Jesus Scars

Within the last few weeks I have started to help a friend of mine church that he attends. They are having some issues with money and are looking for ways to use social media and their website to help increase membership and donations. The church he attends is an “inclusive spiritual community”. I’m not really sure what that means and at first I had some issues helping out with this project.

See, the church he attends a couple years ago removed the cross that was in front of the building. My understanding of why they did so had to do with wanting to move beyond the cross. I do not fully understand this nor am I am I for or against this in this blog posting. This blog posting is not about the removal of the cross, it’s about something much more important.

The reason I bring this up is I have started working on a project (I’m not sure what else to call it) to help those whom are gay, Catholic and in prison. This is an area that I feel is being over looked and needs to be addressed. I keep having this though about Jesus on his cross and how this relates to those whom are in prison. Often I hear about how our actions can result in our cross becoming heavier. When we act in manners that hurt others, these actions can make the cross we bear to more difficult to do so. We also know that God does forgive our misdeeds if we are serious about repentance, ask for forgiveness, and strive to not act in that manner again.

After talking to my friend, I wonder if one can really move away from the cross. I understand in theory what his church was trying to achieve with this. I think that too many people get caught up in the cross they bear. Whether it’s a past sin, struggling with an addiction or any other host of things can be a burden on one’s soul. I understand the goal of trying to move beyond this, trying to put all this behind us and live more for the moment and the future. I do think that God does want us to move beyond our sins and moving away from the cross.

I know you are probably think that I am crazy for saying this, but if you keep reading, I will explain. What I write below is something I am working on for the project I mentioned above.

To me the answer lays within the wounds Jesus bears. In John 20, we learn that Jesus should off these wounds to his Apostles, partly to show them that He was the Messiah, the Son of God. I think these wounds represent an attachment to the cross, but the nails that were nailed into His hands and feet that attached Him to the cross, are not there. Those wounds to me can be seen as scares, signs of our past deeds but are not still attaching us to the cross we bear.
It is those scars that help us grow to be better people, find our place in the world to help. For example, so people would say that being gay is a cross I must bear. If I just focus on the issues in my life that being gay causes, I think I would be stuck on my cross. But I do think I am moving beyond this issue on the cross I bear, turning this issue into a scare. With this issue being a scare, I do feel that I can do something with it, turn it into something positive. One thing I am doing is having this blog where I write about being gay and Catholic. I also have set up a social network that is focused on gay Catholics (this social networking website is still being worked on). In addition to these things, I am working on a project for gay Catholics in prison. To me, I want to take the negative parts of an issue and work on turning them into something positive.

I don’t know if I did a good job at explaining my thoughts on this issue. As I said, this is something I have just started putting together. If you have any thought on this, please leave a comment below. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

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10 Responses to Jesus Scars

  1. Mike says:

    People are so afraid of the cross, because it represent wounds, suffering, ordeals, difficulty, and it’s the opposite of what the society “preach” people on how to have life’s experiences.

    My strong conviction about the cross is this one: it depend what we do with it. We can embrace our cross so technically it becomes wounds, or we can fight against ourselves and things that we cannot change (ie: I’m deaf in both ears, I’m gay), and make ourselves more unhappy. By learning on how to deal with our cross, we become more and more happy, more at peace. This is what Jesus want from us. It’s all on how we deal with it.

    If you don’t want your cross to be heavy, stay with Jesus and your cross will be sweet.

    In my case, I explained that I had a lot of anxiety before, and I couldn’t move much in my life. I had to go to confession and to Mass to be set free from all that anxiety. Then I was more happy.

    But reality of being a practicing Roman Catholic is not too easy, so I think sometimes we’ll find it difficult, but it’s life.

    Mike

  2. Inae Kyo says:

    I don’t think we can move too far away from the cross, we still need it.

    (And shouldn’t the post title be ‘Jesus Scars’?)

  3. Cody says:

    Hey Joe,

    I think it was a very thoughtful blog. I can see where you are coming from. I don’t think we can move away from the cross either.

    So I’ll add my own thoughts in here. I’ve always kind of thought that each of us has a cross to bare. We each have a struggle in our life that we must learn to grow in faith from. I have read websites published by the Catholic Church and others that are sponsored by the Church, and I remember one of them saying that homosexuality was in itself a cross to bare. However when I thought and prayed about it, I began to realize that being gay was not a cross in itself. However being gay in a straight society and religion means facing bigotry, hatred, misunderstanding, and fear. Rather than homosexuality being a cross, my cross I believe in this life is to love all those that hate me, do not understand me, and fear me because of how I was created by God. Despite everything religious and non-religious people throw at me, I am to love them and be patient with their misunderstanding, just like Jesus does. It is hard, though. It is not easy to love the Church officials and priests that tell you flat out your natural orientation is a “disorder,” a “inclination to evil”, and relate it to Schizophrenia. It is very hard.

    So those are my thoughts. My prayers to all other gays that they may find understanding, peace, love, and reconciliation with the church.

    Cody

  4. Mike says:

    Hey Joe and Cody,

    I feel that you understand how dealing with being gay is in this world. It is not easy, and I know that Jesus love us a lot, Jesus is with us. But a lots of people at the Catholic Church have hurt us and what they did is wrong.

    My conviction is that even if you have insight, a strong faith, a strong love for Jesus, I think you’ll still meet people who hate you for who you are, and yes it’s hate, what else is this called? We have to call it by what it is: hate. But don’t be discouraged. Know that Jesus is with us all the time and Jesus watch on us.

    As you know, God is very close to those who suffer, to the poor, the marginalized, the sick, and yes being gay fit in that category, and I’m also deaf in both ears. Our suffering is probably not something physical, but it hurt a lot because it’s a wound that affect us in our soul, our interaction with others, in our deep desire to love each others, in being respected and loved, so I think it require more courage from us in order to have a quality life.

    I have complained on how difficult it is to makes some friends, and I felt hurt. But I think it’s because when people gets married, have kids and a busy job, it complicate things and we don’t relate to each others as we did. It’s important to find someone who can understand us.

    Also, the cross is not just about suffering, it is also about salvation, joy, happiness and a relationship with Jesus.

    I have met John Paul II in 1984, when I was 12-years-old, and when I met him, I saw Jesus. It’s hard to explain, and the Pope blessed me, and has he did, Jesus came on me and I was very happy and I waived my papal flag. But John Paul II suffered a lot, he lost his entire family by the time he was 20-years-old, he was persecuted by the nazis, he was shot, he had parkinson for many years. I think God allowed some events to happens in his life and it has made John Paul II a very strong but sensitive Pope. I mean, when I think about him, it’s like I can feel the suffering he had, it’s weird to explain, but John Paul II was certainly prepared by God to carry his cross and to be a witness for Jesus in our world, we are all witnesses for Jesus.

    We’ve been created by God and so our happiness is with Jesus. Sometimes you do have some extra such as a bit of money, a car, some friends, but only Jesus can make us happy. I mean I am happy with Jesus, but the rest is just an extra.

    Mike

  5. Michael says:

    Dear John,
    I understand where you are coming from! and most people feel this way about the Cross, that in fact we should “move” beyond the cross. The problem with this is we cant move beyond the Cross for it is the Cross which will eventually bring us to salvation. It is from the tree of the Cross from which our salvation flows, and it is through our daily crosses united with the Cross of our Lord, that in fact, bring us closer to holiness closer to eternal salvation. so can we ever really move beyond the Cross without giving up becoming truly holy and ultimately our salvation?
    we have to remember to Cross no Resurrection these events in themselves are inseparable without suffering and pain of good Friday there is no Easter joy and celebration on Easter Sunday, one without the other just doesn’t make sense.

    and just a scriptural note John 20 makes explicitly that Jesus showed the disciples the wounds in his hands and side. but again this makes a very important statement you can not separate the Cross from the resurrection

    Pax!
    Mike
    +JMJ+

  6. Nick says:

    Thank you for having this blog available to anyone who wants to read, listen and maybe speak up.

    I am about to get ready for work, so I haven’t really given every post here its full worth by reading is carefully. But going through it has made me feel that I do want to view and absorb what has been said, carefully.

    I am, catholic, a man, and yes, gay and very much in the closet.

    Have a good day or night, whichever corner of God’s wondrous creation you are in :)

    Nick…

  7. placido says:

    I think this website is fantastic. The Church needs to update its views on life and get off their ivory tower. I’m Catholic and although not gay I do have gay friends. To say that they are in mortal sin for expressing their sexual orientation is absurd. Equally my wife is Buddhist so does that mean that she won’t be saved? She is a better person than me. I happen to be a Freemason. Freemasonry requires belief in a Supreme being and joining is what brought me back to my faith (Freemasonry draws its myths from the Old and New Testaments). There seem to be many Catholics out there (perhaps most!) who for one reason or the other won’t “go to heaven”. Pope XXIII reforms were a good start but more needs to be done so that Catholicism starts reflecting the realities of being human in the XXI century

  8. You are certainly right, No Cross, No Redemption. The cross is the difficulty of living life, the redemption, where God steps in and saves us from ourselves.
    Folks these days don’t like humility, because it means that God is bigger than us.
    Duh… if we don’t see God as being more than us, then we are in complete control and we know that that ends up.
    If you know any imprisoned gay catholics in Illinois, I would be more than happy to work with them.

  9. Abraham says:

    Thank you for this Article. And please keep on posting more because they are really helpful.
    I myself have my cross, and still carrying it, being a gay and catholic myself I carry this everyday, will the wrath of God just be upon me. I dont know. I think the cross is there, and it has to be present in our life because only in our suffering to we meet our lord and experience his grace.
    When I met this guy (Who i will call would be my perpetual friend) I just thought I have to choose either be with a guy and throw away my religion or stay single and devoted to God. and at that point I chose this guy and i stopped going to church cause I dont want to receive communion in a state of sin.
    I’m 22 years old and I caught HIV the beginning of this year and it was a burden to me.
    He accepted me for who I am and what I have, and I though he was an atheist, only to find out he was also a devout catholic like myself.
    He told me we will pray to God about my disease, and to my shock we went to church together (and prayed about it) and suddenly I’m faced with a dilemma, should I carry this cross? (Having a boyfriend while being catholic) or just go the easy way.
    until now this cross I carry is getting heavier everyday. but I know God has a plan he yet to reveal.
    Him and Me staying as a catholic we will forever be barred to receive the holy communion, I have prayed many times that God would remove the Gay in me. I feel fortified but the closer I get to God the stronger I get pulled to being more gay.
    I havent read all your articles but would lover to read some more and hopefully you’ll make an article about having or not having a boyfriend. I’m very confused but I look up high to God for somoe answers and I came across your blog searching for “Gay and Catholic”

    • admin says:

      Abraham,

      Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. The burden that we face as being gay and Catholic is not easy. I want to share with you part of my past that I haven’t shared with many people (well, I guess until now). When I was a little older then you I found myself in a situation where my sexuality came out in a manner that wasn’t a great way to do so. Anyways, during this time I found myself really struggling with dealing with this. While I was laying down one night, God came to me (I know some may think I’m crazy when I say this), but I do believe it was God. He should me that were was 2 paths that I had the option of going down. The first path was the path that I was on and that lead to what looked like a dark, dead forest. The second path lead to a field that was so green and peaceful. God showed me that if I wanted to end up on the 2nd path I needed to go down this trail. He said to me “If you take this trail it isn’t going to be easy, but I will be with you.” At that point I decided to take the trail. This was roughly 10 years ago and the trail that I am on hasn’t been easy, several times it has felt like I have fallen all the down to the point where the trail started.

      The reason I bring this up is to let you share with you that even though at times life can be difficult, God is with you. He is with you in every struggle you have, every time you are happy, every time you feel lost and every time you feel like things are going right. Often time we over think or look what God’s plans are for us or why certain individuals are placed in our lives. From what you wrote it sounds like you have found a great guy that cares deeply for you. It’s not often that 2 guys that are gay both have such faith in God as it sounds like the 2 of you do. I am single myself, but I have spoken to others that are in committed relationship and still stay true to their faith. I don’t think God is as concerned about whom we love as we often think He is.

      I wondering if there isn’t a reason why the two of you meet. If a guy is willing to accept the burdens you face in your life and you are willing to accept the burdens he has then I think you should pray about the reason for the 2 of you meeting. Are you meant to be in a relationship? friendship? does things have to become sexual between you and him in order to have a true relationship? is there something God would like the 2 of you to do for him?

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