Hi everyone, here’s my homily for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity – SUNDAY JUNE 11, 2017. The readings for today can be found at: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/061117.cfm . Thanks as always for reading; for sharing this on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit; and for your feedback and comments. Grateful for your interest and support! May God – who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit – Bless You and yours! Fr Jim
The Solemnity of the Holy Trinity… every homilist’s favorite Sunday.
Not to be dismissive of it. Particularly because it is one of the most central dogmas of being Christian and it is yet another way that we are distinguished from every other religion. We believe that God has revealed to us, His creatures, that He is triune – three – in one. God is relational –Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
This theological truth that often causes us to ask more questions than to walk away with a better understanding or appreciation of it. Often times, we kind of are drawn to the aspect of God’s nature that most appeals to us: Jesus – as God only begotten Son, fully human, fully divine – who has made us his brothers and sisters…. Who has revealed that God isn’t some distant, creator who treats us as pitiable creatures but rather a Loving, Eternal Father who created us out of love and for love… and has gifted us with God the Holy Spirit -who imparts gifts on us that make us attentive to God’s voice and his grace working our lives; that make us love the things of God and open to his prompts…
But in that, we have to remember they’re not three gods, but three persons – one God… which can be difficult, complicated for us to understand or even appreciate. And there’s that temptation to skip it. But this God who loves us, who we love and worship here – has revealed His very nature to us, so how do make sense of it so that it can mean something to us.
Of all places for me to think of the trinity this past week, something struck me while I was at the gym. Seriously. And not because in a moment of sheer desperation I was making the sign of the cross. I was on a treadmill, and this guy happened to get on a treadmill a row in front of me with his sweatshirt from a Police Academy. On the back it had the patches of all the different police departments that were represented in the class and among them were these words:
Although we are many – together we are one.
For many passers-by who just see that sweatshirt, it might seem a nice sentiment, or a cool motto. But for the men and women who made up that class that prepared them for their law enforcement careers – they know the truth of those words. How they had to help each other navigate the difficult routines, the long hours, the challenges physically, mentally and emotionally to make it from day one to their graduation days. They did this together, they came together as individuals from very different backgrounds, histories, experiences to make up this one class of police officers. And that experience will always remain an important bond that people outside that group will never be able to fully appreciate or understand.
That same sentiment – of many coming together as one is true of different sports. Football players who make the team, start training in the heat of summer – navigate the ups and downs of a difficult season with unexpected victories (and losses) injuries, and breakthroughs – the 11 who are on the field and the number of substitutes on the bench all know that in order for the team to be victorious – the many have to become one.
You could say the same thing for a cast of a play. The group of actors and actresses who go from audition to being cast; begin the grueling hours of rehearsals – the challenge of memorizing scripts and lines. In order for this group of actors and actresses to be able to give a great performance, they need to come together as one.
These are just a few examples that demonstrates how there is something about us as human beings that reveals we are designed for relationship. Yes we are independent individuals, capable of unique, impressive abilities through our God-given gifts and talents. And in this fiercely independent age that we live in, that reality is often celebrated to admire the one who is winning the award or has accomplished whatever impressive feat that has caught our attention (sadly, sometimes, forgetting all the others who helped contribute in that success being possible).
But God, in sharing with us the secret, the mystery of who He is in this celebration of The Trinity – does so not to leave us perplexed with some difficult, in-explainable riddle. Bur rather to encourage us to see the many ways that He calls us as individuals into something greater – when we come together into one – we begin to appreciate the importance of relationships in our lives because it’s who God is as well:
When a husband and wife come together in the beauty, the sacredness of the Sacrament of Matrimony and that love is so strong that new life comes about in children….
When a geographical area is marked out and a priest is assigned by the Archbishop and together they become a parish family like this one – which eventually builds a magnificent home, this Church…
When you and I and every other baptized man and women recognizes how that has made us brothers and sisters and the billions of us form one body – the Body of Christ…
In these different ways, we start to recognize how we are made in God’s image and likeness – and this complex theological belief is more common to us than we may have thought.