Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sunday word, 15 Jun 14

Signature Qualities
Solemnity of Holy Trinity A (15 Jun 2014)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Holy Trinity: the phrase may sound more a puzzle than our name for God. We hear it and our minds want to make sense. Yet God is mystery; and mystery defies making sense. We celebrate instead of making sense. Our liturgical celebration of the Holy Trinity does not demand we define the persons in our triune God. Its scriptures assure us the Trinity is present to us as a community; the scriptures recall signature qualities of the community of the Trinity.

The first one is forgiving. Early in relationship with humans God revealed to Moses that God was merciful and gracious…slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity. God is forgiving.  Moses found that appealing and invited God to journey with them: do come along in our company. Echoing Moses’ invitation is worthy for us all: forgiving is ever a challenge.

Three more qualities cascaded in the second reading. The frequently used greeting at mass echoes St. Paul’s closing words to the Corinthians: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. Grace and love flow among the divine Persons in their communion. Their grace and love overflow to you and me. St. Paul encouraged behaviors influenced by them. He also recalled the Christian greeting known as the holy kiss. What we know about it is this: it reminded people that all Christians enjoyed God’s grace and love. No matter today’s styles in which Christians greet each other, our goal is to incarnate all manners of genuine communion.

Forgiving, loving, gracious and in communion pave the way for saving. Saving is the characteristic desire of our triune God. One of the best known scripture verses echoes that: 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 entire Fourth Gospel revolves around that verse. In case its familiarity dulls our hearing it or our minds get distracted by its final phrase— eternal life—the Evangelist followed immediately with: For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

Our triune God’s saving was no accident. It is eternally intentional: God so loved. That so intensifies God’s love. God loves the entire world so much we cannot measure it! Even the qualities and actions of some that may move us to ignore or to retaliate cannot keep the Trinity from lavishing love on each person as if that person—each of us, too—were the world’s only human.

One way we give ourselves access to God’s love is the sign of the cross. When we sign ourselves with Jesus’ cross we often say the divine, triple Name: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. By signing our-selves with their names we anoint ourselves with divine love. Its signatures are forgiveness, grace and communion. We remind ourselves that the Trinity saves us by Jesus’ cross and rising. Being saved means rescued; it means protected; and it means set apart. Consecrate is the word we use to designate when our triune God rescues, protects and sets apart. When we make the sign of the cross we consecrate our-selves with their love—forgiving, gracious, communal love.

Making the sign of the cross slowly helps us grow more aware our triune God is with us. Father, Son, Holy Spirit; forgiving, gracious, communal. In those ways the Trinity loves and welcomes us to love. Feeling that moves us to celebrate our triune God not define God. Definitions are necessary and helpful; they usually don’t inspire. Jesus revealed God in inspiring ways. When he saved our world by his cross Holy Spirit raised Jesus to absolutely new and undying life. Jesus gives us his Spirit to begin to live the Trinity’s life now.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Enter the Trinity with worship to help you: trace the sign of the cross on yourself several times as you say the Divine Name slowly.
  • Ask Moses and St. Paul to present you to Jesus.
  • Chat with Jesus: praise him for saving you by his cross and resurrection.
  • Ask him to help you live your baptized life with love that is forgiving, gracious and welcoming.
  • Close, saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. Saying Jesus’ words, Our Father, reminds us Jesus revealed God personally. Like risen Jesus, his Father brings us more alive by their Spirit at work in us.

Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise

Wiki-images of icons of the Trinity and of the only-begotten Son PD-US

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