Feast of the Holy Trinity – a family of love
Posted: Thu, 27 May 2021 13:16
These past few weeks have seen a gradual easing of the real hardship that had been lockdown. As the vaccination rate increases, children are back their classrooms in school, and more businesses are re-opened, we share a sense of returning to a fuller experience of community. Experts tell us that we will probably never be able to return to the days pre-pandemic: face masks and physical distancing are probably going to remain with us for some time to come as we learn to live with this evolving virus. We have learnt that we must be aware of the common good and with my human rights come my human RESPONSIBILITIES that can sometimes be forgotten in MY desire to live MY life in MY way. Pope Francis has offered us a useful perspective: do we want to act like Pontus Pilate and simply wash our hands of others, or are we called to be like the Good Samaritan and choose to be involved? The love of God is our guide, a love that is inclusive and open to all, even those who are our enemies or find difficult to love as you should:
The Christian response to the pandemic and to the consequent socio-economic crisis is based on love, above all, love of God who always precedes us (cf. 1 Jn 4:19). He loves us first. He always precedes us in love and in solutions. He loves us unconditionally and when we welcome this divine love, then we can respond similarly. I love not only those who love me — my family, my friends, my group — but also those who do not love me, I also love those who do not know me and I also love those who are strangers, and even those who make me suffer or whom I consider enemies (cf. Mt 5:44).
Pope Francis, General Audience 09/09/2020
In these interesting days, we celebrate the gift of the Trinity: the family that is God. We can go down the road of St Patrick and pick up the shamrock, as we try to explain the mystery of one God in three persons, but God can never be reduced to a mathematical formula or a crossword type puzzle. Today is not the day to indulge in deep theological and philosophical reflection, rather just bask in the love of God. The Trinity is a family of love: Father, Son and Spirit bound by unconditional and lasting love. In the very first pages of the Bible, we read that humanity is made 'in the image and likeness' of God. All that is honourable, noble and true in human life, is a reflection of that good and true God. The danger is, of course, is that we can reduce God to our level: all that is petty and selfish can be blamed on God in our narcissistic efforts to make God in OUR image and likeness.
My uncle Pat would tell us great stories as we were growing up; he told this story which fits the day. A man and his daughter stopped at a well in a town square for a drink after a long hike in the hills together. After he drank, the man continued gazing into the well as if he was looking down at someone at the bottom. His daughter eyed him carefully and asked her dad, "Who lives down there?" The man answered her, "God lives down there. God does." The child said, "Can I see God, too?" "Of course, you can," as he gently picks her up in his arms and he leans her over the well. The child looks down deep into the well, but all she could see was her own pale reflection in the water below. Disappointed, she turned to her father and said "But all I can see is me—all I can see is me." "Ah," said the man, looking into her eyes. "Now you know where God lives—God lives in you!"
Our feast today helps us to see where we can find God, even in a suffering and painful world. The human experience of God shows us that God did not shirk from rejection, hurtful words, anger, bitterness, and even death. We cannot limit God to our church buildings, as this pandemic experience has taught us so well: God was very much at home in your kitchen, as you tried to balance working from home and home schooling with your need for worship. God, the Trinity of love, is to be found in the lives and faces of those we live with and share our lives with. Equally, we find God in the countless strangers we will meet, especially as we return to the new normal.
We cannot box God into the way we want God to be: if you are looking for God, look for Him in your heart. Look for Him with your heart and your history; and think of Him in terms of your own history and how God has touched it and moved you and many things.
On Calvary's Hill, the secret is out. Look at the cross on Calvary and then you know the secret of why God bothers. God, who dwells in 'inaccessible light', wants to be, needs to be, yearns to be loved by us. It is God's vulnerability that we cherish most of all. He opens the heavens and comes down. He comes to meet us on our own terms, revealing Himself to us first, that we may come to know Him later, and in the knowing of Him, learning to love Him, and in the loving of Him, learn to serve.
It is knowing and the loving and the serving the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, that we enter into the ebb and flow of the very life of God Himself. We do not need an explanation, for He is in our hearts from the moment we breathe and for all eternity.
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav'nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Listen and pray: 'From Whom All Blessings Flow' (Doxology)
Fr Gerry O'Shaughnessy SDB
Image: Missio Raggazzi via Qumran2.net