Feast of the MOST HOLY TRINITY [C] (June 16) One-page summary
Introduction: The mystery of the most Holy Trinity is a basic doctrine of Faith in Christianity, understandable not with our heads but with our hearts. It teaches us that there are three distinct Persons in one God, sharing the same Divine Nature. Our mind cannot grasp this doctrine which teaches that 1+1+1 = 1 and not 3. But we believe in this Mystery because Jesus who is God taught it clearly, the Evangelists recorded it, the Fathers of the Church tried to explain it and the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople defined it as a dogma of Christian Faith.
Importance in Christian life: 1) All prayers in the Church begin in the Name of the Holy Trinity and end glorifying the Trinity.
2) All Sacraments are administered (we are baptized, confirmed, anointed, our sins are forgiven, and our marriage blessed, and our Bishops, priests and deacons ordained) in the name of the Holy Trinity.
3) Where Church bells ring thrice daily, they remind us to pray to the Holy Trinity.
4) We bless ourselves, and the priest blesses us, in the name of the Holy Trinity.
Biblical basis: There are only vague and hidden references to the Trinity in the Old Testament. But the New Testament gives clear teachings on the Holy Trinity.
1) At the Annunciation, God the Father sends His angel to Mary, God the Holy Spirit overshadows her and God the Son becomes incarnate in her womb.
2) At the baptism of Jesus, when the Son receives baptism from John the Baptist, the Father’s Voice is heard and the Holy Spirit appears as a Dove.
3) At the Ascension, Jesus gives the missionary command to his disciples to baptize those who believe, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
4) In John, chapters 15-18, we have a detailed account of Jesus’ teaching of the role of each Person of the Holy Trinity:
a) God the Father creates and provides for His creatures.
b) God the Son redeems us and reconciles us with God.
c) God the Holy Spirit sanctifies us, strengthens us, teaches us and guides us to God.
Life messages: 1) Let us respect ourselves and others because everyone is the temple of the Holy Spirit where all Three Persons of the Holy Trinity abide.
2) Let us have the firm conviction that the Trinitarian God abides in us, that He is the Source of our hope, courage and strength and that He is our final destination.
3) Let us practice the Trinitarian relationship of love and unity in the family relationships of father, mother and children because by Baptism we become children of God and members of God’s Trinitarian family.
4) Let us practice the I–God–my neighbor vertical and horizontal Trinitarian relationship in society by loving God living in others. (Fr. Tony) L-19
HOLY TRINITY [C] (June 16): Prv 8:22-31; Rom 5:1-5; Jn 16:12-15
Homily starter anecdotes# 1: Simplified explanations by Ss. Patrick, Cyril and John Maria Vianney: The shamrock, a kind of clover, is a leguminous herb that grows in marshy places. St. Patrick, the missionary patron saint of Ireland, used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity. The story goes that one day his friends asked Patrick to explain the Mystery of the Trinity. He looked at the ground and saw shamrocks growing amid the grass at his feet. He picked one up one of its trifoliate leaves and asked if it were one leaf or three. Patrick’s friends couldn’t answer – the shamrock leaf looked like one but it clearly had three parts. Patrick explained to them: “The mystery of the Holy Trinity – one God in Three Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – is like this, but more complex and unintelligible.” St. Cyril, the teacher of the Slavs, tried to explain the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity using sun as an example. He said, “God the Father is that blazing sun. God the Son is its light and God the Holy Spirit is its heat — but there is only one sun. So there are three Persons in the Holy Trinity but God is One and indivisible.” St. John Maria Vianney used to explain Holy Trinity using lighted candles and roses on the altar and water in the cruets. “The flame has color, warmth and shape. But these are expressions of one flame. Similarly, the rose has color, fragrance and shape. But these are expressions of one reality, namely, rose. Water, steam and ice are three distinct expressions of one reality. In the same way one God revealed Himself to us as Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.” Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQLfgaUoQCw&feature=player_detailpage (http://frtonyshomilies.com/ )
# 2: Trinity prayer of Tolstoy’s monks: Three Russian monks lived in a faraway Island. Nobody ever went there. However, one day their bishop decided to make a pastoral visit to learn more about their religious life. But when he arrived, he discovered that they did not know even the Lord’s Prayer. So he spent all his time and energy teaching them the Our Father and then left them, satisfied with his pastoral visit. But when his small ship had left the island and was back in the open sea, he suddenly noticed the three hermits walking on the water – in fact they were running after the ship. When they approached it, they cried out, “Dear bishop we have forgotten the Lord’s Prayer you taught us.” The bishop, overwhelmed by what he was seeing and hearing asked them, ”But dear brothers, how then do you pray?” They answered, “We just say, there are three of us and there are three of you, have mercy on us.” The bishop, awestruck by their sanctity and simplicity said, “Go back to your island and be at peace.” (Adapted from Leo Tolstoy- The Three Hermits” (Russian: Три Старца, a short story by Russian author Leo Tolstoy (Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy), was written in 1885 and first published in 1886 in the weekly periodical Niva (нива). http://frtonyshomilies.com/
# 3: “But that is impossible, my dear child:” There is a very old and much-repeated story about St. Augustine, one of the intellectual giants of the Church. He was walking by the seashore one day, attempting to conceive of an intelligible explanation for the mystery of the Trinity. As he walked along, he saw a small boy on the beach, pouring seawater from a shell into a small hole in the sand. “What are you doing, my child?” asked Augustine. “I am trying to empty the sea into this hole,” the boy answered with an innocent smile. “But that is impossible, my dear child,” said Augustine. The boy stood up, looked straight into the eyes of Augustine and replied, “What you are trying to do – comprehend the immensity of God with your small head – is even more impossible.” Then he vanished. The child was an angel sent by God to teach Augustine a lesson. Later, Augustine wrote: “You see the Trinity if you see love.” According to him, the Father is the lover, the Son is the loved one and the Holy Spirit is the personification of the very act of loving. This means that we can understand something of the Mystery of the Holy Trinity more readily with the heart than with our feeble mind. Evagrius of Pontus, a Greek monk of the 4th century who came from what is now Turkey in Asia and later lived out his vocation in Egypt, said: “God cannot be grasped by the mind. If God could be grasped, God would not be God.” http://frtonyshomilies.com/
Introduction: Today’s feast invites us to live in the awareness of the presence of the Triune God within us: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The mystery of the Holy Trinity, a doctrine enunciated by the ecumenical councils of Nicaea and Constantinople, is one of the fundamental doctrines of Christianity and the greatest mystery of our Faith, namely, that there are Three Divine Persons, sharing the same Divine nature in one God. “There is one God, Who has three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each Person is God, yet there is still only one God” (CCC #234, #253-256). We have Father Who is the Creator, Son, the Redeemer and Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier and the Counselor. The doctrine of Three Persons in one God, equal in Divinity yet distinct in Person, is not explicitly spelt out in the Bible. Even the very word “Trinity” is not found in the Bible. But the doctrine of the Trinity underlies all major Christian feasts, including Christmas, the Epiphany, Good Friday, Easter, the Ascension and Pentecost. All the official prayers of the Church, including the Holy Mass and the Sacraments, begin with an address to the Holy Trinity: “In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” We are baptized, absolved of our sins and anointed in the name of the Blessed Trinity. Throughout the world, where church bells ring three times a day they invite Christians to pray to God the Father (the Provider); God the Son (the Savior); and God the Holy Spirit (the Sanctifier). We bless ourselves with the Sign of the Cross invoking the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and we conclude our prayers glorifying the Holy Trinity, saying “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.” Today’s readings convey the fundamental mystery that the Triune God reaches out to people in love, seeking the deepest communion with them.
Scripture lessons, summarized: Today’s readings from Proverbs, Romans, and John are all about “pouring out.” God pours Self out in Word; God and Word pour out the Spirit to help us pour ourselves out; and the Spirit pours forth Faith and strength and character. Instead of spelling out the doctrine of Holy Trinity, today’s readings summarize the effects of the Trinity in our daily lives. The Book of Proverbs reflects on Wisdom, a quality which that book identifies with God. St. Paul, in his Letter to the Romans, teaches us that we have peace with God the Father through Jesus Christ, and that the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. In today’s Gospel, Jesus, the Son of God, mentions the role of the Holy Spirit, His close relationship with God the Father and what the Holy Spirit is going to do for us as we go about our daily tasks. God has revealed to us three separate functions that are carried out by the three Persons. He has told us that it is proper to attribute to God the Father the work of creation; to God the Son, the work of Redemption, of reconciliation and of healing, and to the Holy Spirit, the work of guidance in truth, in the work of teaching and in the work of sanctification. As the Father, God has brought forth the created universe and even our very selves. As God’s Son and our Brother, Jesus, He has made known a God Who hears our cries, Who cares, Who counts the hairs on our head and Who loves us so passionately that He became one of us, to suffer for our sins, to die that we may live. As Spirit, God remains with and within us as Paraclete: Guide, Advocate and Consoler.
Exegetical notes 1) The development of the Trinitarian doctrine in the Church. The oldest doctrinal formulation of the Church’s belief in the Trinity is found in the Apostles’ Creed which has served both as the basis of instruction for catechumens and as the Baptismal confession of Faith since the second century. Later, the Nicene Creed, originating at the Council of Nicaea (AD 325), stated the doctrine more explicitly. This creed was introduced into our Western liturgy by the regional council of Toledo in AD 589. God has revealed to us three separate functions that are carried out by the Three Persons. He has told us that it is proper to attribute to God the Father the work of Creation, to God the Son the work of Redemption and to God the Holy Spirit the work of Sanctification. Our knowledge of God as Trinity is made possible by God, Who has chosen to reveal Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As Father, God has brought forth the created universe, including our own being. As Son, Jesus has made known a God who hears our cries, who cares, who counts the hairs on our head and who loves us so passionately that He became one of us in order to suffer for our sins, and even to die for us. As Spirit, God remains with us and within us.
2) The Triune God as seen in the Old Testament: Since Yahweh, the God of Israel, was careful to protect His Chosen People from the pagan practice of worshipping many gods, the Old Testament books give only indirect and passing references to the Trinity, and the Jewish rabbis never understood them as references to the Holy Trinity. Genesis 1:26 presents God speaking to Himself: “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” Genesis 18:2 describes how Yahweh visited Abraham under the appearance of three men, an event that the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates as the “Trinitarian Experience of Abraham.” In Genesis 11:7, before punishing the proud builders of the Tower of Babel, God says, “Come, let Us go down among them and confuse their language. “These passages imply, rather than state, the doctrine of the Trinity.
3) Clear doctrine of the Trinity in the New Testament.
a) The Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38), describes how God the Father sent the angel Gabriel to Mary to announce to her that God the Holy Spirit, would “overshadow” her, and that God the Son would be made flesh in her womb.
b) During the baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:16-17), the Holy Spirit was shown descending on Jesus in the form of a Dove, while the Voice of God the Father was heard from the clouds.
c) John (Chapters 15 through 18), presents the detailed teaching of Jesus on the Persons of the Holy Trinity.
d) In the preaching mission given by the risen Lord to his disciples, Jesus commanded them to baptize people “in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Confer also Matthew 28:19; John 10:30).
Life messages: 1) We need to respect ourselves and respect others. Our conviction of the presence of the Triune God within us should help us to esteem ourselves as God’s holy dwelling place, to behave well in His holy presence, and to lead purer and holier lives, practicing acts of justice and charity. This Triune Presence should also encourage us to respect and honor others as “Temples of the Holy Spirit.”
2) We need to be aware of God as the Source of our strength and courage. The awareness and conviction of the presence of God within us, gives us the strength to face the manifold problems of life with Christian courage. It was such a conviction that prompted the early Christian martyrs, when taken to their execution, to shout the heroic prayer of Faith from the Psalms: “The Lord of might is with us, our God is within us, and the God of Jacob is our helper” (Psalm 46).
3) We need to see the Trinity as the model for our Christian families: We are created in love to be a community of loving persons, just as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are united in love. From the day of our Baptism, we have belonged to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. How privileged we are to grow up in such a beautiful Family! Hence, let us turn to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in prayer every day. We belong to the Family of the Triune God. The love, unity and joy in the relationship among the Father, Son and Holy Spirit should be the supreme model of our relationships within our Christian families. Our families become truly Christian when we live in a relationship of love with God and with others.
4) We are called to become more like the Triune God through all our relationships. We are made in God’s image and likeness. Just as God is God only in a Trinitarian relationship, so we can be fully human only as one member of a relationship of three partners. The self needs to be in a horizontal relationship with all other people and in a vertical relationship with God. In that way, our life becomes Trinitarian like that of God. Modern society follows the so-called “I-and-I” principle of unbridled individualism and the resulting consumerism. But the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity challenges us to adopt an “I-and-God-and-neighbor” principle: “I am a Christian insofar as I live in a relationship of love with God and other people.” Like God the Father, we are called upon to be productive and creative persons by contributing to the building up of the fabric of our family, our Church, our community and our nation. Like God the Son, we are called upon to reconcile, to be peacemakers, to put back together that which has been broken, to restore what has been shattered. Like God the Holy Spirit, it is our task to uncover and teach truth and to dispel ignorance. (Trinitarian spirituality: “The doctrine of the Trinity affirms that it belongs to God’s very Nature to be committed to humanity and its history, that God’s Covenant with us is irrevocable, that God’s face is immutably turned toward us in love, that God’s presence to us is utterly reliable and constant…. Trinitarian spirituality is one of solidarity between and among persons. It is a way of living the Gospel attentive to the requirements of justice, understood as rightly ordered relationships between and among persons.” Dictionary of Spirituality)
St. Francis Xavier’s favorite prayer was: “Most Holy Trinity, Who live in me, I praise You, I worship You, I adore You and I love You.” Let the Son lead us to the Father through the Spirit, to live with the Triune God forever and ever. Amen.
(Holy Trinity: Our God is far beyond the grasp of our intellect. All we can say is: Our Father is omnipresent and so I live in Him because the universe exists in Him. The Son, Jesus is Emmanuel – God with us and so He is always with me; I live with Him. The Holy Spirit inspires us all, from within us and so the Holy Spirit lives in my heart. There is only one God. We live in Him; He lives with us and He lives in us. Yahve – “I am Who am” — He is all (Joe Vempeny)
JOKE OF THE WEEK: 1) Trinitarian Love the essence of family life: One day, while he was walking with God in the Garden of Eden Adam said, “Excuse me God, can I ask you a few questions?” God replied, “Go on Adam, but be quick. I have a world to create.”
So, Adam says, “When you created Eve, why did you make her body so curved and tender unlike mine?” “I did that, Adam, so that you could love her.” “Oh, well then, why did you give her long, shiny, beautiful hair?” “I did that Adam so that you could love her.” “Oh, well then, why did you make her so stupid? Is that too because I should love her?” “Well, Adam, no. I did that so that she could love you.”
2) Wisdom from child’s mouth: A priest went into a second-grade classroom of the parish school and asked, “Who can tell me what the Blessed Trinity means?” A little girl lisped, “The Blethed Twinity meanth there are thwee perthonth in one God.” The priest, taken aback by the lisp, said, “Would you say that again? I don’t understand what you said.” The little girl answered, “Y’not thuppothed to underthtand; ‘t’th a mythtewy.”
3) Trinitarian pastor: One parishioner said, “The Trinitarian God is a lot like our pastor. I don’t see him through the week and I don’t understand him on Sunday.”
4) Lutheran satire about St. Patrick’s bad analogies (Funny You Tube joke): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQLfgaUoQCw&feature=player_detailpage
THE WEBSITES OF THE WEEK
1) Father’s advice to his son in law before giving his daughter in marriage; (Hilarious video illustrating the role of the Trinitarian God in marriage)
2) Catholic doctrines in short videos; http://thatcatholicshow.sqpn.com/
3) Catholic pages Directory: http://www.catholic-pages.com/dir/default.asp
4) The Catholic Liturgical Calendar page: http://www.easterbrooks.com/personal/calendar/index.php
5) Virtual tour of Sistine chapel, Vatcan: http://www.vatican.va/various/cappelle/sistina_vr/index.html?utm_source=Twitter
6) Free program for men’s renewal in parishes: https://www.paradisusdei.org/index.php/programs/tmiy
(Video URL)= https://www.paradisusdei.org/index.php/programs/tmiy
22 Additional anecdotes:
1) The universal testimony: A good illustration of the Trinity comes from world-renowned scientist Dr. Henry Morris. He notes that the entire universe is Trinitarian by design. The universe consists of three things: matter, space, and time. Take away any one of those three and the universe would cease to exist. But each one of those is itself a trinity. Matter = mass + energy + motion. Space = length + height + breadth. Time = past + present + future. Thus the whole universe witnesses to the character of the God who made it (cf. Psalm 19:1). http://frtonyshomilies.com/
2) “You ask me a riddle?” Boston’s Richard Cardinal Cushing (d. November 2, 1970, age 75), told of an occasion when he was administering last rites to a man who had collapsed in a general store. Following his usual custom, he knelt by the man and asked, “Do you believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit?” The Cardinal said the man roused a little bit, opened an eye, looked at him and said, “Here I am, dying, and you ask me a riddle?” Call them riddles. Call them Mysteries. There are things about life and Faith we do not understand, but I am not going to suggest that you resign your effort to understand. http://frtonyshomilies.com/
3) “The undertaker.” There is an old story about a henpecked husband who went to a psychologist. He was tired of being dominated by his wife. The psychologist told him, “You do not have to accept your wife’s bullying. You need to go home right now and let her know that you’re your own boss.” The husband decided to take the doctor’s advice. He went home and slammed the door on the way in. He confronted his wife and said, “From now on you’ll do what I say. Get my supper, then go upstairs and lay out my clothes. After I eat, I’m going out with the boys while you stay home. By the way, do you know who is going to tie my tie for me?” “I sure do,” said his wife calmly, “the undertaker.” Some marriages are filled with conflict. So are some offices. Unfortunately, some churches are filled with conflict as well. The feast of the Holy Trinity challenges us to cultivate the Trinitarian relationship of love and unity in our families and offices and parishes. http://frtonyshomilies.com/
4) Human mystery confronting Divine Mystery: The story is told that Franklin D. Roosevelt and one of his close friends, Bernard Baruch, talked late into the night one evening at the White House. At last, President Roosevelt suggested that they go out into the Rose Garden and look at the stars before going to bed. They went out and looked into the sky for several minutes, peering at a nebula with thousands of stars. Then the President said, “All right, I think we feel small enough now to go in and go to sleep.” The wonder of the power and wisdom of God puts things in perspective for us humans. It was not an accident, but the result of a Divine Plan; planets, stars, plants, birds, fish, and animals were all created by God. And the climax of God’s creation was humanity. How complex and mind-boggling is our physical construction! Chemically, the body is unequalled for complexity. Each one of its 30 trillion cells is a mini chemical factory that performs about 10,000 chemical functions. With its 206 bones, 639 muscles, 4 million pain sensors in the skin, 750 million air sacs in the lungs, 16 million nerve cells and 30 trillion cells in total, the human body is remarkably designed for life. And the brain! The human brain and nervous system compose the most complex arrangement of matter anywhere in the universe. One scientist estimated that our brain, on the average, processes over 10,000 thoughts and concepts each day. Bill Bryson in his book, A Short History of Nearly Everything, says it is a miracle that we even exist. Trillions of atoms come together for approximately 650,000 hours (the average span of human life), and then begin to silently disassemble and go off to other things. There never was something like us before and there never will be something like us again. But for 650,000 hours the miracle that is uniquely us exists. One could spend years just dealing with the marvelous intricacies and majesty of God’s creation. We are, as the Psalmist states “fearfully and wonderfully made.” No wonder we cannot understand the mystery of a Triune God! http://frtonyshomilies.com/
5)”Bad things always come in threes.” An old adage warns, “Bad things always come in threes.” Have you found this true in your own experience? That bad things (and good things), like to happen in community, in bunches? You say: we invent this connection by suddenly realizing that we got a flat tire on the same day that a computer glitch devoured our hard drive, shortly after our last contact lens just slid down the drain. I say: there seems to be something significant about the power of three. Today the Church celebrates the Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—on this “Trinity Sunday” affirming the truth that good things also come in threes. We recognize God as Power (the Father), God as Person (the Son), and God as Presence (the Holy Spirit). http://frtonyshomilies.com/
6) “But the machine can’t ask me about my arthritis.” The true story is told of a woman named Mamie who made frequent trips to the branch post office. One day she confronted a long line of people who were waiting for service from the postal clerk. Mamie only needed stamps, so a helpful observer asked her, “Why don’t you just use the stamp machine? You can get all the stamps you need and you won’t have to wait in line.” Mamie said, “I know, but the machine can’t ask me about my arthritis.” That’s part of the wisdom of Christ’s coming to our earth to live among us as described in today’s Gospel (John 3: 16-18). He can relate to us in all of our daily needs. As we try to walk in Jesus’ steps, we might do well to pray the ancient Irish poem set to an Irish ballad tune, which says,
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all. http://frtonyshomilies.com/
7) Aggressively selfish child: A report some years ago, allegedly by the Minnesota Crime Commission, painted a dark picture of human nature indeed, particularly with regard to small children. I quote: “Every baby starts life as a little savage. He is completely selfish and self-centered. He wants what he wants when he wants it – his bottle, his mother’s attention, his playmate’s toy, his uncle’s watch. Deny him these once, and he seethes with rage and aggressiveness, which would be murderous were he not so helpless. He is, in fact, dirty. He has no morals, no knowledge, no skills. This means that all children, not just certain children are born delinquent. If permitted to continue in the self-centered world of his infancy, given free rein to his impulsive actions to satisfy his wants, every child would grow up a criminal a thief, a killer, or a rapist.” [Cited in R. Scott Richards, Myths the World Taught Me (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991), p. 39.] It is to transform this self-centered human nature into a selfless, God-centered one that the Second Person of the Holy Trinity took human form as described in today’s Gospel. http://frtonyshomilies.com/
8) A dumb debate on God: The following hypothetical debate for the mute and the deaf scholars is a warning to our pastors who think that they have explained Holy Trinity well to their flock on Trinity Sunday. The Jews and the Catholics are having a debate about God and decide that they will each send one representative to prove that their side is right. The only rule is that words are not allowed. They decide on their representatives. The Vatican decides to send their best brain – Cardinal Ratzinger, the head of the Congregation on Faith and Morals – while the Jews pick one of their best rabbis to represent them. As a sign of respect the Jews allow the debate to be held at the local cathedral. The time for the debate comes and the rabbi walks into the cathedral and up to the cardinal. The cardinal waves his hand towards the sky. The rabbi responds by slamming his fist into his palm. The cardinal holds up three fingers. The rabbi responds by holding up his middle finger. The cardinal then pulls out bread and wine. The rabbi then reaches into a bag and pulls out two fish. At this point the cardinal holds up his hands and walks away.
After the debate the cardinal heads back to the Vatican to talk it over with the pope and the other cardinals. “Man, those Jews have it all figured out. First, I said to him, ‘God is everywhere,’ and he responded, ‘God is right here.’ I was taken aback. So, I held up three fingers representing the Holy Trinity, and he responded, ‘We all worship the same one God.’ I didn’t know what to do so I showed him bread and wine representing the sacrifice of Jesus, and he responded with two fish, representing that Jesus provides.
The Rabbi headed back to the synagogue to tell the others his version what had happened. “Man, you wouldn’t believe those Catholics. The moment I walked in this guy with a weird hat gestures at me ‘No Jews Allowed.’ I said, ‘I’m staying right here.’ Then he said, ‘You have three minutes.’ I said, ‘Get lost.’ Then he pulled out his lunch, so I showed him mine.” http://frtonyshomilies.com/
9) Why Isn’t the whole West Coast Included? A woman wrote to Reader’s Digest. She wanted to tell about an experience that she had when she took a young girl from India to church with her. It was the eleven-year-old girl’s first exposure to a Christian worship service. The young lady’s parents were traveling on business and had left her in the care of their American friends. The little Hindu girl decided on her own to go with the family to church one Sunday. After the service was over, they went out to lunch. The little girl had some questions. She wondered, “I don’t understand why the West Coast isn’t included, too?” Her Christian friends were puzzled and asked, “What do you mean?” She responded, “You know. I kept hearing the people say, ‘In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the whole East Coast.’” http://frtonyshomilies.com/
10) God Is Everywhere: A pastor was trying to explain to a little Sunday school child that God is calling people everywhere in the world to believe in Him. “God is much bigger than we imagine him to be and God can use all of us in lots of different ways to do his work everywhere,” the pastor said. “God is everywhere!” “Everywhere?” asked the little boy. “Everywhere!” said the pastor. The boy went home and told his mother, “God is everywhere! The pastor said so.” “Yes, I know,” said the mother. “You mean he is even in the cupboard?” “Yes,” said the mother. “In the refrigerator — even when we close the door and the light goes out?” “Yes,” said the mother. “Even in the sugar bowl?” the lad asked as he took the lid off. “Yes,” said the mother, “even in the sugar bowl.” The boy slammed down the lid and said, “Now I’ve got Him.” http://frtonyshomilies.com/
11) “What?” Jesus said, “Who do men say that I am?” And his disciples answered and said, “Some say you are John the Baptist returned from the dead; others say Elijah, or other of the old prophets.” And Jesus answered and said, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Logos of the Father, the Son Whom the Father loved from eternity and Whom the Holy Spirit, the eternal Personification of the love between the Father and the Son, begot on the Virgin Mary. And Jesus answering, said, “What?” http://frtonyshomilies.com/
12) “I’m surprised at you:” An English teacher of a 21-sophomore high school class put a small chalk dot on the blackboard. He then asked the class what it was. A few seconds passed and then someone said, “That is a chalk dot on the blackboard.” The rest of the class seemed relieved that the obvious had been stated, and no one else had anything to say. “I’m surprised at you,” the teacher told the class. “I did the same exercise yesterday with a group of kindergartners and they thought of 50 different things the chalk mark could be: an owl’s eye, a cigar butt, the top of a telephone pole, a star, a pebble, a squashed bug, a rotten egg, a bird’s eye, and so on.” The older students had learned how to find a right answer, but had lost the ability to look for more than one right answer. The Holy Spirit helps us, in His wonderful Wisdom, to see more than we might have seen by ourselves. The Spirit’s vision allows us wonderful options for expansion and new possibilities. It is the Spirit’s Wisdom that reveals the Word to us. It is the Wisdom of the Spirit that shows us our sin, which guides us, which instructs us, which leads us in the way to Life Everlasting. http://frtonyshomilies.com/
13) Trinitarian design for medieval cathedrals: When the architect and engineer Aldo Spirito was commissioned to design a cathedral for the Archdiocese of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, West Africa, he used a number of architectural elements to reinforce, as in the tradition of the medieval cathedrals, the truths of our Faith. Among those elements is the fact that the basic structure is triangular, so as to state dramatically the fundamental truth of Christian Faith: God has revealed Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. http://frtonyshomilies.com/
14) The Sundial: A missionary from Africa, on his home-leave, came across a beautiful sundial. He thought to himself, “That sundial would be ideal for my villagers in Africa. I could use it to teach them to tell the time of the day.” The missionary bought the sundial, crated it and took it back to Africa. When the village chief saw it, he insisted that it be set up in the center of the village. The villagers were thrilled with the sundial. They had never seen something so beautiful in their lives. They were even more thrilled when they learned how it worked. The missionary was delighted by everyone’s response to his sundial. He was totally unprepared for what happened a few days later. The people of the village got together and built a roof over the sundial to protect it from the rain and the sun! Well, I think the sundial is a lot like the Holy Trinity, and we Christians are a lot like the African villagers. The most beautiful revelation of our Faith is the teaching about the Holy Trinity, namely, the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. But instead of putting the teaching to work in our daily lives, we have built a roof over it, just as the villagers did over their sundial. For many of us the Trinity seems of little practical value, when it comes to our daily lives. We treat it more like an ornament of our Faith. (Mark Link in Sunday Homilies; quoted by Fr. Botelho). http://frtonyshomilies.com/
15) Jesus’ brother, Isukiri, died in Jesus’ place on the cross and Jesus went to Japan : While visiting one of the members of one of the congregations I served some years ago, I was offered a cup of coffee, and while I sat in the lounge room waiting, I noticed something unusual. On a table there was what appeared to be a shrine. Inside was a Buddha statue with candles and flowers and food and other symbols. As we sipped coffee, I asked about the display on the table expecting to hear a story about an overseas trip and souvenirs. Instead I heard a story about this person’s involvement in the cultic Japanese religion Mahikari and how she felt that what she was learning through this religion complimented and supported her Christian faith. She told me how it taught her about karma, reincarnation, ancestor worship and making food offerings to the spirits of the departed, and so on. She told me that Jesus’ brother, Isukiri, died in Jesus’ place on the cross, that Jesus went to Japan when he was 37 and he died there when he 106. The amazing thing about all this, is that this person saw no conflict between what she confessed on Sunday mornings when she said the Apostles’ Creed with us and what she did the rest of the week as she prayed before the shrine in her lounge room. This reminds me of the young man who asked if he could go into the Church to pray. Before the pastor could respond he quickly added, “By the way, what kind of Church is this? Not that it makes any difference. I don’t follow any particular religion. Whenever I pass a Church or a mosque I go in say a prayer and plug into the Divine. Any God will do!”
“Plug into the Divine,” like it is magic, a kind of pill that will keep us safe and sound! Today’s feast reminds us that our God is a Triune God, one God in Three Persons. (Rev. Gerhardy). http://frtonyshomilies.com/
16) Exploring the mystery of Holy Trinity: Explorers and the pioneer families did solve the mystery of what was out there beyond the coastal strip. In fact, people have been exploring the mysteries of our world on many fronts – medicine, technology, as well as what is out there in space. Where there is any kind of a mystery, people will try to solve it. But there are some Mysteries that will always be a Mystery. Today, Trinity Sunday, we come up against one of those Mysteries – God. Who is God? Where is God? What is God? I can’t touch Him. I can’t say how big He is. I can’t see Him. The early Christians started talking about a Triune God. This wasn’t to make God more logical and understandable and acceptable to human ways of thinking. In fact, the idea of the Trinity intensified the Mystery and awesomeness of God. They observed that Jesus had a unique relationship with the Father and that the Holy Spirit had a unique relationship with the Father and the Son. Against all sorts of odds, against all human logic, and in the face of mounting opposition, the Church maintained that Jesus Christ is true God, equal with the Father, and that the Holy Spirit is God, equal with the Father and the Son. Who is God? He is our Heavenly Father Who made us, takes cares of us and calls us His dear children. Who is God? He is Jesus Christ Who gave His life on the cross to re-establish our relationship with God. He reveals the way to God and to eternal life. Who is God? God is the Holy Spirit in you giving you Faith in God and guiding you in your daily walk as a Christian. Faith in the Triune God acknowledges the might and majesty of God but, at the same time, trusts in His care and intimate knowledge of our needs and of what is happening in our lives. O LORD, our Lord, the majesty of Your Name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens. Let us make this our prayer: “Lord God, in spite of our unbelief and lack of understanding of Who You are, show us Your new way of living. Amen.” (Rev. Gerhardy). http://frtonyshomilies.com/
17) Holy Trinity prayer (Fr. De Mello version of Tolstoy’s Three Monks) : When the bishop’s ship stopped at a remote island for a day, he decided to use the days as profitably as possible. He strolled along the seashore and came across three fishermen mending their nets. In Pidgin English they explained to him that centuries ago they were Christianized by missionaries. “We, Christians!” they said, proudly pointing to themselves. The bishop was impressed. Did they know the Lord’s Prayer? They had never heard of it. The bishop was shocked. How could these men claim to be Christians when they did not know something as elementary as the Lord’s Prayer? “What do you say, then, when you pray?” the bishop asked. “We lift eyes in heaven. We pray, ‘We are three, You are three, have mercy on us.’” The bishop was appalled at the primitive, downright heretical nature of their prayer. So he spent the whole day teaching them to say the Lord’s Prayer and he succeeded although the fishermen were poor learners.
Months later the bishop’s ship happened to pass by those islands, and the bishop, as he paced the deck saying his evening prayers, recalled with pleasure the fact that on that distant island were three fishermen who were now able to pray correctly, thanks to his patient efforts. While he was lost in thought he happened to look up and noticed a spot of light in the east. The light kept approaching the ship and, as the bishop gazed in wonder, he saw three figures walking on the surface of the water towards the boat. The captain stopped the boat and all the sailors leaned over the rails to see this amazing sight. When they were within speaking distance, the bishop recognized his three friends, the fishermen. “Bishop!” they exclaimed, “we are so glad meet you! We heard your boat go past island and came in a hurry, hurry to meet you.” “What do you want?” asked the bishop filled with wonder seeing them walking on water as Jesus did. “Bishop,” they said, “we so sorry. We forgot that lovely prayer you taught us. We remember only this much: ‘Our Father in Heaven, holy be your name, your kingdom come’ . . .the rest we forgot. Please teach us whole prayer again.” The bishop felt humbled. “Go back to your homes, my good men,” he said, “and each time you pray, say your Holy Trinity prayer, ‘We are three, You are three, have mercy on us!’” (Fr. Anthony de Mello S.J., The Song of the Bird, Adapted from Tolstoy’s original story of Three Monks). http://frtonyshomilies.com/
18) Welcome in! There is a beautiful Russian icon of the Blessed Trinity painted by a monk named Rublev. The monk, Andrei Rublev (c. 1360 – 1430), was a medieval Russian who painted Orthodox icons and frescoes. His Trinity icon is considered the greatest of its kind, and one of the finest works of religious art ever created, depicting a wordless conversation between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is based on an earlier icon known as the “Hospitality of Abraham” illustrating Genesis 18 which depicts the three angels who visited Abraham at the Oak of Mamre (see. Genesis 18,1-15) sitting around a table. But the painting is full of symbolism and often interpreted as an icon of the Holy Trinity. A dish of food lies on the table. But the thing that immediately strikes you is the fact that at the front of the table there is a vacant place. The vacant place is meant to convey openness, hospitality and welcome towards the stranger and outsider. That vacant place is meant for each one of us, and for all the human family. It signifies God’s invitation to us to share in the life of the Trinity. God doesn’t exclude us. He invites us to come in and sit at His table. He wants to share His life with us. [Flor McCarthy in New Sunday & Holy Day Liturgies (Fr. Botelho.] http://frtonyshomilies.com/
19) You don’t need to understand God for Him to take over your life
Thomas Edison, the inventor, once remarked: “We don’t know what water is. We don’t know what light is. We don’t know what electricity is. We don’t know what heat is. We have a lot of hypotheses about these things, but that is all. But we don’t let our ignorance about these things deprive us of their use.” The truth of that statement is real. Most of us do not know how an electric light works, how a telephone or a TV works, but this does not prevent us from using them. Let us try to apply the same common sense to our Faith in the doctrine of the Trinity. [John Pichappily in The Table of the Word; quoted by Fr. Botelho.] http://frtonyshomilies.com/
20) “Holy, Holy, Holy”: Today’s “signature” Hymn is familiar to all of us. It begins,
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, Holy, holy, merciful and mighty,
God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity.
21) Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity Becomes a House of God: No one understood this better that Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity. She grew up in France in the late eighteen hundreds, the daughter of a successful military officer who died of a heart attack while she was still only a girl. She was an extremely strong-willed and temperamental child. Her frequent fits of rage were almost uncontrollable, and she was known as the “little devil.” This began to change after her first Communion, when she was eleven. That afternoon she met for the first time the prioress of the nearby Carmelite convent. The nun explained that the girl’s name, Elizabeth, meant “house of God,” and wrote her a note that said: “Your blessed name hides a mystery, accomplished on this great day. Child, your heart is the House of God on earth, of the God of love.” From then on, recognizing that God had taken up residence in her soul, she waged a holy war against her violent temper. She didn’t win overnight, but she did win, eventually, and she also discovered her vocation to become a Carmelite herself. Her mother didn’t like the idea, however, and made her wait until she was twenty-one. She won friends of all ages during those years of waiting, singing in the parish choirs, arranging parish day-care service for families that worked in the local tobacco factory, and also winning several prizes for her skill at the piano. She died only five years after entering the convent, at the age of 26, after having suffered horribly for months from an extremely painful disease of the kidneys. But her realization that the Blessed Trinity dwelt within her enabled her to suffer with patience and even with joy. As she wrote to her mother: “The bride belongs to the Bridegroom, and mine has taken me. [Jesus] wants me to be another humanity for him in which he can still suffer for the glory of his Father, to help the needs of his Church: this thought has done me so much good.” Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity had discovered the intimate, loving presence of God that He so eagerly wants to reveal to all of us. (E-Priest). http://frtonyshomilies.com/
22) “As there is fire and water in this brick” According to Tradition, when St. Spyridon of Trimithund was asked at the Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325) how three can simultaneously be one, he responded (with a little divine help!) by taking up a brick and squeezing it. From the now-soft clay in his hands, a flame flared up, while simultaneously water flowed downward. “As there is fire and water in this brick,” said St. Spyridon, “in the same way there are three persons in the one Godhead.” (The great 20th-century Catholic theologian Father Karl Rahner, SJ, was supposedly asked once by a priest friend how he should explain the Holy Trinity when preaching. Father Rahner’s reply was simple: “Don’t!” The mystery we celebrate in today’s feast defies not only explanation but also comprehension. The preacher is left to reaffirm our core belief that God, remaining one, is somehow also triune. The preacher is further challenged to help his congregants (and himself) understand why that truth might matter in their daily lives.) https://www.osv.com/OSVNewsweekly/DailyTake/Article/TabId/736/ArtMID/13645/ArticleID/22072/June-11-2017-The-Incomprehensible-Mystery-of-the-Trinity.aspx) http://frtonyshomilies.com/
“Scriptural Homilies” Cycle C (No. 34) by Fr. Tony: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit my website: By clicking on http://frtonyshomilies.com/ for missed or previous Cycle B homilies, 141 Year of Faith “Adult Faith Formation Lessons” (useful for RCIA classes too) & 197 “Question of the Week.” Contact me only at email@example.com. Visit http://www.vaticannews.va/en/church.html for the Vatican version of this homily and https://www.catholicsermons.com/homilies/sunday_homilies under CBCI or in the CBCI website https://cbci.in/SundayReflectionsNew.aspx?&id=cG2JDo4P6qU=&type=text .
Fr. Anthony Kadavil, Chaplain, Sacred Heart Residence of the Little Sisters of the Poor, 1655 McGill Ave, Mobile, AL 36604.