As part of its annual conference 2014, “Preparing for a Great Sea – Change”, one full morning was devoted to a workshop on the story of the Emmaus journey, in Luke’s Gospel. This had been prompted by a suggestion by Cardinal Vincent Nichols to Quest chair and vice – chair, Ruby Almeida and Michael Bennet, when they met with him last year. He had suggested to them that a suitable source for reflection for Quest and its relationship with the Church, would be Pope Francis’ words on the subject to the bishops of Brazil last year. As part of that workshop, I offered the following reflection on my own journey, in recent years.
In his telling of the Emmaus story, Michael B. Kelly describes how it is perfectly understandable that gay Catholics may feel a desire, or even an obligation, to leave the established church (just as the disciples in Luke’s story left Jerusalem, in their own sense of despondency and disaffiliation). Having done so though, it’s possible that they will nevertheless encounter the risen Christ outside the formal church. When they do, he says, they have an obligation to return to the Church, just as the two disciples rushed back to Jerusalem, to share with others the good news of how even though we have felt rejected and excluded by the Church, we have met the risen Christ outside it.
As my contribution to the discussion on the Emmaus theme at Quest conference 2014, “Preparing for a Great Sea – Change”, I shared one way in which this cycle has played out in my own life.