Deacon Cornell’s Homily

Readings: Exodus 34:4b-6, 8-9
2 Corinthians 13:11-13
John 3:16-18
Date: June 7, 2020 Most Holy Trinity, Cycle A

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

In this simplest of prayers we Catholics say, we proclaim the two major tenets of our faith that distinguish us as Christians. With the sign that we make of the cross, we proclaim the paschal mystery of Christ, his suffering, dying, and rising. And with the words, we proclaim the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. Both of these mysteries reveal something important fundamental about God. The mystery of the trinitarian nature of God is perhaps the more important of the two because it reveals that God is three persons in one, and although Jesus is different from the Father or the Spirit, he is fully God so it is God who suffered and died and rose from the dead.

The simple sign of the cross reminds us of this mystery but it is so familiar we can forget it is a metaphor. God is not actually an old fatherly man with white hair and beard, nor is he a Jewish man who lived 2000 years ago (althought that Jewish carpenter was actually God), nor is the Spirit a dove, or a flame, or a wind. One way we remind ourselves that every thing we say or know about God is a symbol or metaphor is to use many such symbols in reflecting on God so we remember that no one of them is the whole story. So we can say along with Paul,

In the name of the Love of God, and of the grace of Christ, and of fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

Several years ago I heard another beautiful metaphor for God's nature. The first person of Trinity, God, is the creator who sings creation into being, the Song the Singer sings is the second person of the Trinity, and the breath the Singer uses to sing that Song is the third person. So we can say the sign of the Cross by saying: In the name of the Singer, and of the Song, and of the Holy Breath!

The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity not only reveals something about God's nature but it reveals something fundamental about our nature. We are made in the image of God, the most Holy Trinity. So strictly speaking, no one of us can say we are made in the image of God because our God is not an individual, but a loving relationship of persons who are different but somehow still one. It is not I, but we, who are made in the image of God. And what that reveals is that we humans are all connected to one another as the Father is connected to the Son, and the Son and the Father to the Spirit. I would suggest that at some deep level all human beings realize this, and so we can only do violence against another by somehow pretending that the other is not really human, not really part of me. All violence of humans against humans, whether it be war, or racism, or abortion, or economic oppression, or political divisiveness is carried out by naming the other as something other than human.

Today's feast stands as a fundamental corrective to that tactic of excluding another as not part of us because he or she is different from us. We are made in the image a God who is a relationship of love between 3 persons, different from each other but still one with each other, and so are we humans. When any other human suffers, each one of us suffers. When any human being is oppressed or treated unjustly, each of us is as well.

I suggest that whatever else you might be moved to do in the face of the injustices so much at the forefront in our world today, it would be good to take a knee several times a day, and pray:

In the name of the Singer, and of the Song, and of the Holy Breath!

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