On this Coming Out Sunday, the reading reminds us of the conflicts Jesus had with the religious authorities. He challenged them about how they lead the community. Jesus sought to not only expand the social and religious boundaries but also break them down so everyone could be part of empire of God. In the reading, a pharisee invites Jesus to dinner. As was the custom, before the meal they preform the ritual of hand washing. This was more of a religious act than one of hygiene. Jesus speaks to the matter of what is clean and unclean as well as who is clean and unclean. It was a matter of who was and was not part of the community. It determined who could perform certain religious acts. Those judged unclean could not enter the sanctuary, perform the ritual sacrifice or offering, or sometimes not even enter the community itself. This was about religious status and social inclusion and exclusion. For too long in our society, religious authorities have been too focus on the outside (appearances).
On this day, we celebrate the fact that our LGBTQ members are free to show themselves for who they truly are. Their outside matches their inside. In the past, the LGBTQ had to show an “acceptable” outside while having to hide their inside to be accepted with family, church, work, friends, or the community in general. Jesus reminds us that God made the outside also made the inside. All things made by God are clean, are acceptable. There is not reason not to show your inside so let it come out. You are worthy! Come be a full part of the our religious life. To all the religious leaders, Jesus says to focus on justice and the love of God, not what is just acceptable on outside. It is all about love. Love makes everything clean.