//“RENT” and the Holy Trinity?

“RENT” and the Holy Trinity?

Here is my homily for The Feast of the Holy Trinity – May 30, 2010. Thanks as always for reading and your feedback – Father Jim


A couple of years ago, my cousin took me to see one of her favorite Broadway plays – the musical Rent. It is (very) loosely based on the Opera La Boheme, and there’s a bunch of different themes that come out in the story.

But one of the core points is this coming together of a group of young New Yorkers almost by accident on Christmas evening. Two roomates, a long lost friend, a neighbor from upstairs, a former girlfriend among several others all come together and sadly one of the things that joins them is dealing with AIDS – several of them have the disease or are good friends with those suffering from that deadly illness. When one of the members of this community dies from the disease, the friends get into a blow out fight and end up going their separate ways.

Reflecting on the loss of that community, in one song they recall that evening they first met and ask themselves (in song) – What was it about that night? Connection in an isolating age. For once the shadows gave way to light. For once I didn’t disengage. At the end, they come to an important realization as they sing I’m not alone.

While many point to the modern production set in the 90’s and the rock music score as two reasons for it being so successful, running for over 12 years and becoming one of the longest shows to run on Broadway, I wonder if people overlook the story – overlooks that core theme about “Connection in an isolating age” as another reason for the success of the show. Because when you think about it, that seems to be a core thing for every human being. People long for connection to others. We are designed, we are constituted to be in connection. And we have to recognize that going into isolation is something that is against our nature.

Just think of the happiest, joyous moments of your life – probably a huge majority of those were shared with someone else – a parent, a spouse, a child, a brother or sister, a good friend… And the moments of deepest sadness were moments of aloneness – someone dies, someone moves and we feel the loss. those who get stuck in aloneness become depressed. We can see how some who’ve been isolated for so long eventually will reach out to anyone for acceptance (one reason that cults can be successful sometimes). They will even compromise who they are or what they believe to feel like they belong, feel apart of a group a community. So desperate to fulfill their nature – to experience connection.

Community – connectedness. That’s what this feast of the Holy Trinity is all about. We can recognize that we are designed for those things, because we are made in the image and likeness of God. Trinity Sunday reminds us that image, that likeness finds it’s oneness, it’s wholeness, it’s completeness in the revelation that our God is one God in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Too often I think we come to this feast of the Trinity looking for an answer to a riddle or a mystery, looking for an explanation on how this one God in three persons is possible. If you want me to solve that for you, I’m sorry to disappoint you (St. Patrick with the clover is probably the best answer I have heard)

But I think that the Feast calls us not to focus on the HOW but rather on the WHO that is revealed today. Our God this one God in three persons tells us their existence is based on being in relationship to one another. The depth of love uniting Father, Son and Spirit makes it impossible to consider each person independently.

We find then that every striving of our souls for union, every reaching our for companionship, every urge for a hug an embrace, every act of love gives testimony to the Trinity. We look for “connection in an isolating age” because we can’t help ourselves – We who are made in the image and likeness of God find a need within ourselves to mirror our origins.