May 20, 2016

HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY C (MAY 22)


HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY C (MAY 22)

Ronald Stephens
Bishop of Holy Trinity Diocese and St. Andrew’s Cathedral Parish
The Catholic Apostolic Church in North America (CACINA)

Our first reading today from the Book of Proverbs is from a well-known section about Wisdom and it is Wisdom who is speaking metaphorically. It is generally about Wisdom being intimate with God and how Wisdom desires to be with human beings. The reason why it is chosen today seems to be that the description of Wisdom here is very similar to Jesus and his works. St.John’s Gospel often equates Jesus with Wisdom as well. So, then, how is Jesus like Wisdom?
Before we answer that question we need to look at the Bible’s definition of Wisdom. What does the Bible mean when it refers to Wisdom? I think we can safely say that living Wisdom was a way of life or a philosophy of life that was very moral and its understanding came through experience. The Bible speaks of Wisdom as teaching young people proper conduct and helping them to understand the meaning of life. The Book of Proverbs is full of Wisdom because it is trying to teach the young how to live moral, proper lives as the law of Moses required.
So how then is Jesus like Wisdom? Jesus is himself a teacher who says that he is the truth. He goes out looking for followers to teach, invites them to a banquet and promises them life. The image of “The Word” which John uses for Jesus exists with God from all time. So, this is part of the developing theology of The Trinity which we celebrate today. God and Jesus, as Wisdom, are co-existent.
If the first reading today gives us a theology of Jesus, the second reading from Paul to the Romans gives us the beginnings of a theology of the Holy Spirit. “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us,” Paul says. The Spirit is, in a sense, God’s love poured out to us. And what does that love do in practical terms? Paul says it gives us peace, hope in salvation, overcoming of our sufferings, endurance of all things, and hope in God. It is God’s way of taking care of us now that we have been saved by Jesus. When we think of the Spirit which we received in baptism and which was strengthened in us by Confirmation, we should realize that it is God’s great love protecting us, encouraging us and teaching us the right way.
The Gospel reading today from John is the clearest expression of the theology of the Trinity that we have in the Bible. In a relatively clear way, Jesus is explaining to the Apostles that he and the Creator God are one: “All that the Father has is mine.” But the Creator is not content to do nothing. God’s love is so great that it must be shared and so the Spirit of God’s Truth comes to us and “guides us” and declares to us “the things that are to come.”
There is no possible way for us to really understand the Trinity. What we do know is compiled from the Biblical references and the writings of early theologians who interpret these writings. How can One God have Three Persons? We don’t know, but we are assured that it does and that it is Truth. We use all sorts of metaphors to help us to understand, but it is so out of our realm to grasp it, that we just have to accept it on faith and realize that when we talk about the Creator Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, that we are talking about God. When we call out to one of the Three, we are calling out to the One God. In so many ways, it is not important for us to understand the workings of something so beyond our understanding, but that we simply realize that we can, through a relationship with any of the Three, have a relationship with the whole, with God.
Similarly, it is important to understand that God so loves his creation of men and women that God gives us chance after chance to be all that we were meant to be, forgiving us, opening up his home to us, loving us unconditionally. He even allows God to come into us as often as we want in the Eucharist to sustain us and nourish us in being all that we were meant to be.
On this feast of the Solemnity of the Blessed Trinity, let us try to react to that great love which has been shown us, by using it as a model of how we are to love other people. Because as Jesus concludes in the Gospel today: “[God] will take what is mine and declare it to you.” What most belonged to Jesus was God’s love, and so Jesus gives that love to us. Let us act on it, never forget it, and make the world a better place because of it.
And this is the Good News of our Triune God and the message we need to keep in our hearts always. God bless.