The obedience of faith is more than it seems part 1 related the Torah passages which relate to homosexuality in Torah. The New Testament text relating to homosexuality in our Bible is Romans 1:5–Romans 2:29, in particular Romans 1:18–Romans 2:29. Romans 1:18 until the end of the chapter shows how St. Paul as the articulate revivalist minister. He whips up the crowd; they do this; they do that; they do the other thing.
Among the bad things listed includes, “God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts for the mutual degradation of their bodies.” “God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged physical relations for the metaphysical; the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity.”
Jewish tradition, which St. Paul is taking for granted that the crowd identifies with, Leviticus 18: 22 and Leviticus 20:13 applies to women first, and because of their perversion, according to the passage, it applies to men. As liberal Catholics we must understand this passage is in Romans, and we must acknowledge the existence of Romans 1:26-7, Leviticus, Genesis, and Judges.
Conservative Christians, including Catholics must also look at the grander context of the passages. “They knew The Almighty Judge, but did not accord him importance as the Almighty Judge or give him thanks. They became vain in their reasoning. Their senseless possessed darkened minds. Claiming to be wise, they became fools. They exchanged the weight of the immortal God for the likeness of mortal man or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes.”
God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts for the mutual degradation of their bodies.” This, not the homosexual behavior is the root sin, the root failure. Therefore, St. Paul tells his pious readers in Romans 2:1, “You are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment. By the standard by which you judge another you condemn yourself. You, the judge, do the same things.”
The root sin, the root failure is not the homosexual behavior, although St. Paul does not deny this is a failure. The root failure St. Paul refers to his in Romans 1:21. “They knew The Almighty Judge, but did not accord him importance as the Almighty Judge or give him thanks. They became vain in their reasoning. Their senseless possessed darkened minds. Claiming to be wise, they became fools.”
Count the number of times the second and third person is used in Romans 1:18 until the end of the chapter. Then count the number of times the same is used in Romans 2. Keep in mind, “They knew The Almighty Judge,” cannot refer to the pagans. They do not know God. It must refer to Jews and Christians who claim to know God, but do not see him through his works of creation.
In Romans 2:17-29 St. Paul talks to the Jewish Christian community who claim to know Torah, but do not follow Torah. St. Paul scolds them, “Because of you the name of God is reviled among the Gentiles.” The same applies today. Non-Christians scold our conservative Christians because they preach but do not practice. St. Paul also scolds, “Those who hear Torah are not just/charitable/צֶדֶק in the sight of God. Those who keep Torah are made /just/charitable/צֶדֶק. When the Gentiles who do not have Torah by nature observe Torah, they are Torah for themselves even though they do not have Torah.
What is Torah? St. Paul refers to the lessons from Genesis 19:1-15, and Judges 19:15-30. Those lessons teach hospitality and kindness. That is what we do not see from our conservatives who profess Christianity. That is not what we see in those who preach condemnation of others who do not live our nuclear family lifestyle. That is what St. Paul preaches throughout his letter to the Romans, and throughout all of his letters.
Romans 1:5 begins by preaching, “Obedience of faith.” That obedience, “Ob audio,” or listening to the faith ultimately comes from Deuteronomy 5:1-7 and St. Paul’s preaching about how we die with Christ in baptism and rise with him in the Eucharist. Deuteronomy 5:1-7 relates how the Jewish community escaped from oppression as a community and therefore must remember their suffering as a community when they see the suffering of others.
For St. Paul, we put on the new man, a man who is a צֶדֶק, a man who is charitable, remembering his suffering and taking action to alleviate the suffering of others. It means being a man who is too busy caring for others to look at their faults and failures. It means setting the charitable example. That is where conservatives of St. Paul’s time and ours fail, completely and utterly fail.