Monday, June 04, 2012

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity - homily

How often do we think to ourselves or say, "someone else"? "Someone else will do it" or "that's for someone else". I've realized how prevalent this is in the past three years as a college chaplain. Students help themselves to our food and drink at the Newman Center which we encourage. But, sometimes, they make a fine little mess, and just leave it. "Someone else" will clean up behind them, I guess they are thinking. And then there's the trash! The trash in the kitchen will be overflowing, begging to be taken out. But, people will walk by time and again, probably thinking to themselves, "that's for someone else".

I realized when I first became chaplain that there was not someone else. There wasn't someone else to fix the leaky roof or pay the huge heating bills or deal with water damage in the basement. It was just me. We all think "someone else will do it" regularly. It happens a lot on the street- driving past someone with a flat tire, thinking "someone else will help them", or thinking the same when encountering a beggar asking for food.

We do this very often when it comes to evangelization - spreading the Gospel. We hear the "Great Commission" of the Lord in today's Gospel to go out and teach all nations about Christ, and we think, "someone else will do that" or "that's for priests and teachers and the Pope to do". But, the Great Commission is for all of us to do!

I have a bad feeling that when we die and go before the Judgment Seat of Christ, the Lord will show us all the situations where WE were supposed to help, not someone else. On the list will undoubtedly be situations involving evangelization. One of the questions the Lord will certainly ask us is, "how many people did you bring to me?” So, it's good to ask ourselves, how many people have I talked to about God? How many people have I told who God is? How many have I taught that God is Father, Son, and Spirit?

Now, I know that the Trinity can be difficult to explain especially if you don't have a degree in theology. Sometimes, you need to ask priests or teachers to help answer questions. My brother and his wife did this when their son, my nephew Ryan, asked them who the Holy Spirit is. Yeah, he was five years old at the time. "Uh", they said, "call Uncle Greg"! He did and I explained that the Holy Spirit is like the wind- we can't see that He is there. But, we can look at a tree and see the leaves of the tree blowing and know the wind is there. So, too, with the Spirit. We can look at the leaves of our lives (the fruits of the Spirit)- love, joy, peace, kindness, etc - and know the Spirit is there. I think Ryan got it!

You may not have theology degrees, but you have a Catechism, I hope. The Catechism teaches us about each divine person of the Trinity. We can learn about who God is and teach others! And teach like the author of the book of Deuteronomy in the first reading - teach how awesome God is and how much He has done for us. Teach personally that God is our Father who created us. God is Son who saved us. God is Spirit who sanctifies us.

You can also learn more about each Person through your reading. Scott Hahn has written an excellent book on the Father, "A Father who keeps his promises". One of the best-selling books of all time is on the Son, "Imitation of Christ" by Thomas A Kempis. And, the greatest book on the Holy Spirit is the Acts of the Apostles; it's commonly referred to as the "Gospel of the Holy Spirit".

The best way, though, to teach people about the Trinity is to bring them to Him. Bring people to God's House. Bring them to experience the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Where there is the Son, there is the Father and Spirit. One great, simple way to teach others that the Trinity dwells here is to make a sign of the Cross whenever you pass a Catholic Church. Don't be afraid to make that sign in public – like, for example, when saying grace in restaurants. It is a sign of the lives we live: Trinitarian lives.

Brothers and sisters, live Trinitarian lives! Imitate what we celebrate here in the Eucharist. Make your life an offering to the Father in the Son through the Spirit. Live the life you signify when you make the sign of the Cross: in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

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