We had about 20 people today at our last Zoom Mass and if you couldn’t be with us, we missed you but hopefully, the message here will be of comfort. –Pastor Kathy
May 30, 2021
My friends, my homily of three years ago has some thoughts which I don’t think I could say better, so will repeat today with some updates. Each year, our Church sees fit to celebrate a Sunday that not only allows, but actually implores us to look deeply at who God is for us. The word, “trinity,” we all know, speaks to the phenomenon of a God who is present to us in theology and in other ways too, as three distinct persons, yet comprising one God.
We are asked to believe this whether we can fully understand it or not. And when it comes to matters of faith, things that we can’t really get our minds around; I think it is best to come at them with our hearts. Our hearts are wiser.
Whether we can truly understand the concept of three persons in one God is not as important, I think, as understanding the idea that we are truly loved by our God. And how do we know this? We know it because of Jesus, who as the second person of this Triune God became one of us humans in time. That too; we can’t truly understand, but we can understand the motive behind the action—LOVE.
Contrary to an older theology, still touted by some today that Jesus came primarily to redeem us from the fires of hell by dying on the cross; Jesus actually came as many present-day theologians suggest, and I agree, as a direct and pure expression of a God, who as Creator, loved creation beyond all measure. Jesus lived, loved, taught, and shared life with us humans, always showing us the way to be our best selves. And in time, he died a cruel death designed for those who didn’t follow the rules. He died because of how he chose to live, demanding that all were equal and that we, as his sisters and brothers, must do the same. Understandably, his demands were met with some push-back, especially from those in power.
Now, to design a theology of errant humanity in need of redemption is perhaps an easier way to go than to give humanity the true picture of a God who loves over-the-top. When we teach the later, that of a God who loves without end, our task in this world becomes much more pronounced too—we can hardly do less!
Today’s readings give us three pictures of God. It is important, I think, to see them in progression to get the full image of who God truly is for us. If we were merely to stop with the first reading from Deuteronomy, we might tend to see our God as exclusive, choosing a small band of Israelites over all of creation. Better that we continue on through to the New Testament readings from Paul and Matthew to see the completion in Jesus who said upon leaving the earth, “I will always be with you, even to the end of the world!”
Now that having been said, the writer of Deuteronomy says this: “Know this today and take it into your hearts.” And from there, the Deuteronomy writer seems to be saying, in my understanding, “God has basically walked with you and will remain with you.”
Paul fleshes this out for us in his letter to the Romans expanding the theology. He says that through the Spirit, our God has adopted us, adopted us all—we are heirs, with Jesus, in the great family of God.
Now the notion of God choosing us as a people in Deuteronomy is a good starting place as long as we see the completion of that in Jesus’ stories of the Prodigal and that of the shepherd leaving the 99 to go in search of the lost one. Both stories depict the over-the-top love of the Creator for the created! —a love intended for all!
So, on this Trinity Sunday, a day that calls us to consider who God is for us; I will share who God is for me. I often speak of God in the Trinity as Creator, Savior and Spirit. This concept is devoid of gender, per se, except in the person of our brother, Jesus, who when you think about it, probably gave us the most androgynous view of the good of both genders, female, and male. I can most effectively have a relationship with Jesus because of his presence, in time, as a human being, and I believe this was the wisdom of our God in appearing in human form—to tell us in a way that we could understand, how much we are loved and cherished, each one of us.
God as Creator, I choose to see in all of created life—in all the beauty, the joy, the attempts to be people of peace and understanding. And when, in our world did we ever need those two traits more? The psalmist today speaks of God beautifully as the Creator and prays— “May your faithful love be upon us, O God, as we place all our hope in you.”
The Spirit, for me, is that force within that gives me the courage to say the hard things, to do what I might not always want to do for fear of being rejected. The Spirit is really the life of Jesus, in a new form.
To this point I would like to give a concrete example out of my life. You all know that the organization, GRASP (Great River Asylum Support Partners) is working diligently within our community to make safe and secure and loved, our first family from Honduras.
To this noble endeavor, each of us brings all that we have as persons. Some of us see the small picture (this family, which, by the way, is no small task) and others see a larger picture (helping more families in the future, thus planning facilities for them). Some of us see that we can do both, others are more conservative and basically fear what we don’t know.
As one of the pastors in this group, I for one, challenge us toward “balance” (somewhere between fear and passion, fully expressed) and perhaps more importantly, faith, as most come out of some sort of faith background. You will be hearing more on this in future.
Suffice to say that on this Trinity Sunday, when we are asked to reflect on who God is for us—how in fact God has revealed the Godhead as suggested above through Creation –Love-over-the-top in Jesus and the Spirit who, “keeps” as another writer has suggested, “Jesus’ presence before our eyes, in a new way; we might look again, and again at Jesus’ way in the world.
Jesus challenged systems that were unfair and unjust toward the poor, the marginalized—such as women. The powerful of his time objected as they were content, but Jesus said basically, no, until all are content, I won’t be silent.
My friends, you know as I do, that there is much injustice in our world. One of those injustices I addressed here—that of our fractured immigration system. Our world and especially, our country, struggle with racism and all its ramifications. We struggle too in our country defining what freedom is—on the one hand, as a friend said recently; we demand, and rightly so, that babies and young children be in secure and safe car seats and on the other hand, nearly everyone who wants to have a high-powered gun in this country, can have one! We could go on…
But on this Trinity Sunday, let us pray for each other that we can come to an ever larger idea of who our loving God is—first in Jesus and in how he attempted each day in his earthly life to challenge people to their best—because of a Creator God, he lovingly called, “Abba” –equivalent to our “Daddy or Mama” and then sent his Spirit, like unto himself, only different—to continually remind us of all that Jesus taught in his life among us. Life can only ultimately be good for me; if in fact, it is good for all others too! Amen? Amen!