homily – June 7

Matthew 28: 16-20

On this feast of the Holy Trinity we celebrate a mystery of faith that separates us from Jewish and Moslem believers in the one God. We believe that Jesus made known to the world what might be called the family secret of God. That secret, that mystery is that the inner life of God is a life of community – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As I mentioned before a mystery is not something of which we can know nothing, a mystery is something of which we cannot know everything. When we stop to think about it we are a mystery to ourselves. Do any of us know ourselves completely, understand ourselves completely. How often do we find ourselves saying to ourselves, “why did I say that, why did I do that, why am I so impatient, so unforgiving?”

Through the gift of baptism we have been invited into the intimacy of that divine relationship. Through the gift of baptism we received the spirit of adoption. The Holy Spirit bears witness to our spirits that we are the children of God. The Holy Spirit gives us the boldness to call God – Father.

We are told that we are made in the image and likeness of God. What this means is that we have the ability to enter into and live in relationship with others. It is not good to be alone. At every Mass we pray that we “may all of us who share in the Body and Blood of Christ be brought together in unity by the Holy Spirit.

The honesty, the integrity, the sincerity of our lives as Christian men and women is proven by our efforts to live out the great commandment of Jesus, “Love one another as I have loved you.” As we all know this is not an easy thing to do. There are days, maybe months, maybe years when we find it almost impossible to forgive spouses, children, friends, collogues who have hurt us, disappointed us, maybe even betrayed us. It can take years to outlive prejudices or a narrow-mindedness that we picked up by osmosis growing up. We all have a tendency to stereo-type other people. But for all our difficulties we still make break throughs, we still find within ourselves the courage to take the first step toward reconciliation, the first step toward accepting and respecting others, the first step toward being there for others in need. In living this great commandment, a commandment by which our lives will be judged, there are days we win and there are days we loose, but we always keep trying.

There is one relationship we especially need to examine and that is our relationship with God’s good creation.

Father Thomas Berry, a Passionist priest who died this past week was a great thinker and writer. When speaking of the environmental and ecological crisis facing all of us, a crisis caused by the alienation between ourselves and the earth community, he speaks of the dire need for the human family to work toward a ‘mutually enhancing earth human relationship.” It is good to remember the earth was around billions of years before our arrival. As you’ve heard before, the earth does not belong to us; we belong to the earth, what we do to the earth we do to ourselves. Our present relationship with earth and the life communities on the earth can best be described as exploitive, manipulative and destructive. If we were in a human relationship that fit this description, hopefully we would get out of it for the sake of our own survival.

Fr. Thomas makes this statement: “In the 20th century the glory of the human has become the desolation of the earth and the desolation of the earth is becoming the destiny of the human.” Again, what we do to the earth we do to ourselves.

On this feast of the Holy Trinity maybe we can take the time to examine the health of our personal relationship with God’s good creation. Relationships are determined by attitudes. Are we still caught in the mind-set that God make us lords of all creation and everything is ours to use and abuse or do we have an attitude of gratitude toward earth and see in it a manifestation of God’s beauty and graciousness? Do we have the insight which helps us see ourselves in relationship with the entire earth community? Again you’ve heard the saying,’ we did not weave the web we are a strand in the web and what we do to the web we do to ourselves.

As we continue to celebrate the feast of all relationships we can pray for ourselves and for each other that in all our relationship, with God, the church, our families our society and earth we will try to make sure these are all mutually enhancing – that they be all they could be and should be healthy, holy and healing, mutually enhancing.