Genesis 49:29-32; 50:15-26a
The other morning, a smiling young lady carrying a clipboard, knocked at my door. She was collecting signatures for a petition to overturn Prop. 8. This is the controversial California proposition that passed in November 2008, changing the state constitution to recognize only marriage between a man and a woman as valid. It also eliminated same sex couples’ right to marry.
Before the young lady could continue, I stopped her politely to say we are a Catholic household and our view on marriage between a man and a woman is firm and non-negotiable. The young lady appeared visibly surprised. She walked away, wishing me a good day.
Most of my business and political colleagues oppose Prop. 8. Like the young lady, they too are surprised at my position. I can see it in their faces: they think me intolerant and bigoted.
It isn’t easy being Catholic these days; certainly not when it pertains to an issue as volatile as same-sex marriage. Indeed, there has been pressure to silence supporters of "traditional marriage" by exacting a price for their vocal stand: loss of job, boycotting of businesses, vandalism to homes. Consequently, many choose to remain silent. I hoisted my colors before that young lady. Knowing how precincts and politics work, I believe our home address has been marked in bright red.
Jesus said to his Apostles:
"No disciple is above his teacher,
no slave above his master.
It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher,
for the slave that he become like his master.
If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul,
how much more those of his household!"
Those words of Jesus hit home with stunning reality. If he was ridiculed for his teaching, why should I, lowly disciple, think that I will be spared? If the master of the house was called "Beelzbul," how much more those of his household?
I’m not sure I’ll proclaim my views from the housetop anytime soon. But neither will I deny them when asked what we Catholics are called to believe.
Deacon Manuel Valencia ([email protected]) is on the staff at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.