The Trinity Explained – Homily, June 19

This weekend we celebrate the foundational mystery of our Christian faith, the mystery of the Trinity, a mystery that teaches us that the inner life of God is a life of relationships – Father and Son bound together by the love of the Holy Spirit. As I mentioned before, a mystery is not something of which we can know nothing, a mystery is a reality of which we cannot know everything. Our limited minds cannot grasp the infinite reality of God.

Our first reading reminds us that our God is a relational God whose love is infinite and not self contained. Our God is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

The gospel reminds of the time when the God of mystery became the God of history. “Indeed God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world but that in order that the world might be saved through him.” St. Paul reminds us that Jesus is the love of God made visible. The life and works and teachings of Jesus, the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus are proof positive of the love of God for each one of us. To know Jesus is to know God.

The integrity and authenticity of our relationship with God is shown in the integrity and authenticity of our relationship with others. “Love one another as I have loved you” As often as you did these things to one of these the least of these brothers and sisters of mind, you did them to me.”

This feast offers us the opportunity to look at the honesty of our relationships – with spouse, with parents, with sons and daughters, with siblings, with friends, with strangers, with the family of the church, with peoples of other faiths and cultures and with creation itself. Are our relationship healthy and life giving? Do we help others grow to a sense of self worth? Do we offer others our friendship and support? Are we willing to heal past hurts and forgive past sins? Are we a source of life and love to men, women and children in our lives? Are we willing to face the flaws in our relationships by admitting we are controlling, manipulating, exploitative in our dealings with those whose lives we touch?

But we don’t just touch the lives of other people. The way we live our lives, our lifestyles, our consumer mentalities, our throw away attitudes, our exploitation of the limited resources of Earth, our polluted air, our poisoned lakes and rivers, all these have an impact on our home the Earth and on those who share this home with us, other peoples and all the life communities of Earth.

Remember our Lenten program 4.5? If Earth was evenly divided among all its human inhabitants then each of us would be allotted 4.5 acres – that would be our space. From our 4.5 acres we would have to find the wherewithal to grow our food, the material to build our home, the energy to heat it, our space would have to provide the water we need for survival, the lumber to build our furniture, the fibers to produce our clothes, the metals to build our appliances and the gadgets we use. On our 4.5 acres we would have to find the petroleum we need for transportation. We know all this is impossible. We also know life isn’t fair. The way we live our lives has an impact on others. Not just those close to us. Our lifestyles impact people around the globe. Going back to our 4.5 acres; a study done in 2009 shows that people living in Tanzania need 2.6 acres to support their life style, people in Egypt need 3.5, people in India need 1.9 acres, in Japan they need 10.2 acres, in France they need 11.4, we Canadians need 14.2 acres to support our lifestyles, Americans need 22.3 acres. That study was in 2009, you can bet its gotten worse. Cutting back is not part of our mentality, we want more.

As I mentioned, this feast of the Blessed Trinity calls us to examine all our relationships, are they all they could be? Going beyond our immediate relationships we can look to our relationships with those impacted by our lifestyles.

We can heal and make right our relationship with our brothers and sisters in those lands that have to do with less by examining and cutting back our own lifestyles and admitting that the goods of creation belong to humanity as a whole. We can set right our relationships with other people in other lands by living simply so that they may simply live.

We can heal and make right our relationship with Earth and the rest of the life forms that share Earth with us by always remembering ‘the earth does not belong to us, we belong to the earth and what we do to the earth we do to ourselves – we did not weave the web of life, we are a strand in the web and what we do to the web we do to ourselves. We are kin, we are family with all other life on this planet, be it a single cell or a whale.

Father Thomas Berry, whose teachings are inspiration of our present church puts all this in these words: “In reality there is a single integral community of the Earth that includes all its component members, whether human or other than human. In this community every being has its own role to fulfill, it own dignity, its own spontaneity. Every being has its own voice. Every being declares itself to the entire universe. Every being enters into communion with other beings.”

On this feast of the Trinity we can pray for ourselves and for each other that we will do what we can to deepen our relationships, heal our relationships and live in peace with God and God’s creation.