By Sister Diana Rawlings, ASC

It is not a coincidence that the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (May 17) occurs during the Easter season.

In the post-Resurrection stories, Jesus’ consistent message is “do not be afraid.” Why this message against fear and not another proclamation?

Jesus knew that people react in fear to something unknown or an idea that crashes their belief system. For example, Jesus’ friends and disciples reacted in fear when he stood before them as proof of his Resurrection.

Phobia is an extreme fear of a particular thing or situation, especially one that does not have a reasonable explanation. In today’s world, one such phobia is toward people of the same sex who love each other or whose sense of personal identity does not correspond with the gender assigned to them at birth.

The challenge for us who are Disciples of Jesus, the Risen Christ, is to move beyond our fears and phobias and become like Christ, whose central message remains one of inclusion and reconciliation.

The Adorers of the Blood of Christ are members of the Precious Blood LGBT committee, established in 2006, that demonstrates Christ’s love, healing, hope and inclusion to all people. Committee members work to increase awareness about the needs of those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. We believe that creating safe spaces and opportunities to discuss what it means to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender will reduce others’ fear of them and increase compassion for them.

Pope Paul VI said that people listen more to witnesses than to teachers. Members of the Precious Blood family, including the Adorers, witness each day to God’s unconditional love. Serving on the LGBT committee is yet another way to be like Jesus and utter the challenge, “Do not be afraid.”