Readings: Proverbs 8.22-31; Psalm 8; Romans 5.1-5; John 16.12-15 (See the readings at usccb.org)
We’d love to have you at Mass! Mass times at Holy Spirit Parish are: Saturday, 5pm; Sunday, 10am, 12 noon, and 7pm.
Here is the text version of my homily. There are slight alterations in the recorded version.
So the other day — a much warmer day — I was walking the dog, out at Lakeview park just east of the church. It’s amazing to see, now that the weather is getting warmer, how many people have the same idea. So I wasn’t in the park for more than about 30 seconds and I had already counted a half dozen other dogs with their owners doing the same thing. And the reason I knew this was because my dog was pulling me towards every single one of those others dogs as soon as she caught wind of the other dog.
It’s quite incredible, actually, to see how dogs have this sense of when another dog is around and they know exactly what to focus on. Or when we’d get up to a light post, my dog’s first instinct was to sniff out what was going on there — the get the mail left by other dogs. It’s quite an amazing thing, even with people. My dog wants immediately to go and see other people. Dogs are pretty social animals, and my dog is no exception. She craves relationship.
I would submit that this is an important of so many living creatures. We talk about a flock of birds, or a herd of deer, or a pride of lions, or even a pack of dogs. Creation seems to crave relationship with other parts of creation. And then especially for us as human beings, even if some of us are a bit more introverted — which includes me, by the way — we still need relationship at some deep, fundamental level. So, we might like our alone time (I know I sure do), but we also crave a connection to others. it’s part of why we’re here today to worship together. At some deep, fundamental level we have a need to get together.
Now, none of this should surprise us who are people of faith. As we heard in the first reading, that beautifully poetic first reading, creation is from God. It’s part of the Wisdom of God. Creation itself bears the imprint of the God who created it. The psalm for today said that God even established humanity as little less than the angels, and that everything is the work of God. So it stands to reason then, that as being a work of God, creation reflects something about the nature of its Creator.
And in the gospel Jesus reveals what this is. God is relationship. God is a relationship of Persons: Father, Son, and Spirit. And so if God is a relationship, then we who bear the imprint of God are by necessity creatures made for relationship. We crave relationship with one another, most of all with God. (And apparently also with dogs.) This is not an accidental thing; it’s an essential part of who we are: bearing the image of the God who is Trinity.
So what is the essence of that relationship then? Well, again we should listen to Jesus in the gospel today as he talks about this relationship of God; the relationship that he has with his Father and with the Holy Spirit. Did you catch the language he was using? All that the Father has is mine, and then everything that he has is the Holy Spirit’s, and then is given to us. It’s the language giving and receiving. It’s the language of love. God is perfect love, within God’s own self.
To use the old analogy from St. Augustine, in the Trinity, we have the Lover — the Father, the Beloved — the Son, and the Love itself, which is so intense that it is a Person — the Holy Spirit.
For Jesus to reveal that God is Trinity — that God is love — that should fill us with an awful lot of hope today! We find our fulfillment only in him; and he wants to give us that fulfillment. It’s amazing to me to think that God didn’t need anything else to exist for the Trinity to be perfectly content and perfectly happy and perfectly loving in every way. But out of love he chooses to make us and he pours himself out for us and he draws us into relationship with himself.
Love is the point of everything we are. We exist in order to be in a right relationship of love with God, which is authentically lived in a right relationship of love with others. In that way, we actually share in the mystery of the Trinity: we’re made in God’s image. So where ever there is isolation and loneliness; where ever people are trampled under or treated as less than human; whether it’s in pro life issues or in social justice issues (which are basically parts of the same thing, looking to the dignity of human life); it’s our mission and duty that we would step up and defend and honour the infinite worth of every person, from conception to natural death. For we are brothers and sisters in the human race, made in the image of God, who is love. We have a sacred duty to uphold this, in mercy and compassion for one other.
Trinity Sunday: it may seem like an abstract sort of thing. Three Persons in One God. How on earth are we supposed to understand this? It is a mystery. But we are to live in that mystery, the mystery of love. We are made in his image. We are made for love. We are made to love.
So ultimately, today, on Trinity Sunday, we proclaim good news! God loves his creation! God loves the human race! And even though we might sometimes doubt this, God loves you! God is love! It’s his very nature. God is Trinity.