Sunday, May 31, 2015

We are the image of the Trinity (Sunday homily)

Today we reflect on the reality of God being a Trinity: 
Three Persons, yet one essence. 

It was God the Son in human flesh – Jesus – who told us about this. 
He told us that Father is God; and that he is God; 
and that there is a relationship of love, total, full love, 
between Father and Son. 
He told us about the Spirit, who is “another Advocate”—
another Person in the Trinity.

So here’s the thing: we believe God is a Trinity, 
first and foremost, because Jesus told us this. 
We believe it, because we believe him.

If you are a parent or a teacher, how do you explain things? 
Maybe you will use a diagram, or an image. 
And God did that too. 
Recall what Genesis says: 
“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…”

God has given us an image of the Trinity – in us, in human beings.

Notice, first, that in creating humanity, 
he did not create a solitary being. 
No, he created us male and female. 
This is no mere detail. 
It’s completely fundamental to who we are. 

If you think back to science class in school, 
we learned that some of God’s creation 
multiplies simply by splitting apart. One amoeba, two amoebae. 
When you were in school, did you look through a microscope? 

Or maybe you saw a film of the little creatures 
with all the hairy things around them. 
And for all the teachers here, 
I do know that those were called paramecium—plural, paramecia—
and those hairs are called cilia, and it’s how they move. 

God created those, too; but that’s not how God created us to be. 
Instead, he created us so that we would enter into 
an intimate, totally self-giving relationship with each other: 
“male and female he created them.” 
So there’s an insight here about this whole marriage question. 
This isn’t about “hook ups,” but about a unique reality 
baked into the very bone and sinew of human nature.

Human beings are, by our nature, created in relationship. 
A man, a woman; a husband, a wife; a father, a mother—a family! 
When each of us began our lives, 
we began it in relationship—
obviously with our mother, who carries us, but with our father, too. 
And we need that relationship for many years.
First, just to survive; but later, that relationship, which we call family, 
enables us to be happy and healthy and truly human. 
Even much later in life, we still need our family; 
and, as many of us have found, if there is a wound, 
it’s not something that we ever forget.

See what God did? He did indeed create us in his image: 
he created humanity not as a solitary being—all alone—
but as persons-in-relationship. Just like him.

Let’s carry that one more step. 
And this will give us a very practical take-away from this homily.

God in himself—in Three Persons—is complete, and whole; 
God doesn’t need creation, he doesn’t need the universe, 
and he doesn’t need us. 
God chooses—out of generous love—to create us, in order to include us.

If you and I are God’s image, 
then what I just described is part of what we are. 
To be truly who we are—truly human—
we too are called to give and love, 
not out of any necessity, but out of self-gift, out of generosity. 
And we do that for our fellow human beings. 
And what does Jesus tell us to do? 
Love not just your friends and families, but to care for the needy, 
the poor; and to love our enemies, 
and to pray for those who persecute us.

God sends rain on the just and the unjust. 
God died on the Cross, not for the righteous, but for sinners. 
God provides an abundance for all his children, but he relies on us to share it around. 
And God is always ready, at every moment, to forgive his children and welcome them back.

How about you, image-of-God? Do you want to show God to the world? 
Feed the needy, lift the burden from the backs of the oppressed, 
pay a just wage, speak up for those who are oppressed and forgotten, 
and forgive readily, instantly, and generously. 

This is what it means to be the image of God.


Michael Haz said...

Excellent homily, Father. And as I read it, I paused more than a few times to reflect on what you said. I'm glad that you post your homilies on your blog. They are worth reading, and worth returning to later.

David Roemer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Fr Martin Fox said...

David --

Thanks for visiting. Did you have anything to say on the topic? If not, it kind of looks like you only came here to post an advertisement for a website.

Fr Martin Fox said...


Not getting a response, I deleted your comment. Nothing personal, but -- I think it's actually rude to post a comment that (a) makes no apparent attempt to connect to, or comment on, the topic at hand, and (b) is transparently self-promoting; e.g., giving a link, or a phone number, or promoting an event or a product. Your comment did both of these things.

I'm happy to talk about our Lord Jesus, and happy to have commenters talk about our Lord Jesus. It takes really a minimal effort to connect to the topic, don't you think?

And if all you really came to do was to plug some website or cause, then at least be plain about it: "Do you mind if I plug such-and-such?" I may say yes, or no, but that's straightforward.