At that time Jesus, passing by, saw a man who was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him: “Rabbi, who hath sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?” Jesus answered: “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, whilst it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
When he had said these things, he spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle and spread the clay upon his eyes, And said to him: “Go, wash in the pool of Siloe,”which is interpreted, ‘Sent.’ He went therefore and washed: and he came seeing.
The neighbors, therefore, and they who had seen him before that he was a beggar, said: “Is not this he that sat and begged?” Some said: “This is he.” But others said: “No, but he is like him.” But he said: “I am he.” They said therefore to him: “How were thy eyes opened?” He answered: “That man that is called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me: ‘Go to the pool of Siloe and wash.’ And I went: I washed: and I see.” And they said to him: “Where is he?” He saith: “I know not.”
They bring him that had been blind to the Pharisees. Now it was the sabbath, when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. Again therefore the Pharisees asked him how he had received his sight. But he said to them: “He put clay upon my eyes: and I washed: and I see.” Some therefore of the Pharisees said: “This man is not of God, who keepeth not the sabbath.” But others said: “How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles?” And there was a division among them. They say therefore to the blind man again: “What sayest thou of him that hath opened thy eyes?” And he said: “He is a prophet.”
The Jews then did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight,
And asked them, saying: “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then doth he now see?” His parents answered them and said: “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind: But how he now seeth, we know not: or who hath opened his eyes, we know not. Ask himself: he is of age: Let him speak for himself.”
These things his parents said, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had already agreed among themselves that if any man should confess him to be Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. Therefore did his parents say: “He is of age. Ask himself.”
They therefore called the man again that had been blind and said to him: “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.” He said therefore to them: “If he be a sinner, I know not. One thing I know, that whereas I was blind. now I see.” They said then to him: “What did he to thee? How did he open thy eyes?” He answered them: “I have told you already, and you have heard. Why would you hear it again? Will you also become his disciples?” They reviled him therefore and said: “Be thou his disciple; but we are the disciples of Moses. We know that God spoke to Moses: but as to this man, we know not from whence he is.” The man answered and said to them: “why, herein is a wonderful thing, that you know not from whence he is, and he hath opened my eyes. Now we know that God doth not hear sinners: but if a man be a server of God and doth his, will, him he heareth. From the beginning of the world it hath not been heard, that any man hath opened the eyes of one born blind. Unless this man were of God, he could not do anything.” They answered and said to him: “Thou wast wholly born in sins; and dost thou teach us?” And they cast him out.
Jesus heard that they had cast him out. And when he had found him, he said to him: “Dost thou believe in the Son of God?” He answered, and said: “Who is he, Lord, that I may believe in him?” And Jesus said to him: “Thou hast both seen him; and it is he that talketh with thee.” And he said: “I believe, Lord.” And falling down, he adored him. John 9:1-38
Pastoral Letter Nuptiae quidem paratae sunt on Christian Marriage, September 2016
- Nuptiae quidem paratae sunt, sed qui invitati erant, non fuerunt digni: ite ergo ad exitus
viarum, et quoscumque inveneritis, vocate ad nuptias. “The wedding is ready, but those invited
were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding
banquet.” (Matt. 22: 8-9)
- In the Parable of the Wedding Banquet, Jesus uses nuptial imagery to teach about the
kingdom – the reign – of God. Nuptial, or marriage, imagery is an ancient figure of speech used
to illustrate the relationship between God and God’s people. The Old Testament prophets use it
in this way. St. John the Baptist calls himself the herald of the Bridegroom, and St. John the
Evangelist talks about the Lamb and Bride, while St. Paul uses it to describe the relationship
between Christ and the Church, the People of God. And Jesus uses nuptial imagery in speaking
of Himself as the Bridegroom of His people.
- This all points to the fact that the relationship between God and God’s people, between
Christ and us, is understood – better yet, is experienced – as a deepening, generative, life-giving,
intimate relationship of love, support, and personal growth. This, rather than the need for
procreation, is the basis for our sacramental understanding of the marriage relationship.
- Many Christian mystics, both male and female, have experienced and described their
relationship with Christ as a spousal relationship. The Church has described the relationship to
Christ, not only of consecrated women, but also of the (male) priest, as one of marriage.
- This marriage relationship with Christ is a relationship that is open to all people,
irrespective of gender. As a man, I am called to be the spouse of Christ. Christ calls me to be His
spouse, to have an intimate relationship of love with Him. The spousal relationship with Christ,
therefore, is not limited by one’s gender, by biology, by the physical.
- I can hear some objecting by saying that, of course, this is true because the relationship
with Christ is not a physical relationship, but rather a spiritual relationship. This argument
cleaves the physical and the spiritual. The teaching of the Church, elaborated by early Church
Fathers, sees in the human person a unity of the physical and the spiritual, as they do in
considering the two natures of Christ being combined in one person. The spiritual and the
physical enhance one another as a unity.
- We cannot get around the fact that our relationship of love with Christ includes all of who
we are, physical and spiritual. This includes our sexual orientation as an inherent facet of who we
are as persons. I relate to Christ as a Gay man. Christ calls me to a spousal relationship with him
as a Gay man. Christ does not call me to Him as a man who happens to be Gay, or as some
Churches teach, as a person “with homosexual tendencies”. I am not a person “with homosexual
tendencies”; rather, I am a homosexual. It is as such that Christ calls me into His loving arms, to
be evermore fully who God has created me to be.
- Our understanding of Marriage as a Sacrament of Christ should be based and reflect our
understanding of being called into spousal relationship “through Him, with Him, and in Him”.
Just as Christ calls each and every one of us to an intimate spousal relationship with Him, so that
we become one with Him, so also does Marriage in Christ, as a Sacrament of Christ, call two
people to become one; and this, irrespective of sexual orientation.
- Believing that different sexual orientations are inherent to God’s creative plan, we
believe that God desires for His love to be imaged and realized in same-sex spousal
- The call to the vocation of Marriage in Christ is not limited by sexual orientation. The
Sacrament of Marriage, modelled on the relationship of Christ with His Church, is a life-giving
union of love, support and mutual respect to which individuals may be called irrespective of their
sexual orientation. God has placed in us the desire and capacity to love and be loved, and to love
and be loved in an intimate way in a marital relationship. This God-given desire brings together
both body and spirit; it is both a physical and a spiritual reality. It is not a desire whose
fulfillment God means to be limited to heterosexuals.
- Our Faith calls us to be saved by Christ. Christ tells us: “I am your salvation.” St. Paul
tells us to “Put on the new man which has been created in justice and holiness of truth”
(Eph.4:24). The “new man” is the person who is clothed in the garment of grace, as Jesus
explains in His parable of the Marriage Feast (Matt. 22: 1-14). This most important task of our
life is to become the spouse of Christ, to be clothed in Christ’s nuptial garment.
- Our mission as a Church is to witness to the infinite love of God for all God’s people,
including God’s LGBTQ children. We seek to do so in the truth of Christ, serving our neighbour
by seeking God’s justice. We do so in all humility, trusting on sanctifying grace given us by the
Sacraments, including the Sacrament of Marriage. In doing so, we may likely find ourselves at
odds with others. On some issues, we will find ourselves at odds with prevailing attitudes in the
political and social worlds which are not based on a Christ-centric perspective. On the issue of
Marriage, we find ourselves at odds with others of God’s children, with other followers of Christ.
This may well be the sacrifice we must bear – the Cross we must carry – for seeking to be a
faithful spouse of Christ.
- Let us pray to be worthy of being clothed in the garment of grace, the nuptial garment of
- Given in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, this 19th Sunday after Pentecost, the 25th day of September in
the year of our Lord 2016, by the grace of God the 11th year of my Episcopate.
Most Reverend J. Roger LaRade, O.F.A.
Eglise Catholique Eucharistique-Eucharistic Catholic Church