Sunday, June 07, 2009

a triple challenge

And I thought Pentecost was a bust...

Preaching on these theologically supersized liturgical solemnities is definitely a challenge. It feels like there’s no middle ground between trivializing the content into Paris Hilton/Jonathan Morris approved sound bytes and turning the homily into an arid ethereal classroom à la Gregoriana...

Regardless, my experience is that if you speak passionately and with enough personal conviction about anything, you can get them to listen.

For a little while.

This is where I went, in under twelve minutes, today, Solemnity of the Holy Trinity:

• all religions look for ways to speak about the Ultimate Reality
• all religions coincide, to some degree, in what they say about God
• but the truth about God can only be revealed by God Himself

• Christianity has a unique, somewhat difficult, way of expressing its knowledge of God... such as it is
• Christianity believes that Jesus Christ IS God and, therefore, is God revealing Himself in a way that we can comprehend... at least a little
• Jesus of Nazareth found no better words in the human vocabulary to speak about God than: Father, Son and Spirit (Consoler, Advocate...)
• Jesus differentiates between the three persons but radically adheres to the affirmation of a single God
• the ‘three’ of the ‘Trinity’ is not, strictly speaking, a number; it is an expression of plenitude, of a relationship that is complete and perfect

• far from being a theoretical dogma (read: entirely useless as far as my ‘real life’ is concerned), our faith in the Trinity is our answer to the ultimate and ever-present WHY?
• we affirm that relationship (love) - not matter, blind energy or the cosmic lottery – is the source, the underpinning, the reason, the cause, the finality and the meaning of all there is
• the universe, with us in it, is the result of the Father’s love for the Son... a love that had to overflow outside itself, expand beyond its own divinity, as it were
• the universe, our universe, is the necessary scenario – the ultimate possibility – for the Son to love the Father totally, as He Himself is loved... our imperfect world gives the Son the platform to embrace and become what He is not (suffering, sin, death, condemnation), exhausting all possibilities of love understood as losing oneself for the beloved...
• the Spirit is the vibrant, dramatic, subtle and explosive relationship between Father and Son that fills the universe, gives being where only nothingness would survive, and permeates with its beauty all that is

• after Mass, we shall all go running off to Walmart, or to twittering and text messaging our friends, or to fire up the grill in the backyard or to plop down in front of the flatscreen to watch the Yankees or the Sox... but the tremendous truth of what we affirm today as a community in this holy place will ever and always be the rock we stand on and the hope we live by