“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” 2 Corinthians 13:11-13.
On Trinity Sunday, we have come full circle, and we now touch the liturgical reset button of feast days and summer holidays.
The Trinity is about our companionship with God, as Father, Son and Spirit.
Today, we aren’t so much celebrating a doctrine or theological formula, as a reality of God in people’s lives.
In the Book of Exodus, we read that Moses is bowed down on the ground, and says: “If I find favor with you, O Lord, do come along in our company.”
Such an invitation is built on a companionship and friendship with God, where he joins us on our life’s journey. How is this so? In the Book of Wisdom we read: “Blessed are those who are friends of God.”
When I was a youngster the old fashioned missal that I held in my hands at First Holy Communion explained the Latin Mass to me, and my Second Grade class. This little missal contained only one Sunday Mass as its model; it was this, the Mass for the Most Holy Trinity.
As I look at this book now, which I still have as one of my tiny treasures, I’ve wondered why the publishers would have selected this particular Sunday for children since of all theological mysteries, the Trinity is not the easiest to explain.
Then again, religion is not easy to explain, and maybe children possess the ability to be totally at one resting in the mystery of how certain people have truly loved us into being. It’s that relationship, companionship, and friendship that we express on Trinity Sunday.
How God loved us, becomes one of us, and inspires us to continue this creative act of love, faith, hope and care for one another, is the Trinity.
So we begin and end with this cloud of mystery, observed first hand by Moses, that is the Trinity, and how we play a part of this intimate companionship.
The point here is that truth comes in deep layers. The kind of knowledge we had as a youngster attempting to comprehend this life force of love calling us into being from parents, friends teachers and coaches takes growth, time to take root and mature.
According to theologian Walter Grazer, “Catholics see the Trinity as relational and social. And all of creation and life reflects this relational and social notion, so all creatures are intimately linked and share a kinship.”
This does not mean a diminishing of our unique and special role as humans, but rather a call for even greater respect, intimacy with nature, and the deep connection to a wholesome ecology.
Three weeks ago, on May 24th in a formal diplomatic audience, Pope Francis met with President Donald Trump in Rome. Among the gifts that were exchanged were the three papal exhortations by Pope Francis that have marked his four years as pope.
The second of these pastoral exhortations “Laudato Si: On the Care of our Common Home” moves Catholic theology to consider not only “human or material ecology” but more so, and here’s a new term, “integral ecology.”
This is how we as humans embrace all that we have been given in creation itself.
I don’t know if the President was listening, given his rejection a week or so later of the Paris Climate Accords. But I respectfully suggest he takes the time to read “Laudato Si,” and consider its implication for the human family.
It is interesting to note that we here in the Monterey Diocese – in which our geography touches the coastline from Santa Cruz in the north, to Big Sur, and to edges of Santa Barbara County in the south, knows the most magnificent of God’s natural gifts.
So much so, our own Bishop Garcia has partnered with organizations calling for greater energy efficiency, and even the installation of solar panels on church buildings to further assure our own ecological and environmental goals.
Of course, some Catholics may wonder why the Pope and our bishop are getting into issues of climate change and global warming. Partly economics, of course; but also ecological concerns for the welfare of the planet flow for our very own theology.
Our gospel today, drawn from John 3:16, among the most considered texts in the New Testament, boldly states: “God so loved us that he sent his Son” It’s with grateful hearts that we respect this creation and this mystery. And know full well how we are to care for one another and all creation as our common dwelling and task.
In “Laudato Si,” Pope Francis ends with “A Prayer in Union with Creation,” calling upon Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
“Father, we praise you with all your creatures…
Son of God, Jesus through you all things were made…
Holy Spirit, by your light you guide this world…
Lord, seize us with your power and light,
Help us to protect all life,
to prepare for a better future,
for the coming of your Kingdom
of justice, peace, love and beauty.
Praise be to you!
A Final Note:
Yes, life can break our hearts, but not defeat us. Saint Paul makes this bold statement: “Not only do we boast in the glory of God, we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that these tests of faith produce endurance, proven character, and a hope that does not disappoint.”
This past week, Judy Woodruff and the PBS Newshour provided brief glimpses into the lives of people, so called disabled or challenged individuals. These are stories are worth hearing. Take a look at Reid Davenport, a handsome young filmmaker whose gifted life and the test of cerebral palsy — make us know more about endurance, character, and a hope that will not disappoint.