Basic Information

Mass Location: St. Mary Magdalen Chapel, 2532 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo, CA 93010
Mass Time: Sunday 10 a.m. (check parish website bulletin for special feastdays which may be different)
Confessions: 9:00-9:45 a.m. - see schedule below

Monday, June 16, 2014

Homily - Feast of the Most Holy Trinity - June 15, 2014

Rom. 11:33-36; Mt. 28:18-20

At some point in our lives, probably when we were very young, someone may have drawn a triangle and said the Trinity is something like this, one entity, a triangle, yet with three parts.  I would not fault that.  After all, St. Patrick, explained the Trinity with a three leafed clover and converted all of Ireland.

However, it takes us to another level when we begin to think of the God in terms of relationships.  St. John says, “God is love.”  The one thing we know about love is that it does not exist in isolation.  If there is one who loves, there is one who is loved, and there is the bond between them.  Such is God, three distinct Persons.  And yet love unites.  God, Whose love is perfect, is perfectly united in His Persons.  God is one.

We encounter God in relationship, and that is the point of our readings today.  The Epistle speaks to what is theologically the transcendence of God.  He is incomprehensible, unsearchable.  He is totally other.  Once in awhile, someone will call and say, “Father, I need to talk to you right away.”  We make an appointment, the person comes in, and says, “Father, I don’t understand God.”  Well, of course.  If we could understand Him, He would be as big as we are.  But He is infinite, He is eternal.

The Gospel speaks of what is theologically the imminence of God.  In Christ, by His birth and incarnation, cross and resurrection, God has become present to us.  And, as in all relationships, He reveals Himself to us.  We need but think of the episode in the Old Testament Book of Exodus where Moses encounters God in the burning bush.  Moses asks God a wonderful question, “What is your name?”  God tells him His name, “Tell the people I Am sent you.”  When we know someone’s name, we are able to enter into relationship with him.  And yet God’s name is a mysterious one, “I Am,” as if to say “Being.”  It doesn’t tell us too much about God.  But then our Lord, Who is the perfect revelation of the Father, completes the sentence:  “I am the resurrection and the life.”  “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”  “I am the Good Shepherd.”  He goes ahead of us.  And there is one instance where He continues, “You are.”  “I am the vine, you are the branches.”  We are united with Him in relationship.  We share the same lifeblood.

In the genius of the Extraordinary Form, this is the message of the readings today, though we cannot comprehend God, we enter into relationship with Him.  And this is demonstrated beautifully in the Gospel reading where our Lord not only speaks of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, but gives us the very means by which we enter into relationship with Him:  “Go, therefore, and baptize, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”  This is how we enter into relationship with God, by our faith and baptism.  And this ties in beautifully with Easter.  We have celebrated the Easter Season, Pentecost, and now Trinity Sunday.  We are baptized into the cross and resurrection of Christ.  It is the great exchange:  He stands in our place, with our burden of weakness and sin, and by His power as God, rises, and overcomes it, so that we can stand in His place, beloved sons and daughters of the Father.

That we truly share the divine life is something that we can appreciate very much.  Martin Luther did not believe in sanctifying grace.  He believed that human nature was completely corrupt.  He did not believe in forgiveness.  By forgiveness, he believed that our sin was merely covered up, as by snow, but the corruption still remained.  Not so in our Catholic faith.  We believe that when Jesus forgives, He takes away our sins, so much so, that we say it at Mass, “Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi.”  And we say it not once, but three times.  He takes away our sins.  Where are they?  They are gone.  And He gives us sanctifying grace, His very life, His indwelling, to make us holy.  Holiness is this, that we see everything through the eyes of faith, and that our actions serve God and His purpose and His way, and so become the person He made us to be in His image and likeness.  This is holiness and the glory of God.  Holiness is possible.

I go on retreat every year to a retreat house in northern California.  Once, I met a Protestant who was there.  It is a Catholic retreat house.  I asked, “Are you visiting?”  He said, “No, I’m here to make the Ignatian Exercises.”  I thought, “That’s interesting, since you don’t believe in sanctifying grace.”  Of course, he did.  Another proof that the truth of our faith is so obvious, that in our more candid moments, we stumble across it.

There is one more “I Am” statement which Jesus said which I did not mention a few moments ago:  “I Am the Bread of Life.”  He is present to us in the Eucharist, the sacrament of His cross and resurrection, and of His Real Presence, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.  Through the Eucharist, He shares His divine life with us.  Next Sunday is Corpus Christi Sunday, and we will devote the whole day to our reflection on the meaning of the Eucharist.  Jesus says in the Gospel, “I am with you to the ends of the earth.”  It sheds light on the meaning of His resurrection, that it was not only a restoration of His life after death, but a new existence, where He lives, is present, and shares His life with us by our faith, and in the Church, and in our mission.