YEAR C: HOMILY FOR THE 11TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (TRINITY SUNDAY)
HOMILY THEME: “Jesus said, ‘I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will declare to you the things that are to come.’” (John 16:12-13)
BY: Fr. Robert deLeon, CSC
HOMILY: John 16:12-15
While it’s often said that sage wisdom results from living long and bearing the many challenges life affords, it’s just as true that children can offer us a refreshing wisdom that seems to have no connection to life experience or suffering. Consider the following three vignettes:
One: “Teacher Debbie Moon’s first graders were discussing a picture of a family. One little boy in the picture had a different hair color than the other members. One of her students suggested that he was adopted. A little girl said, ‘I know all about adoption, I was adopted.’ ‘What does it mean to be adopted?’ asked another child. ‘It means’, said the girl, ‘that you grew in your mommy’s heart instead of her tummy!’” (Original source unknown)
Two: “On my way home one day, I stopped to watch a little league baseball game that was being played in a park near my home. As I sat down behind the bench on the first-base line, I asked one of the boys what the score was. ‘We’re behind 14 to nothing,’ he answered with a smile. ‘Really,’ I said. ‘I have to say you don’t look very discouraged.’ ‘Discouraged?’ the boy asked with a puzzled look on his face. ‘Why should we be discouraged? We haven’t even been up to bat yet.’” (Original source unknown)
Three: “Whenever I’m disappointed with my spot in life, I stop and think about little Jamie Scott. Jamie was trying out for a part in the school play. His mother told me that he’d set his heart on being in it, though she feared he would not be chosen.
On the day the parts were awarded, I went with her to collect him after school. Jamie rushed up to her, eyes shining with pride and excitement. ‘Guess what, Mom,’ he shouted, and then said those words that will remain a lesson to me. ‘I’ve been chosen to clap and cheer.’” (Original source unknown)
It seems that wisdom, both in the elderly and in the youthful, is a manifestation of God’s Spirit at work in a person who is close to heaven—in the young, because they have so recently come from the creating hand of God; in the old, because they are on the brink of returning to him. Indeed, it’s in those challenging and confusing middle years between the wisdom of youth and the wisdom of age that we so easily lose our way, the glittery allure of what is of little consequence grabbing our attention and our hearts. The very young haven’t yet discovered what leads the rest of us astray while the elderly have learned to see through its falsity.
In the gospel passage we hear on this Trinity Sunday, Jesus says to his disciples, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will declare to you the things that are to come.” (John 16:12-13) Indeed, as we know from the gospel accounts, the disciples were often scratching their heads in puzzlement at the words of Jesus.
How often he had to “dumb down” his advice and admonitions to them before they could even begin to grasp what he meant. And the words we hear in today’s gospel indicate that there remained so much more that Jesus wanted to share with them, but he knew the time was not right to attempt it. For now, he asked them to live secure in the mystery of his love. Jesus might well have said to them, “For now, just trust that I love you more than you can ever imagine. I know you have so many questions to ask, but they’ll have to wait until you’re in heaven. Then it’ll all make sense. I promise. Until then, just hang in there and trust me.”