Father Rodel didn’t particularly like to be lumped in with the eunuchs in Matthew 19:12, but what Jesus said of them outweighed any embarrassment from such an association.
I’m a homosexual. This is the first time I’m talking about this with you my congregation. My friends and family have known for a year — or more — and they’ve been so supportive of me.
I’m a man, and I’m attracted to men. Why? I asked myself, when I discovered this at 13. The only thing keeping me from experimenting was the fear of being heard. So I was silent. People teased, but I said nothing.
The few opportunities that came by from the opposite sex, I just smiled politely. Some tried to ‘cure’ me. I wanted to be cured, for a time.
There was this one time in high school when this girl, she cried all of a sudden when talking to me, and then our mutual friend told me later, “Couldn’t you tell? She likes you!”
And so I went with it for a bit. Everyone thought I’d be interested in her because they didn’t think I had a chance with anyone else, I suppose.
But soon enough she gave up. She could sense my peace of mind around her. I wasn’t going to trouble myself to make her feel better. At least, not as a boyfriend. And that’s how we became BFFs. Hey Ali. She’s joined by her husband George and their three wonderful children, say hi!
It took me a long time, 10 years, until at last I could understand, a part of it anyway.
Without my struggle, I would have succumbed far too quickly to the flesh, with women. I was thus kept pure, in both mind and body. And I wanted to serve the Lord with my body, not please myself. So that kept me celibate, even when some suggested I look for a boyfriend. No, it’s not for me, I said to that group of friends, and I could feel the ostracism. I belonged nowhere.
While others used college as a springboard to worldly things, I became yet more resolved to consult God in every single decision. And to ask His forgiveness whenever I fell short. And I would fall short, not a few times, before finding myself on my current path.
I’ve been led away from true temptation, you might conclude. That could be. But don’t judge this on account of my being a priest. Or by my sexual orientation. But by my being the best brother and father I could be to each one of you.
What I thought for that first decade was a curse, turned out to be my soul’s salvation. I chose the weaker path, the priesthood, weaker only in the sense that I was relinquishing my choice of earthly blessings.
Not to say the clergy is in its best shape today. But don’t let our imperfections keep you from the Lord. Never sin: it’s all known in eternity. But more importantly, purity will bring God’s love to you, and you’ll walk the narrow road, and through the narrow door, by His side.
I wish you all the best, of a life full and well-lived, pleasing in the eyes of God. And I hope to be worthy of your trust, whatever confidence you place in me.
O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. Amen.
Father Rodel appears once more in a cameo role in tomorrow’s story, available on May 29, PDT.