- Category: Homilies for 2012
- Published on Sunday, 03 June 2012 14:50
- Written by Deacon Larry Jesmer
- Hits: 325
THE MOST HOLY TRINITY
1st Reading: Deut 4:32-34, 39-40
2nd Reading: Romans 8:14-17
Gospel; Matthew 28:16-20
I recently read a story about Mary Weaver, a protestant lady, who lived some 74 years ago. She had been a Baptist, a Methodist, a Christian Scientist, and a Holy Roller, professing that she believed in "Jesus only".
One day she noticed a Catholic Catechism in the home of a friend. Here was her chance to find out what Catholics believe and do, and then hold all of it up in ridicule of the Church. She began to read. Slowly her hatred turned to curiosity, then to surprise, then to a desire to learn. She blurted out, "If this is what the Catholic Church teaches, then I want to be a Catholic".
Mary Weaver was baptized in St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Chicago on December 11th, 1938. She now worked just as strongly for the Catholic Church as she had previously worked against it. One of her Holy Roller friends expressed shock at her conversion.
'Oh Mary, what have you done with "Jesus Only"? "I still have Him," Mary Weaver replied. "Only now I've taken on the Father and the Holy Spirit too".
Just as Mary Weaver "took on" the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, in the sense that she now believed in the Holy Trinity, so you and I, on this Feast of the Holy Trinity can "take on" the three Divine Persons by placing our very lives in the care of the Triune God.
We who belong to the Church that Jesus Christ founded were brought into this Church by Baptism in which the very words of Jesus in today's Gospel are used; "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit". That there is a Trinity we know because Jesus told us several times. How there can be three Persons in one God, we do not know and we struggle with trying to understand it.
We have tried many times to rationalize the Holy Trinity. We have heard the Trinity described something like this: Father-the Creator, the Son Jesus Christ- the Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit as the Sanctifier. Or how about The Holy Trinity as a shamrock, like this one our Parish gave out two years ago on the Feast of the Holy Trinity. Or how about this: The Father as the sun in the sky, Jesus Christ as the rays of the sun and the Holy Spirit as the heat we feel from the rays. I could go on and on but you know what I mean.
We can get a glimpse of the Trinity in scripture. We come to celebrate the mystery of the Triune God in the culmination of the Church's year of grace filled memories. We have recalled the ancient mercies and centuries long fidelity of Israel's one, Almighty, Creator God, and God's promises of salvation from a tangled history of sin.
We have re-traced the disciples steps in discovering the mystery of God-with-us in the person of Jesus, seen in the radiance of the risen Christ. We have learned to recognize the Spirit of God dimly in the great prophets and distinctly in Jesus, and we have joined the earliest disciples in being overwhelmed by the gift of the Spirit to us, experiencing the presence of the Divine as an unfailing presence in our midst.
And it is at this point in the liturgical year that we pause to consider what it means to say this of God. It begins with the sense of wonder, gratitude, and recollection which we find in our first reading. The passage from Deuteronomy is the recalling of the mysteries of power that have touched us in our own lives and in that earlier history that shaped the possibilities of our lives.
We are asked to remember not only the history of Israel, which goes into the shaping of the Christian sense of God, but all our history from Jesus to the present. We are called to open our eyes to appreciate the works of God's power, wisdom, affection, and to walk reverently, learning along the way which manner of God it is that we worship.
The passage from Romans is Paul's sense of what it means to do this as a follower of Jesus. It is in intimacy with Jesus, in identifying with his life, his attitudes and actions, in his Death and Resurrection, that we are able to know God as intimate, as our Divine Father.
It is in this sense of intimacy that lifts us up beyond the experience of fear and bewilderment. It lifts us up into what is the true testimony of the Divine Spirit that is internal, in each of us, that gives us freedom, liberating us from any self-destroying, any self-defeating way of life protecting us from the evil one who lurks around every corner of our lives.
A new freedom in a sense, a new spontaneity and integrity is the sign and seal of the Divine Spirit. A new image of God emerges in this experience. The gospel reading today links the two ways of knowing and encountering God, together. It is the gift of Jesus, God-with-us, that bestows, that gives the Spirit, as we heard last Sunday on Pentecost when Jesus breathed on the disciples.
The testimony of Jesus in history and through community remains another way to know God by seeing the human face of God, allowing the reflection to be seen in many human faces. How many times have we heard that we can find Jesus in the faces of others? In the human face of the risen Christ the first disciples recognized the call to worship and acknowledged that all authority was vested in that human face of God.
It doesn't stop there. The disciples could not keep this gift for themselves without feeling the call to share it far and wide with the hope of creating a renewed world of justice, community, peace and compassion for all people. And so, Christians speak with reverence of the Triune God, unwilling and unable to translate the paradox into human reasoning, but unwilling and unable to relinquish the living truth of experience that assure us that all these ways of knowing God lead to the heart of the mystery of the Holy Trinity.
In Christian life, the community expresses its experience and its convictions not only in devotional practices such as the sign of the cross, in its liturgies, but also in a missionary way to go out and invite others into the fellowship of Father, Son, and Spirit, realizing that this is a life lived in the Trinity. Just as the Father gives us his Son in the Eucharist, it is through the Eucharist that opens us up to be the temple where the Spirit dwells in us.
This is our strength to live our lives within the Triune God. This is where we gain the strength to go out and share our faith with others. As Mary Weaver discovered, the Triune God, three persons in one, the Holy Trinity, is the ever present, magnificently powerful, affectionate, intimate, reconciling, and loving God.