Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40
|Date:||May 29-30, 2021, Most Holy Trinity, Cycle B|
Jesus told his apostles, Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit....
And go they did, which is why you and I show up at Mass Sunday after Sunday. We show up and renew our baptismal initiation in two ways: by receiving Christ in communion, and by renewing our baptismal promises by reciting the Creed. Jesus command to baptize specifically in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit teaches us that our initiation as Catholics, as well as our living out that initiation is founded on belief in the Trinity. I would like to reflect on what it means to profess our faith by saying that we believe in the Trinity, using the words that were used at our baptism. And remember, in the Creed when we say we believe we mean that this belief changes who we are and how we live. It is not just an intellectual acknowledgment that something is true.
The first reality that we will be asked to profess our belief in is: God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth? In order to say I believe that, I have to be prepared to say that I believe that creation has meaning, life has meaning, my life and your life have meaning. And (here is the hard part) that that meaning is NOT one that I assign to it. The origin of my life, the purpose of my life, and the destiny of my life are assigned to me; I don't determine it; my role is to discover it. I am creature, not creator. That is counter to all lot that our culture tells me. Am I prepared to say that I will live as if I am creature, working for God's agenda to make this creation paradise?
The second reality we will be asked to profess our belief in is: Jesus Christ, his only Son, Our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died and was buried, rose from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of the Father? In order to say I believe that, I have to be prepared to say that, even though humans are not creators but creatures, even though human beings are not in charge and our value is determined for us, the value of each human being is so great, so precious, so incredibly awesome that God became one of us! And not only did God become human but he suffered and died and rose from the dead so that our humanity might share in God's divinity! If human life is that precious, and that incredibly awesome, how must I treat each human being that I come in contact with, starting with myself? How must I treat my family and friends and neighbors and strangers and yes, even my enemies? Am I prepared to say that I will live as if each human life is that incredibly awesome?
And lastly, we will be asked to profess our belief in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Only lately have I begun to understand that this is not a list of separate things but that all of those are aspects of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who draws us out of ourselves into relationship with God and with others. In order to say I believe in the Holy Spirit, I have to be prepared to say I believe that the primary way that God relates to us is God and US, not God and ME. Am I prepared to say that faith and religion are not private relationships with God but have their primary meaning in God's relationship with a community? Am I prepared to say that I am willing to let the the Holy Spirit move me to let the commuities I belong to form me, and to do my best to help form them to be better?
The last thing I want to do is to perjure myself in church. So there are only two things that make me foolish enough to renew these promises. The first is my trust in thePaschal Mystery: God becoming human, suffering and dying , and then being raised from the dead as proof that God is ready to do anything to bring about God's will of having us fully establish the Kingdom of God here on earth. The second is that I am not going to say I believe all by myself. I am going to say I believe in the midst of all of you saying that you believe as well. Without this communion of believers I don't know that I would have the courage to profess this belief and to live it out. But with you together as the Body of Christ, and trusting in God's power, let us all have the courage to profess: I believe in one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.