-Dr Rosemary Varghese
One of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water poured out – John 19:34
June is a month that has traditionally been devoted to the veneration of the Sacred heart of Jesus. In most Catholic homes, the picture or statue of Jesus pointing to His exposed heart is venerated as a symbol of Christ’s redeeming sacrifice on the cross, and His boundless love for mankind. Each emblem embedded within the Sacred Heart tells us the story of Jesus—the crown of thorns with which the Jews mocked and humiliated Him, the cross upon which He was crucified, the wound in His heart from which flowed precious blood and water. Additionally, the tongues of flame connect Him to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and the emanating rays of light surrounding the Sacred Heart remind us of His words in John 8:12 – I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness. but will have the light of life
The Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus follows the celebration of Pentecost, the Feast of the Holy Trinity and Corpus Christi, three mystical aspects of Christian faith. The first allows us an opportunity to witness the mighty power of the Holy Spirit at work among the disciples and others present that day. There is also the assurance that the same Spirit is present with us today, empowering us in ways that go beyond our innate capabilities. Soon after Pentecost comes the Feast of the Holy Trinity—God the Father, Jesus Christ His Son and the Holy Spirit. Next in line is Corpus Christi, which commemorates the moments during the Last Supper when Christ first changed bread and wine into His own Body and Blood, and then empowered us to do the same, in His memory.
The veneration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus continues through the month assuring us of His eternal and all-forgiving love for the whole of humanity.
In parallel, the month of June is celebrated by groups of people globally for very different reasons. It has been declared as Pride month, where the LGBT community comes together to celebrate their social recognition in society. President Bill Clinton made the official proclamation in 1999, and ever since, the community and its supporters have grown from strength to strength in the US. Back in India, celebrations across the main metros have been widely publicized and supported and are coming to a successful conclusion. The euphoria is partly due to the legal recognition of transgenders, as well as the decriminalization of homosexuality. Recently, the court has also brought gay couples within the ambit of welfare benefits, and the community eagerly awaits the next legal step forward—the validation of same sex marriages.
There has always been a serious disconnect between the Catholic viewpoint and the LGBT philosophy that is gaining ground with the passage of time. On the one hand, transgenderism and gay relationships have become a cult in Western countries. From the pre-kindergarten stage, children are encouraged to think about gay relationships as a viable and attractive alternative to normal man-woman relations. Sex change medical procedures are available to all, with little or no pre-counseling requirement. The outcomes of these procedures, which include serious health issues and sterility, have been ignored and downplayed by the powerful corporate lobbies who are presently fueling this movement for a variety of reasons, materialistic and otherwise.
On the other hand, the Bible takes a clear stand against unnatural sex and medical procedures that lead to sterility and finally, to the disintegration of the institution of family. The Bible tells us that God the Father created human beings as man and woman, and His first blessing and promise to Adam and Eve was to increase and multiply! Same sex marriages encourage unnatural and unproductive sexual relationships that go directly against the Word of God, and a compromise on the issue is unthinkable from the Christian viewpoint.
Having said that, it is important to understand that Christianity cannot, and does not bear any prejudice or reservation against people with different sexual preferences. The causes for this can be varied and beyond one’s control. The Catholic point of dissension begins when an LGBT member chooses to ignore God’s Word and follow a path that is backed by support groups in order to satisfy one’s unnatural desires. The Bible also raises a red flag against those who encourage innocent minds to think and make decisions along these lines. This is exactly what is happening in Western countries where democracy and freedom are professed but go unpracticed, especially when it comes to the bravehearts who dare to oppose this ‘woke’ cult and its unwritten rules regarding pronoun usage and opposing opinions.
Saint Paul clearly states the reason why people choose to indulge in unnatural relationships—They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator. For this reason, God gave them over to dishonorable passions. Even their woman exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones… Romans1:25-26. The truth of God is constantly being pushed aside, and in its place, convincing lies are fed to a vulnerable population in the name of freedom and choice. St Paul refers to idol worshippers when he speaks of those who worship the creature rather than the Creator. Idol worship, in modern day parlance, is when people choose to follow cults or deviations that ensure they are no longer in God’s path.
At first glance, there seems to be no meeting point between two very divergent themes that are being celebrated in the month of June—the veneration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Pride month. If we think so, we need to acquire a deeper understanding of the infinite mercy and boundless love of the Lord symbolized through the Sacred Heart. Every true Christian cannot but empathize with God’s created people who suffer because of a different sexual orientation. Undoubtedly, they are most in need of the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and Christ’s healing touch. Pope Francis exhorts us to present all the intentions of our suffering humanity, “ its fears and its miseries” to the Sacred Heart. Whatever may be the reasons for choosing the gay path, God’s forgiveness transcends every sinful situation one may have wandered into. All that is required is a true intention to turn to His Way.
All of us are lost sheep in one way or another. Jesus gave up His life to save us from eternal darkness, but He never left us alone. The Holy Eucharist and the Holy Spirit empower us constantly, and the infinite love that flows from His Sacred Heart leaves the door of reconciliation wide open for His beloved people, regardless of the circumstances they find themselves in.