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Select Homily
June, 16 2019

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (C)

Deacon Dave Shea, DMin

Prv. 8:22-31 Ps 8:4-9 Rom 5:1-5 John 16:12-15

 

Paul struggled for most of his life trying to understand why he behaved the way he did. Oh, he had his quirks and his idiosyncrasies like everyone else, but there were some aspects of his character and the way he did things that made him unusual. And it really bothered him. For one, he was very tight with money; he was frequently referred to as being cheap. He spent a lot of time worrying about money, wondering if he’d ever run out—it was almost like he was addicted to money. For another, he was obsessed with being perfect. He had to be the best at whatever he did; half measures were never good enough. He worked long hours, pushed himself hard, and was a genuine workaholic. Paul was a perfectionist at everything and he used to drive his family crazy because no matter how hard any of them tried, nothing they did was ever good enough. He wasn’t very happy with himself and he didn’t know why.
 
It wasn’t until he turned 40 that he began searching for answers. There were so many questions and he had almost been afraid to ask them. Maybe the truth would be too painful and maybe he just couldn’t handle it . . . until now. His parents had both died so he couldn’t ask them why he was never allowed to have friends sleep over. So he turned to his brothers and his mother’s sisters, and the pieces of the mystery began to unfold. His father had been an alcoholic and his mother had hid it from them for years; it was a carefully guarded family secret. That helped to explain his obsessive behavior and his unrelenting drive for perfection. His mother grew up during the depression and the memories of barely surviving day-to-day had scarred her for life. So his constant fear about not having enough money had been imprinted on him by his mother. The truth had been hidden for a long time—it had been kept from him and in some ways he had even kept him from himself. As an older man Paul grew in the truth and knowledge of himself and in the grace to understand. He had finally discovered the truth about himself—that he was better than he thought and more like others than he had allowed himself to believe. And that in all of his habits and imperfections, in all of his quirks, he still reflected God’s own image.
 
We all can have difficulty with the truth. Sometimes the truth is hidden from us and we have to dig to find it; sometimes it’s right in front of us and we turn away from it because it might be beyond our ability to understand. Jesus had told his disciples that: “He had much more to tell them, but right now they couldn’t bear it.” They needed more time and they needed the help of the Spirit—they couldn’t handle it on their own and they weren’t able to understand the fullness of God’s identity.
“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” We begin every prayer and every Mass with the great sign of the cross, addressing God as three persons in the fullness of His identity. The Trinity is at the very core of our beings as Christians. Everywhere we turn in our faith we are confronted with it. We are surrounded by it—everyone here has been baptized in the names of God’s three persons. The Trinity is a mystery about which theologians have argued, about which Church councils have made declarations, and for which saints have given their lives. And today it is as much a mystery as it has ever been and as it will ever be—it is a truth about the very identity of God that still remains hidden from us which we can only partially understand. 
 
There is God the Father, the creative force of all that is seen and unseen, who formed the world and everything in it. We see Him in sunsets and in the miracle that is life in all its forms. The Father is powerful and strong, He spoke blazing words with light and fire. He is seated on a high throne, overlooking all of us, knowing everything there is about each of us. 
 
There is God the Son, the one who took human form, who redeemed us and brings us closer to him in the sacraments. Jesus who is our brother, who embraces us and understands our successes and our failures. The Son who is lowly and humble, who walks at our sides, who touches us. The Son, our Lord, who cries, laughs, and suffers with us.
 
And there is the Holy Spirit who is the very closeness of God. The Spirit who fills us with God’s love, inspires our imaginations, and gives energy to our creativity. The Spirit who keeps our memories of Jesus fresh and alive, and who helps us to find our way through this life guiding us into the next.
 
The Trinity is about our relationship with God, a god who is here, present, active, and working in our lives; who helps us to learn the truth about ourselves and the truth about Him. And He doesn’t want us to ever stop asking questions and stop seeking Him. God wants a relationship with us that includes all our questions, all our curiosities, all our doubts, and all our limitations. We will never stop yearning to learn more about God, but, for now it’s probably best to simply live the Trinity rather than trying to understand it. Welcome each of God’s persons into our lives—find our belonging in the Father, see Him in sunsets, in the miracles that surround us; walk with our Jesus our brother who embraces us and understands our successes and our failures; and allow the Spirit to freshen our memories about all that is good in God, and nurture His presence in us. 
The fullness of God is beyond our comprehension. God is much more than a doctrine and much more than a mystery. In His great love affair with us, God decided that the best way He could build a relationship with us was with three persons—Father, Son, and Spirit; Parent, Brother, and Spirit. And the more we understand who we are, the better we can relate to one another, and the better we can relate to God. Because with God it’s all about relationship—God who is one, God who is three, God who is all. The God who we stand in awe of as we look upon our world, the Son with whom we walk in our struggles, failures, and joys, and the Holy Spirit with whom we remember all that is good and wonderful in God.
 

Resources & References:

Homily Service, an Ecumenical Resource for Sharing the Word. The Liturgical Conference

Ode to Joy, Homily Reflections for Sundays and Holy Days. Harold A. Buetow

Preaching the New Lectionary, Year C. Dianne Bergant, with Richard Fragomeni

 

www.preparetheword.com

www.sermonwriter.com

©David J. Shea

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