Weekly Homily from Fr Jim Hogan, Trinity Sunday, May 31, 2015

I must apologize to all readers for the delay in getting Fr Jim’s Homilies posted.  I have had a busy summer with a trip, family visiting and doing some construction around my home.  Also, please note that Fr. Jim was on an extended trip.  There were no homilies between June 7 and July 12.  Hopefully, my days will be slowing down a bit so that I can post both Fr. Jim’s homily and news in a more timely manner.  Thank you all for your patience…..Reyanna

•Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40 • Romans 8:14-17 • Matthew 28:16-20•

Scripture Readings: Trinity Sunday

Normally the first verse of Scripture learned by Jewish children is the “Shema.” It is the central prayer of Jewish people.

Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.

 Blessed be the Name of His glorious kingdom forever and ever.” 

Jesus of Nazareth was a Jewish man.  His earliest companions were Jews. The written gospels imply that his heart, mind and soul were formed by the Jewish traditions and practices.  Surely the core of his daily prayer and that of his first companions was the Shema.

After the Lord’s death and resurrection, his companions struggled to understand their experience.  The written texts composed by them are explicit about Jesus and his intimate relationship with God as “Father.”   They tried to understand what that intimate relationship implied for them.  Surely it was a burdensome time of confusion as they continued to pray the Shema:

Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.

 Blessed be the Name of His glorious kingdom forever and ever.”

 Eventually their understanding of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus was influenced by Greek philosophical ideas. Among those ideas is the word “person.”  The word applies only to humans, but our ancestors found it a useful tool with which to share their experience. Debates among those early Christians were common and fueled by political as well as theological agendas.  Gradually the doctrine of the Trinity developed. Trinity means three.  The doctrine states there are “three” persons in “one” God. “Throughout the centuries since, Christian theologians have produced profound studies of the Trinity.  Most of us are unable to make out what this doctrine means for us.”

Neither Jesus nor his Jewish peers heard of “the Trinity.” We use the word “Father” to affirm that the Holy One loves us in every moment.  We use the word “Son” to affirm that in Jesus we learn what we are able to become.  We use the word “Spirit” to affirm that the Holy One is present in the depths of each of us, inspiring and guiding us.

Our powerful telescopes probe and learn about our solar system and galaxy.  Yet we cannot comprehend the distances or enormity of the cosmos.  So too the Gracious Mystery we name God always remains totally beyond our comprehension. With you, I struggle to figure out what “Trinity” means for us.

So like those first Christians, the best we can do is to learn from our experiences.  It is only in and through our experience that we can gain some hint, some insight into that Gracious Mystery we name “God.”  My life experiences are different than yours.  Yet for all of us, life is and has been filled with similar moments of “awe.”  The dictionary definition of that word — “awe” — is simple.  “Awe” is an overwhelming feeling of reverence mixed with wonder.”

The Gracious Mystery we name “God” remains totally beyond our comprehension.  I have stood on the south rim of the Grand Canyon at sunrise and experienced “awe.”  I have skied down a mountain through fresh powder snow and experienced “awe.”  I have sat below water falls, in meadows filled with wild flowers, gazed up at a brilliant night sky filled with stars, watched clouds glide across a blue sky and held new born babies.  In each moment I experienced “awe.”  The list is endless.

Trinity?  I still struggle to figure out what that means.  I have never experienced Trinity.  I have experienced “awe” – an overwhelming feeling of wonder mixed with reverence.  My experience tells me that anything and everything is filled with divine presence.  Be in touch with your life and your experience.  Trust your experience.  Every moment in which you are touched by “awe” is a sacred moment, a moment filled with Gracious Mystery.

 

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One Response to Weekly Homily from Fr Jim Hogan, Trinity Sunday, May 31, 2015

  1. Paul Feldman says:

    Wayne Dyer says “give up your cleverness in exchange for bewilderment or awe.”

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