I grew up on the Northwest side of Chicago in the 1950’s and being gay was not an option. You were barely deemed to be sexual, let alone gay! My mother died when I was ten, but I remember her telling me never to be afraid of who I am. I had no idea what she was talking about then, but today I suspect she recognized my sexuality would one day result in some form of marginalization. She was right.
In 1990, forty-five years after I was born, with the help of a loving priest counselor, some professional help and a supportive recovering community, I began to deal with my sexuality. Thirty years later, I have never turned back despite the fact that some people, as my mother feared, did and still do negatively judge me and presume to tell me how I should live my life, despite their having had no experience of what it means to be gay.
Maybe that’s what Fr. Sergio Rivas meant last Sunday in his homily reflecting on the Gospel selection from Mark talking about the leper. Father proposed: “We need to stop identifying the unclean—Jesus’ message is one of inclusion.”
Thank you Father Sergio. I acknowledge the gift of life you gave me God, and pray that I will put that life to service in Your kingdom here on earth.