Fr. James Martin on “The Jesus of the Gospels . . . Searching out the lost, forsaken, abandoned, ostracized, and outcast”
DYM USA welcomed Fr. James Martin, SJ on Thursday, April 21, 2022.
Please read Sister Gina’s reflection below:
When Jesus arrived, he noticed Zacchaeus in the tree and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” This made Zacchaeus very joyful but the crowd “grumbled,” or murmured in a complaint that Jesus “has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.”
Fr. James Martin, SJ used this reading to begin his conversation with us about the LGBTQ community. He said, “Zacchaeus was a tax collector, a man hated by all, an outcast in his community, and how did Jesus treat him? He singled him out to make him noticed! He told him he needed to stay at his house. And what did the crowd do they “grumbled”, or “murmured in a complaint” that Jesus “has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.”
Are we surprised by this? Not really, Fr. Martin says. This was Jesus at his best searching out the lost, forsaken, abandoned, ostracized, and outcast and welcoming them into his company!
Fr. Martin likened that our LGBTQ brothers and sisters often feel like Zacchaeus did before Jesus spoke to him. They are treated as outcasts, unlovable, sick, and unwelcomed by many. Do we even see them? Are they of such small stature to us, as was Zacchaeus, that we easily look over them, around them, even through them without even noticing at all. Are they invisible?
Fr. Martin went on to speak about the Jesus of the Gospels. Jesus hung around with the people on the margins, the people who were the outcasts in his society (the lepers), the people who had little status in their communities or none at all. These were the people that Jesus sought out and that sought him out! These were Jesus’s people! Shouldn’t they be ours too!
As Christians, Fr. Martin says, we are called to love all as brothers and sisters. If we believe that then there should be no one who is excluded. No person or group of people.
We are so happy to have had the opportunity to listen to Fr. Martin speak about his experience with the LGBTQ community and applaud his work to continue to Build Bridges between the church and that community.
I must say that it was an inspiring talk that had me saying to myself “WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? I somehow think we all know the answer to that question: LET THE ONE WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE!