(Saint Bernardine’s Church, Regents Park: Saturday 6pm; Sunday 7.30am & 9am)
25/26 May 2013
[Readings: Prov 8:22-31; Ps 8:4-9; Rom 5:1-5]
To begin, a small advertisement: next Sunday is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ – Corpus Christi. To celebrate the feast and to give worship to Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament, Archbishop Coleridge will lead and preach at the Corpus Christi procession at Nudgee Junior College at Indooroopilly at 2pm next Sunday afternoon. All are most welcome.
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Over the years I have often begun my homily for this Sunday of the Most Holy Trinity with the anecdote that in at least one religious order, sermons on Trinity Sunday were forbidden in order to prevent the preacher straying into heresy when speaking of the mystery of the Trinity … so I hope and pray that the Lord will protect my words and your ears and keep us on the right path!
The mystery of the Trinity sets Christianity apart. The precise teaching about the nature of God took the Church some time to arrive at, but it is very evident in the Scriptures and in what Jesus revealed about himself as the Son of the eternal Father made flesh, and about the Holy Spirit. Our Catechism teaches us: “The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the hierarchy of the truths of faith” (CCC, 234).
The preface of this Mass teaches us that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one God, one Lord: not in the unity of a single person, but in a Trinity of one substance. The three Persons are equal in glory and majesty.
The mystery of the Trinity teaches us that in God there is a community of Persons, intimately united in undivided love. This eternal love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is not contained within itself but issues forth. The first revelation of this God is in the work of creation. We have only to look around and see the traces and print of God in the grandeur of the created world. The pinnacle of creation is the creation of human beings: God made people in His own image. And so, human life – in a special way – is a reflection of the life of God, since we are made in God’s image.
Another movement of God was in the redemption of mankind, accomplished by the incarnation of the eternal Son of God. This has allowed human beings to know the sure path of return to the God who created us. In the Son of God becoming human we have someone just like ourselves to teach us, and so that we can pattern our lives after his. In Jesus, God humbled himself to share in our humanity, so that we might come to share in his divinity. And then in yet another movement of God we have the sanctification of people, as the living Spirit of God is sent to dwell in human hearts to make us live according to the mind of God. The Spirit is sent to us so that the power within us is the power of God himself. God himself helps us to live as God calls us to live. Without this help, we wouldn’t be able to achieve much.
We are called to live the life of the Blessed Trinity. Indeed, we already have that life within us by virtue of Baptism. But for our part, we are called to make that life that is within us the living principle of our lives, to make it grow, to make it more evident, to undo whatever opposes that life or keeps it from developing and bearing fruit.
There are various ways that we are called to share in and make known the life of the Blessed Trinity. One of those ways is Christian marriage. When a Christian man and woman marry, there arises an unbreakable bond between them. They are called to live in undivided and perpetual love. The ‘trinity’ of Christian marriage is seen when the love of husband and wife issues forth in children. Their love is thereby creative and fruitful. There is a call, therefore, for Christian married couples to make their lives resemble more and more the life and love of God, of which their married love is a sign and symbol, indeed a sacrament.
“When couples begin to look upon themselves and their relationship in [a] Trinitarian light, [and] upon their bond of love which is sealed in the sacrament of [marriage], the depth and meaning of the lifetime commitment they have made to one another takes on a profound significance. [Their] marriage is to be modeled after the three divine Persons of the Trinity whose gift of themselves is one of totality, unity, and fidelity. Thus Christian marriage should reflect these same traits (1): “totality, by which the spouses give themselves to each other mutually in every aspect of their person, physical and spiritual; unity which makes them “one flesh” (Gen 2:24); indissolubility and fidelity which the definitive mutual giving of self requires; the fruitfulness to which this naturally opens itself” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, n. 217).
In the Church, each parish community is meant to be a manifestation of the life of the Blessed Trinity. We are called to be united in bonds of love; to be a real community wherein people may encounter the God of love who heals, reconciles, and builds up. We are meant to be places where people are reminded of their dignity, being made in the image of God; where they can hear the life-giving Word spoken and revealed by Jesus the Son; and where the Spirit can vivify them through the celebration of the sacraments.
The mystery of the Trinity is the living principle of the Church, and of our lives both within the Church and in the world. Let’s pray as we offer Mass tonight that our lives will reflect more and more the life of the Blessed Trinity, as we are both the beneficiaries of his love, and also sharers in God’s work of creation, redemption and sanctification.
(1) F. K. Bartells, “The Most Holy Trinity: Supreme Model for Family And Marriage,” http://www.catholic.org/hf/love/story.php?id=37200