30 May 2021 Trinity Sunday Homily
Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40 Romans 8:14-17 Matthew 28:16-20
Trinity Sunday comes about from the realization that, looking at the history of our faith, we have God the Father, the Creator. We have God the Son, Jesus the Christ, and we have God the Holy Spirit, the Advocate. But how are they all connected? Those who are not Christian ask us in all honesty if we have three gods. No, we reply, we have one God. Which one, they may ask. All of them, is our reply. Well, that is as clear as mud, they may think. We may tell them it is a mystery. That may not seem to help.
In the reading from Deuteronomy, one of the Books of Moses, we come to understand God as relational, personal. Moses reminded the people of their experience of God at Mt. Sinai, a frightful encounter for them, but an encounter for sure. Israel in the Old Testament was strong in their belief in one God. The fancy word is monotheistic. Moses also explained that this God has acted on their behalf, rescuing them from slavery in Egypt.
St. Paul explained in Romans that there was an inclusive nature to God, and just how they were included. The door of access to God was the Holy Spirit. The Spirit made one a son or daughter of God. Therefore, the child of God is an heir as well. It is the same today. The Spirit connects with our human spirit, and we cry Abba, Father!
In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus called on his disciples to go and share the interpersonal nature of God with others. The conclusion to the Gospel, called The Great Commission, points to the mission of the Church. Baptism is mentioned as the door to becoming disciples as well, baptism in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the three persons on God, as we see them.
The doctrine of the Trinity, as we have to call it today has taken a long time to develop, and has become very heady. The development moved away from what the Scriptures try to teach. There was no idea of “one God in three persons” until around the year 380. By the time we get to the Middle Ages, and Thomas Aquinas, there is a wealth of God-talk about that way of seeing the Trinity. Only in 1331 did Rome approve of a Feast of the Holy Trinity.
The gift of the Trinity, or the community of God, is the Church, the Christian Church, community giving birth to community. The Church is the People of God, the Father. The Church is the Body of Christ. The Church is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. We have become sons and daughters of God. There is no need for abstract, heavy thinking about this. God is relational.
So, the Church is a gift from the Holy Trinity, and so is the work of the Church, its mission. It began with God the Father, who created the beautiful world we live in, as a work of His love. His signature on all that was sending his Son, who continued the work of love. Through the Spirit we have been attached to continuing this mission while living in the love of God. The Trinity, connected with love: who would have thunk it?
So how does this mission of love that we have from the Trinity involve us? In his book, Bringing the Word to Life, Michael Kent tells us. “Many of us are governed by beliefs that are at odds with relationship thinking. We have great admiration for rugged individualism. We relish privacy and believe strong fences make good neighbors. ‘Community’ is generally looked upon in a detached and abstract way. It’s vaguely out there but isn’t something we are actively engaged with. We also view religion as private, and many see nature as nothing more than an impersonal resource for exploitation.”
Therefore, we must change our ways of thinking. The old tune is true, that what the world needs now is love, sweet love. And the world is not so big as we thought. We say today that we live in a global village, thanks to the technological wonders of communication and air travel. We have all come to depend on one another. Many folks are taking what is being called “revenge vacation” this weekend. It is a vacation that signifies that Covid-19 is being defeated, and it is time to visit our loved ones and spread some more love energetically. God may hope we do this with anyone and everyone in our mission to love.
Not only our mission, but our community life and worship are also a call to love. We share in the Eucharist, and participate in communion. Vatican II, sixty years ago called doing so “the source and summit” of our Christian life. Because of our relationship to God, we are here not for entertainment, but to worship the God who is our all, who has given us all we have, even our meal in this celebration. This is the meal of given to the family of God that makes up St. Mary’s Parish community.
Where can we find a model to understand this way of thinking of the Trinity as the community of God, calling us to love. Every Trinity Sunday I try to tell people to see the movie, The Shack, or read the best-selling book. You have to be able to let go of your brain, and doctrine and dogma for a few hours. If you like people and believe that God is a relationship, you may really like it. It has touched many hearts and brought people back to God.
David Lupo sscc