Sunday, June 11, 2017

Feast of the Most BlessedTrinity

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit! We are blessed to profess One God in Three Divine Persons! The God who always was, is now, and shall ever be is a Trinity! In Jesus Christ we have Jesus, the Son of the Father, God in the flesh. The Holy Spirit is the love of the Father for the Son and the Son's reciprocal love. The Trinity is not a concept we Christians, especially Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, made up. Jesus speaks of the Father in John Chapter 14. When the Apostle Philip asked Jesus to show him and the other disciples the Father, Jesus responded: "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father." (John 14:9) Jesus assured the Apostles that when they would no longer see him, they would be strengthened by his Spirit, the Advocate. In John 15:26 Jesus affirmed that he would send the Advocate, the Spirit of Truth. Last week we celebrated that first visible manifestation of God the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday. The Acts of the Apostles, to me, can be subtitled, "The Astounding Power of the Holy Spirit", working through the Apostles and Evangelists of the early Church. From the second Chapter of Acts through the very end of this first History of Christianity we witness the power of the Spirit as he gave light to the minds of the first missionaries, fortitude to bear countless hardships, dangers, and opposition. Those men who preached the Good News of Jesus Christ were on fire with the love of God. Sometimes religious art can impress us so much that we might form an image in our minds of the Father as an old man with a flowing white beard. We may picture Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, seated calmly on the Mount of the Beatitudes with an utterly other worldly demeanor. Maybe we picture the Holy Spirit as a fluttering dove such as the one which pointed out Jesus at his baptism. Whenever we make the Sign of the Cross we can remind ourselves of our own Baptism and of the great Mystery of the Holy Trinity. I once heard a Bishop in the Midwest suggest adding these words once in a while to our Sign of the Cross. He put the wording this way: "In the name of the Father who created me, and the Son who redeemed me, and of the Holy Spirit who sanctifies me."
The love between and among this Divine Trinity is what enlivens us. It's their love that we share in our Christian life. This love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit sustains us and moves us to be Jesus for those whom we meet every day. Explain it all? I cannot take it all in. The famous story of St. Augustine comes to mind: Augustine was walking along the seashore when he spied a little boy trying to fill his little bucket with water from the ocean. He asked the boy, "Why are you trying to empty this vast ocean into your little bucket?" The child answered, "No more than this bucket can hold all the water of the ocean, than you can manage to comprehend the trinity, Father, Son and Holy spirit." A few months ago a film adaptation of the novel "The Shack" appeared in some theaters. A grieving father goes in search of "Papa"--his little girl's favorite name for God the Father. God the Father (and Mother), Jesus, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all depicted. the movie succeeds in letting the audience experience a tad of the love which is the communion of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit. When I read the book, I found that part the most uplifting and hope filled. As a Catholic, I like to see the positive elements of movies. Although the film is not "Catholic" per se, the presentation of the Holy Trinity is creative and touching.
Happy Feast of the Most Holy Trinity. Let's spend this Trinity Sunday in joy, knowing that ours is a God of love and compassion.