Homily – June 16, 2019

What a wonderful weekend to celebrate the feast of the Holy Trinity as we also celebrate Father’s Day. A mother wrote this beautiful reflection on the birth of her first child.

God is love, and the love between Father and Son is so profound that it begets a third Person, the Spirit. Our human experience of love approaches this mystery we call the Trinity. ‘I can remember catching a glimpse of the power of our relational God when I saw my first child at the moment of her birth. As I, a new mother, and her father looked at our baby we both cried at what our love had created.

As I’ve mentioned before a mystery is not something of which we can know nothing. A mystery is something of which we cannot know everything. Even when we come to see God as God is we will not be capable of grasping the immensity of God.

This feast is a feast that celebrates relationships. God’s inner relationships and God’s relationship with us, as Father, as Savior and as Sanctifier. It is a feast that challenges us to question the health of our own relationships.

That questioning might go something like this; in my relationships am I a source of life, love, growth, healing, forgiving. Do I enrich the lives of others by my friendship? Are people better people thru their friendship with me? Do I encourage, foster the gifts and abilities of others. Do I give my spouse, my sons or daughters, my friends, the freedom to be themselves, to find their own way? Is my friendship strong enough that I am willing to confront or face up to issues that are not healthy, that can weaken my relationship with another person? In any and all of my relationships am I dependable, trustworthy, and faithful?

Forming and maintaining good healthy relationships is not easy. Friends ‘fall out ‘husbands and wives split, parents and children are alienated. That’s why it’s important to question ourselves – am I a control freak – am I a demanding person, a needy person, do I try to manipulate, dominate family or friends. Does everything have to center of me? Living in healthy, life giving relationships is a life time task. When all is said and done – our whole lives will be judged on how we lived our many relationships – with family, friends or strangers – These are the facts by which our lives will be judged – I was hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, imprisoned – and you were there for me – welcome into the eternal life giving relationship of Father, Son and Spirit – for as often as you did these things to one of these, the least of mine, you did it to me.

We refer to ourselves as St. Gabriel’s parish family. Years ago a person said to me, ‘I’ve been coming here for years and no one has ever spoken to me.’ I asked her how many people she’d spoken to. None. She presumed it was up to others to speak to her. We invite to greet those around as we begin our family celebration of Mass. Do you feel welcome here? Do you feel you belong? Do you feel at home? Have you made any effort to help others feel at home here? It’s something to think about.

A few years ago Pope Francis issued a letter to the world on the environmental crises facing us all but denied by many. We really have messed up our relationships with the rest of Earth’s life systems, systems that support and sustain our lives. To satisfy our need for more and more we have polluted Earth’s lakes and rivers with our wastes from pulp mills and mines. We’ve polluted Earth’s air with toxic fumes and the soil with pesticides. We’ve ignored the fact that we are not lords of creation; we are kin, we are family with all other life forms on our common home, Mother Earth. You’ve heard me say this many times, ‘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 humans have placed a great strain on our relationships with the rest of God’s good creation. The church, even common sense, calls us to live simply that others may simply live and to see that Earth’s bounty is shared equally by whole human family.

As we continue to celebrate this feast of the Blessed Trinity, this feast of relationships we pray for the ability to always live in holy, life giving, life sustaining, life healing relationships with all those who come into our lives.