A few years ago I purchased a book called What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality by Daniel A. Helminiak, Ph.D. The book is written in a gay friendly manner and explains some alternative thinking to what the Catholic Church teaches on the subject of homosexuality. Mr. Daniel A. Helminiak is a respected theologian and Roman Catholic priest (Taken from the back of the book). I’m not writing this article to question the Catholic Church teachings on Homosexuality, I’m writing it to get others perceptive on what Mr. Helminiak wrote on this topic.
The story that Mr. Helminiak discusses in his book about Jesus encounter of a homosexual couple can be found in Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10. He focuses mostly on Luke 7:1-10. It’s the story of “The Healing of a Centurion’s Slave”.
1 When he had finished all his words to the people, he entered Capernaum. 2 A centurion there had a slave who was ill and about to die, and he was valuable to him. 3 When he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and save the life of his slave. 4 They approached Jesus and strongly urged him come, saying “He deserves to have you do this for him, 5 for he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us.” 6 And Jesus went with them, but when he was only a short distance from the house, the centurion sent friends to tell him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof. 7 Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; but say the word and let my servant be healed. 8 For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 9 When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him and, turning, said to the crowd following him, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” 10 When the messenger returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.
Writing in its current context, one isn’t able to see what Mr. Helminiak wants us to see. For that we have to look at the Greek writing and Mr. Helminiak points out certain words that are used and when translated, they have point to a different meaning for how the Centurion feels about this slave.
According to Mr. Helminiak, when Luke wrote about the slave, Luke used the word pais when he was speaking of the slave boy that was sick. When Luke writes about the other slaves the Centurion has, he uses doulos. Mr. Helminiak points out that pais means “boy and can also mean servant or even son. It refers to someone young and only by way of endearment to an adult. It is a word likely to refer to a slave used for male-male sex, and there is non-biblical evidence that pais sometimes meant male lovers.” In Matthew, according to Mr. Helminiak, the word pais was also used to describe the slave.
Another point Mr. Helminiak makes it when the Centurion talks about the slave, he refers to him as being entimos. Mr. Helminiak writes “This word could mean a number of things. First, perhaps the centurion paid a high price for this slave and thus did not want to lose him. But this is an unlikely reading. The centurion was wealthy and, sad to say, could easily have gone to the market to buy another slave. Second, a servant could be valuable if he were highly skilled and experienced, holding a key role in running the household. But this interpretation is also unlikely here since the boy was young. Finally, entimos could imply an emotional bond. This is most likely meaning here.”
Now, it’s hard to really know the meaning of the text here. I do not speak Greek, so I am not a person that capable of translating the real meaning of this text. Plus I’m not a scholar, so even if I could read Greek, I don’t know if I would be able to discover the true meaning of this passage. We do know the Centurion was a man of faith and Jesus makes sure to point this out to everyone around him.
But I do think that this is an interesting interpretation of these Bible verses. Is it possible that this slave the Centurion was so concerned about really have been a sexual partner to the Centurion? Or is Mr. Helminiak completely off track. Was the slave older than Mr. Helminiak suggest and was just a valuable slave holding a key position within the Centurion home?
I do want to speak on one topic of this story that isn’t really related to homosexuality and it is something Mr. Helminiak also points. Jesus accepted the fact that slavery was alright. Today, we don’t. At least I do not believe it is an acceptable thing. Honestly, I do not believe that if Jesus was born today, when He would endorse slavery. Do you think that today, Jesus would accept homosexual relationship today if those relationships were based on faith, love, and good? Do you think Jesus would be more concerned about how one lives thier life, doing good, helping others, and having faith over whom one is attracted too?