• Proverbs 8:22-31 • Romans 5:1-5 • John 16:12-15 • Blessed Trinity C ‘13 •
Print PDF: Weekly Homily 05.26.2013
Scripture Readings: The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
On the afternoon and evening of April 21st, a heavy, wet snow fell upon us. That morning I had marveled at the very tiny bits of green on the tree branches outside of my window. On the following day, when the snow melted, the leaves exploded and the Missoula valley became an ocean of green. We are surrounded by mystery, we live in mystery like the little fish in the ocean.
Our ancestors in faith, both Jewish and Christian, had profound respect for the Gracious Mystery we name “God.” That respect was rooted in the experiences of Moses, and later of Job who was told, “I am God and you are not! You’ll never be able to understand me.”
The bishops at the council of Nicea ignored or broke from the tradition. Three hundred years after Christ, they argued and struggled among themselves and finally gave us the definition of the Trinity – three persons in one God. Although not spelled out as such in Scripture, that doctrine has been imposed on us with absolute certitude for so long, many of us now presume we know God with certitude. The simple truth is that no one knows or understands God!
Those who think they know God with certitude create a false god of their own making. So we have seen false gods of war and destruction. George Bush claimed, “god told me to end the tyranny of Iraq.” In Somalia, an American general publicly stated that, “America’s Christian god is superior to the god of the Muslim enemy.” We have seen the straw gods of fundamentalists used to justify political action or the abuse of Palestinians by the government of Israel. Perhaps it is because of such certitude that there is a perceived absence of God in the world today.
Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk. His primary vocation was to contemplate that Gracious Mystery we name “God.” He wrote, “if we could let go of our obsession with what we think is the meaning of it all, we might be able to hear and follow God in the mysterious, cosmic dance.” I like that! Mystery surrounds us!
For those who are awake, our eyes and ears, our touch, taste and smell provide an avalanche of awe and wonder. The wildflowers on the nearby hills and mountains have raised their delicate petals from winter naps and the tulips and crocuses in your garden have bloomed. Mystery surrounds us and in the words of the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, “the world is charged with the grandeur of God.” Therein we find glimpses of what God is like.
The father and mother in their love “know” one another. The fruit of their knowing is the child. The bond between husband, wife and child is something deeper than anything we can put into words. In them we find glimpses of who and how God is for us all.
In his simple way, Jesus of Nazareth asked, “do you want to know God?” His own approach was clear. If you want to know God, learn what love means. Learn what compassion, forgiveness, mercy, and hope mean. “God is love,” relational and personal. God is not a separate being over the world, but the inner dynamic of the cosmos, the goal toward which all things are moving.
We are privileged to dwell here in Western Montana. We are surrounded by mystery. We live in mystery like the little fish in the ocean. As our days grow longer and warmer, hear the summons of Hopkins’ verse to spend lots of time outdoors. Perhaps that will mean standing waist deep in a stream waiting hopefully for a nibble or teeing off on your favorite course. Maybe it will mean weeding your garden or climbing a great mountain or sitting quietly under a tree. “The world is charged with the grandeur of God,” and speaks to those who listen.
Be among those who quietly listen to the One who calls us into that great mysterious dance with all of its uncertainties. In rediscovering the Gracious Mystery we name God, you also will rediscover what it is to be human and fully alive.