Homily Rerun: Trinity Sunday 2020,
Exodus 34:4b-6, 8-9 / 2 Corinthians 13:11-13 / John 3:16-18
The Trinity in Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life:
You Can’t Have One Without the Other Two (Fr Bill)
My Dear Children of God: Trinity Sunday acknowledges and respects our duty to seek truth.
Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. If we believe there is no right or wrong ‘way’ and that there is only opinion and no ‘truth,’ we will never discover the ‘life’ which is in Jesus and actually is Jesus.
Today, our parish honors our high school graduates. Today, the Catholic Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. Today, our nation is engulfed in vicious hatred spilling forth in violence. Today, the world remains caught in the grip of a hopefully weakening pandemic. All four require a serious commitment to seeking the truth.
One of the documents from Vatican II stated that if we want peace we must work for justice. This is
true but incomplete. Any real peace must be rooted in justice, but justice must be rooted in something else. If you want peace work for justice. And if you want justice seek truth. Without truth there cannot be any real justice. So if you do not believe there is any truth but just a lot of different opinions then the only justice you will be able to work for is that which flows from an exercise of power, that which comes from the barrel of a gun. It will not be justice and it won’t lead to peace.
The pursuit of truth is actually instinctive to us, but that instinct has been so twisted by current society that we are left in a state of bewildered and distasteful confusion. E.g. the word “science” comes from the Latin “scientia” which means knowledge and is intimately connected with truth. Yet in the last couple months that word has been so frequently and nauseatingly misused as a political weapon by politicians and media personalities that even the memory of it leaves a foul taste in my mouth. We have abandoned truth as the basis for justice and the vacuum created by that has been filled with gross ignorance and hate-filled violence.
As we face the worldwide pandemic of the Wuhan Virus, and the disruption/destruction of communion it has wrought; as we witness the toxic hatred of murderous rioting at the unjust killing of George Floyd; and as we acknowledge the graduation of our high school seniors, we find a much-needed message in the celebration of Trinity Sunday. The Most Holy Trinity amazes us with Power, Mystery, Love, Three-Persons-in-Perfect-Community. This is our God, above us in every way beyond the almost limitless expanse of our imagining, reigning over life and death. He has given us the freedom/power to choose between life and death. This feast confronts us with the folly of placing ourselves above God in trying to understand the Trinity? This feast invites us to allow God to be above us as we seek Him in the wonder and humility that lead to joy?
Today we can go forth from church, some of us from high school in graduation, under the power/love/majesty/mystery of the Most Holy Trinity to explore God and all that is His – which is everything (even Caesar belongs to God) – and live in the wonder and amazement of new discoveries. Or we can go forth over the power/love/majesty/mystery of the Most Holy Trinity to live in a misguided, floundering attempt to find the meaning of life and love without being anchored in the pursuit of truth.
Living under the mystery of the Trinity leads to greater understanding of, delight in, and wonder toward: the mystery of Each Person of the Trinity (especially Jesus), the mystery of yourself, the mystery of the other (all others), the mystery of life (and of death), and the mystery of love.
To our high school graduates I present three world views as you go into college or join the workforce. Actually, there are only two ways and the third is the foundation you will need to choose the way which will open before you a life of true success and deep joy.
- Aristotle understood ethics as the study of character. He built his ethics around the premise that people must achieve an excellent (i.e. virtuous) character as a pre-condition for attaining happiness or well-being. He expanded this to the community in teaching that the purpose of politics is to make citizens happy – only possible when the citizens have the virtuous character necessary for happiness. Aristotle understood politics as the body politic coming together to find the best means to a good end.
- Machiavelli understood happiness to reside in, and thus be found in, power. For him, power was thee pre-condition for attaining happiness. Machiavelli argued that a ‘prince’ should always try to appear virtuous, but that acting virtuously, for the triumph of right over wrong, can prove detrimental to the acquisition of your goals, for which you need power, not virtue. Machiavelli understood politics as using power to get more power until you have all the power; and then using that power to maintain power.
- Scripture today tells us (Exodus) (2 Cor) (Jn 3:16-18):
- The Lord, the Lord, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.
- Mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.
- God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life.
The Church offers us the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity so that we can live our lives in wonder, amazement, and joy – in other words fully human lives. I would dare to suggest that the success of an education is measured not in the amount of the knowledge with which one goes forth to make money in the pursuit of worldly success, but in the expanse of the wonder with which one goes forth to live life to the full in pursuit of the Kingdom of God. While they are not necessarily mutually exclusive, they certainly are not synonymous either.
To live in and under the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is to live with Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life for you. To teach or share the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is to share the good news (to evangelize) that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life for all people in every time and place. In baptism we are brought under and into the mystery of Most Holy Trinity. In confirmation we are sent forth to announce the good news of the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. On this Trinity Sunday let us embrace the mystery, the wonder, the joy, the truth of our Triune God; and let us be committed to sharing the mystery, the wonder, the joy the truth of our Triune God with others.