, next to Mary and Jesus, are sinless. We all deserve Hell. The Cross is the eternal sign of God’s love for us, but is also a reminder of our need for repentance and resolve to never sin again. Calling sinners (me being the foremost) to repentance is the greatest act of charity one can do, if it is done in charity. If calling Catholics to repentance is considered bigotry, then they should divide the Spiritual Works of Mercy in half, and the first part should be renamed, “The Spiritual Works of Intolerance”. The truth is, calling people to holiness is an act of mercy. It is seeking to save souls from the fires of Hell.
Fighting against the redefinition of marriage in our society is connected to the work of the Cross. It is fighting for what He died for. By holding strong to the understanding that God created man Male and Female, and made them for permanent and exclusive union, we stand for the relationships God has intended for us now, and for the life He has for us in eternity. I would be a bigot if I were to want to exclude people from this. There is no hatred here. The only hatred I have is for sin. Side note: Just because you have homosexual tendencies does not mean that you are acting on it (shoutout to those who are homosexual and living chastely – you are awesome). Whether it is living an active homosexual lifestyle, doing drugs, getting drunk, killing babies, or simply lying to your friends, what we are fighting is sin; sin which is rooted in the desire to be God’s equal.
Let us lay down our guards, let us destroy our false idols, tear down the towers of Babel that we have created, and climb the hill this Easter Triduum with the resolve to unite ourselves to what He desires for us. Let us look upon His wounded face, and hear the words He says to us, “Neither do I condemn you – go and sin no more”.