DETAILED HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF THE BLESSED TRINITY YEAR C
THEME: THE COMMUNITY OF GOD
BY: Rev Fr Gerald Muoka_
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY JUNE 12 2022
R1 – Prov. 8:22-31
R2 – Rom 5:1-5
GOSPEL – John 16:12-15
There is a very old and much-repeated story about St. Augustine, one of the intellectual giants of the Church. He was walking by the seashore one day, attempting to conceive of an intelligible explanation for the mystery of the Trinity. As he walked along, he saw a small boy on the beach, pouring seawater from a shell into a small hole in the sand. “What are you doing, my child?” asked Augustine. “I am emptying the sea into this hole,” the boy answered with an innocent smile. “But that is impossible, my dear child,” said Augustine. The boy stood up, looked straight into the eyes of Augustine and replied, “What you are trying to do – comprehend the immensity of God with your small head – is even more impossible.” Then he vanished. The child was an angel sent by God to teach Augustine a lesson.
Beloved in Christ, today is Trinity Sunday. The church invites us to reflect on the mystery of the Blessed Trinity. This mystery of the most Holy Trinity is a basic doctrine of Faith in Christianity, understandable not with our heads but with our hearts.
Just as we see in the old and familiar introit story of Augustine and the little boy, we can understand something of the Mystery of the Holy Trinity more readily with the believing heart than with our feeble mind. Evagrius of Pontus, once said: “God cannot be grasped by the mind. If God could be grasped, God would not be God.”
The scriptural readings of this Sunday’s liturgy, instead of spelling out the doctrine of Holy Trinity, these readings summarize the effects of the Trinity in our daily lives. In other words, the church expects us to imitate the life of the Trinity in our community undertakings:
The first reading reflects on Wisdom, a quality which the book of Proverbs identifies with God. St. Paul, in his Letter to the Romans, teaches us that we have peace with God the Father through Jesus Christ, and that the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. Whereas, in the Gospel reading, Jesus describes the role of the Holy Spirit, His close relationship with God the Father and what the Holy Spirit is going to do for us as we go about our daily tasks.
Summarily, we see the roles of the three persons: God the Father creates, God the Son redeems and God the Holy Spirit sanctifies and furnishes us with every truth.
*TRINITARIAN MANIFESTATIONS AND PRESENCE IN THE SCRIPTURES*
The term “Trinity”, is not explicitly found in the bible. It was first used by
Tertullian, to explain that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are “one in essence – not one in Person.” He was the first to use “Person” and “Substance”, with reference to the Trinity.
Ours is not to exhaust or give a profound explanation on the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity, but to trace the prefigurations and roles of the Three persons of the Blessed Trinity; functioning as a community, as clearly stated in Scripture both directly, and by having the incommunicable attributes.
(1) In Gen.1:1, the Hebrew text used Elohim to address God. This rendition of Elohim comes in a plural form of El(God). But it denotes singularity in plurality. It became clearer in v.2, where the Spirit of God was hovering over the water. And in v.3, the creative power of God’s word that took flesh in Jesus was made manifest (Jn.1:3,14).
(2)In Gen.1:26, the scripture captures God not as a monad, but a community; let us create man in our own image and likeness. That “US” is remarkable, and not addressed to the angels, because a creature cannot create, but can discover and procreate.
(3)In Gen.11:7, the confusion at the tower of Babel was aggravated by the community clarion call and response: “come let us go and confuse them”.
(4)Gen.18:2, describes how God visited Abraham through 3 men.
(4) At the Annunciation, God the Father sends His angel to Mary, God the Holy Spirit comes upon her, the Power of the Most High overshadows her, and God the Son becomes incarnate in her womb.(Lk.1:34-38)
(5) At the baptism of Jesus, the Father’s Voice is heard, and the Holy Spirit appears as a Dove.(Mk.1:8-11)
(6)At the Ascension, the “Missio Ad Gentes” (mission to the world) was commissioned to baptize those who believe, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.(Matt.28:19-20)
(7)John, chapters 15–18, is replete with Jesus’ detailed teaching of the role of each Person of the Holy Trinity: God the Father creates, God the Son redeems us and God the Holy Spirit sanctifies us.
*THE COMMUNITY OF GOD*
The mystery of the Holy Trinity, a doctrine enunciated by the ecumenical councils of Nicaea and Constantinople, is one of the fundamental doctrines of Christianity and the greatest mystery of our Faith, namely, that there are Three Divine Persons, sharing the same Divine Nature in one God. “There is one God, who has three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each Person is God, yet there is still only one God” (CCC #234, #253-256). We have the Father Who is the Creator, the Son Who is the Redeemer and the Holy Spirit Who is the Sanctifier and the Counselor. The doctrine teaches that there are Three Persons in one God, co-equal and co-eternal in Divinity yet distinct in Person.
The Community of God is best understood within the confines of Perichoresis ( Greek peri = “around” + chorein=to make space), meaning, “to make space around”. It explains the mutual indwelling of the Three Persons in one God.
They are differentiated in their characteristics and roles, but related in their original exchange. The three persons, while dwelling in each other, still maintain space for each individually.
(IBIRI KAM BIRI-EGBE BERE UGO BERE THEOLOGY).
The live and let’s live theology of Perichoresis, is easily realized by “MAKING SPACE AROUND FOR EACH OTHER AND EVERYONE”. ONLY THIS MINDSET, QUALIFIES US TO BECOME MEMBERS AND PARTAKERS OF GOD’S COMMUNITY THAT IS BUILT AND ESTABLISHED ON LOVE. And by so doing, we join the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson, to actualize the dream of “making the world a better place for me and you”. We can achieve this by taking note of the following:
*(1)WE ARE ALL PRODUCTS OF LOVE*
Created ‘Imago Dei'(Let us create man in our own Image and likeness;Gen.1:26), we automatically, become products of the *COMMUNITY* of Trinitarian Relationship of love and unity in the family relationships of father, mother, and children because, by Baptism we become children of God and members of God’s Trinitarian family. In other words, we cannot live, achieve our mission in the absence of love.(NDU MMIRI NDU AZU). (1Jn.4:8)
*(2)LET LOVE LEAD*
Love is what radiates and unites the three Persons of the Blessed Trinity. This love is interpersonal that is realized through “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, culminating in the Love of God and actualized through the life of communion wrought by the Holy Spirit.
Let us practice the I–God–my–thou vertical and horizontal Trinitarian relationship in society by loving God. We can only achieve this one we see God in ourselves.
Let us respect ourselves and others because everyone is the temple of the Holy Spirit where all Three Persons of the Holy Trinity abide.(Jn.13:34;1Cor.13:13)
(3) *TEAM SPIRITEDNESS*
The Trinitarian indwelling is marked by “team” spiritedness of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the history of man’s salvation,
M=More. We too, can achieve more than we can imagine through team-spiritedness. When all hands are on deck, we form a formidable force. (Matt.18:19-20; Amos 3:3)
(4) *UNITY IN DIVERSITY*
The distinctive roles of the Trinity is seen only in the “persons”, not in their “Substance”. The have a central goal, as we see in the Gospel reading; “Salus Animarum” (The salvation of souls).
The doctrine of the Trinity teaches us how we should shape our lives, by not allowing what tears us apart to be greater than what binds us together. Let the difference in colour, size nurture, religion, tribe, race, culture and orientation, not touch our “Substance”, which is love for humanity; but bring variety and true tastes to both Jews and Gentiles.1Cor.12:12-31)
(5) *LEAVE THE STAGE WHEN YOUR ROLE IS ACCOMPLISHED.*
The salvific mission was often punctuated by Trinitarian handover. The Father plays his role as creator and sends the Son as the redeemer and the Son promised the Holy Spirit who sanctifies.
Many African nations today are underdeveloped, some live in penury and dictatorship( Imagine the gory scenario in Cameroon), because, some old layers under the guise of leaders have refused to leave the political stage. We keep recycling some old fools who can’t lay further eggs from Councillor, LGA Chairman, House of Assembly, Federal Reps, Senate, to Governor, back to Senate and ministerial appointments and from military presidency to democratic presidency… Even most of our churches and organisations are in disarray and disunity, because one president, leader or chairman has refused to hand over.
(6) *USE OF THE TRINITARIAN FORMULA*
The tenderness, faithfulness, kindness and mercy of God, which Moses sought over his people with the two tablets of stone in the first reading, are perfected in the tripartite functionality of the Blessed Trinity.
That is why: all prayers in the Church begin in the Name of the Holy Trinity and end glorifying the Trinity.
Virtually, all the Sacraments of the church are administered with the invocation of the blessed Trinity; both as introit and doxologies.
We are baptized, confirmed, anointed, our sins are forgiven, our marriage is blessed, and our Bishops, priests and deacons are ordained, in the name of the Holy Trinity. We bless ourselves, and the priest blesses us, in the Name of the Holy Trinity.(2Cor.13:13; Matt.28:19)
Finally, there was a story about a lunatic who climbed a tree and refused to come down. Everyone got worried about this. So, they shouted at him to go down from the tree but he did not. They called the police, military officers and a psychiatrist to convince him to go down but he was not convinced. They called the Mayor but it’s hopeless. Finally, they called the old parish priest of that place.
So the old parish priest went to the place and they asked him to make a blessing if in case he will fall down and die. So the priest made the Sign of the Cross. After a while the man went down from the tree and the people were surprised why it happened that way.
They asked the priest why he was able to convince the man to come down by making the Sign of the Cross. The priest told them: “No, I did not convince the lunatic to come down. I just say, ‘If you will not go down (tracing a vertical line), I will cut this tree (tracing a horizontal line in the air). After that he came down.
OH, WHAT A LIFE WITHOUT THE TRINITARIAN MEDIATION AND INTERVENTION?
MAY THE POWER OF GOD THE FATHER, THE PERSON OF GOD THE SON AND THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, ACCOMPANY YOU IN ALL YOUR UNDERTAKINGS, AMEN
HAPPY TRINITY SUNDAY
GOD LOVES YOU
FR GERALD MUOKA