Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Homily for TRINITY SUNDAY -- STM, Toronto May 31, 2015

Last Sunday, Pentecost, we celebrated the sending of the Holy Spirit, sealing God’s new covenant promised in and through Jesus Christ’s self-giving sacrifice for us.

This Trinity Sunday we see that through the covenant we share in the life of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It has been noted since the time of St. Patrick and, intriguingly, by modern scientists that God is revealed in triads in nature – through the endless complexity of the cosmos.  From the time of Plato philosophers have understood that God is revealed in reason as it interacts with faith. St. Thomas Aquinas developed a theology of the Holy Trinity of self-giving love.

We share in this divine nature, divine reason and faith through the sacraments especially the Body and Blood of Christ poured out for us unendingly in the Mass.

Appropriately, three feasts conclude the Easter cycle in the Church’s year – Pentecost, Trinity Sunday (today), and Corpus Christi, the feast of the Body of our Lord ever present to us and for us.  This triad, a celebration of God’s love, reveals the way in which God communicates self-giving love (caritas) with humanity.

These feasts are signs of the love God bears us as imperfect children on a journey of faith.  Chosen from before the foundation of the world, we are children of the covenant (Ephesians 1:4-5).

The first reading and psalm today illuminate how all God’s words and works were meant to prepare for the revelation of the Trinity and of God’s blessing in Jesus Christ – the blessing we inherit in baptism, and in which we are renewed at each Mass.

Some years ago my family and I visited the Norman Rockwell Museum in Arlington, VT.  The museum has a fair number of Rockwell’s works on display in the museum. It turns out that many of the people who volunteer and work there are actually subjects in Rockwell’s paintings.

They posed for him 50 or 60 years ago — a lot of them when they were young children. A 70-year-old woman who appeared as a 10-year-old girl in one of his magazine covers may meet you at the door. There’s something poignant and beautiful about the experience.

Norman Rockwell himself always insisted on using ordinary people as models. Many were his neighbors and friends. He felt that real people captured something you can’t find in professional models. He once summed it up in these words: “All of the artist’s creativeness cannot equal God’s creativeness.”

God’s creativeness, of course, so far exceeds our own. Reflected in God’s creation is a love that overwhelms us.  God the Father created the universe to reflect self-giving love (caritas).  God who loves so much became one of us, as Christ –  God the Son, the same God, remains with us, among us and working through us in the Holy Spirit — abiding with us and continuing, in astonishing ways, the one God’s creation.

God who loves us so much cannot be contained. “Everything that the Father has is mine,” Jesus declares in John’s Gospel, explaining that the Holy Spirit will also share God’s grace with his disciples. God in Christ wants to share the life of the Holy Trinity with us in a community of love..

Human life seems designed to discover love and creativity, to delight in it in the worship and service of the God of creation, the Father; in thanksgiving for the God of Redemption – the Son; and in celebration of this wondrous life by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Simply put, God wants to be found in the world He created.  We are given so many opportunities – so many times when we travel through even the darkest days of our lives and then come out the other side to encounter, unexpectedly, something surprising and beautiful and holy.

It might be on a mountaintop or it could be in the mundane tasks of life.  It might be in watching a toddler learning to walk, or in hearing a kind word from a stranger on the subway platform. It will certainly be in the broken bread and the shared Chalice of the Eucharist. God is present. Our role is to look for the One who wants to be found.

Norman Rockwell found something of God in the ordinary people of Arlington, Vermont, and created some beloved popular works of art. But each of us, in our way, is called to create our own work of art from the many colours of our own lives. In so doing we discover the greatest artist of all, The One whose creative genius guides everything.

God spoke and the heavens and earth were filled with love, as we sing in today’s Psalm. Out of love, God called Abraham and chose his descendants to be a peculiar people. In Deuteronomy (4:20,37) Moses shows that through the Israelites God has revealed to the nations that He alone is Lord and there is no other.

God led Israel out of Egypt, freed them from slavery and now frees us from slavery of sin. St. Paul tells us that God adopted Israel (Romans 9:4), and gives us the Holy Spirit through whom we can know God as “our Father.”

As God’s heirs, we too receive the commissions of Moses and Jesus today. We fix our hearts on the one true God and observe all that God in Christ has committed us to in this new Covenant.  Jesus has promised that he is with us until the end of time. He will deliver us from death to live forever with the Father and the Holy Spirit in the promised Kingdom of  God.

Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40;  Psalm 33:4- 6, 9, 18-20, 22; Romans 8:14-17; 
Matthew 28:16-20

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