SERMON FOR May 30, 2021

The Most Holy Trinity


Reading I: Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40

Psalm: 33

Reading II: Romans 8:14-17

Gospel: Matthew 28:16-20


Trinity Sunday - Year B

Trinity Sunday


Today we are asked to reflect upon a doctrine of our faith that is impossible to understand and yet is the doctrine that most helps us to understand what life is all about. It is the mystery of the Holy Trinity.


We can use shamrocks and diagrams of triangles until we are blue in the face, but we will not understand the mystery of the Trinity. It is beyond us. But this doesn't mean that the Trinity has no meaning in our life. On the contrary, the Trinity probably explains more of our life than most other doctrines of our faith.


We are told that the Trinity is the Church's way of describing the inner life of God. Within the one God, we have three Persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each of these persons is giving and receiving their life from the others - always loving each other. So we see, the Trinity is a community of love. This we firmly believe. We also believe that we are created in God's image. Put those two beliefs together and what do we come up with? The result is rather amazing. It means that each of us is created in the image of a God who is constantly loving and receiving love. Our very nature then is to be in community - to be in loving relationship with others. Listen to these words from the Second Vatican Council:


God did not create men and women for life in isolation, but for the formation of social unity. So also it has pleased God to make men and women holy and save them not merely as individuals, without any mutual bonds, but by making them into a single people, a people which acknowledges him in truth and serves him in holiness. (Gaudium et Spes)


We are created in and for relationship. Let's think briefly about this and see what it says to us.


In the first book of the bible we hear that it is not good for man to be alone. This doesn't mean that we should never be alone. It's not talking about the need we all have for solitude and sometime when we go apart from other people. But it is saying that our basic way of living is to be in relationship. Most people chose to live that relationship out in marriage, others in religious communities. But even single people are called into relationships. Friendships are necessary for any real human living.


All of these relationships are called to be lived out in love. That is the essence of the Trinity - the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are continually loving each other. We are called to that same destiny.


This explains many things in our lives. It explains why living in isolation can lead to a great many difficulties in our lives. What do I mean by living in isolation? Not necessarily living alone, but living in such a way that we isolate ourselves from each other. We can do this in many ways. Husbands and wives can do this. When they do, it leads to disaster in their marriage. When people with personal difficulties isolate themselves from others who could help them, they condemn themselves to live in a terrible loneliness.


Why then are there so many problems in relationships if it is so basic to who we are as images of a Triune God? The simple but truthful answer is: We may want the relationship, but we are not willing to do the work that any loving relationship requires.


"We suffer with Christ so that we may also be glorified with him." Second reading.  Sometimes relationships of marriage, friendship or community require that we love so much that we must suffer for the sake of that relationship. Christ suffered out of love for us. At times we are called upon to do the same. When things become difficult in our relationships, turning to alcohol or to illicit relationships can have a great appeal to us. But what is often called for is to remain in the pain of that relationship and to work at it together. It is true that many times one partner wants to work at a marriage and the other doesn't. That is a sad situation and usually one in which not much can be done. But the Gospel calls both parties to work through the pain of problems in marriage, friendship or community. This is so important today when people are tempted to back out of any situation that seems uncomfortable to them. Please understand that I am not talking about situations of abuse. I am talking about the normal problems that arise when people are serious about living in relationship with others. These are the ones that call for courage. They call us to live out of who we are - men and women created in the image of a God whose is known by the name of Love.   


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