Saturday, May 17, 2008

Getting to Know You (Holy Trinity homily)

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Trinity.
We believe God is a Trinity of Persons,

because Jesus revealed that He is God the Son,

sent by the Father, to give us the Holy Spirit.

Now, I want to highlight three things about this.

First, consider one of the simplest prayers we pray, the Sign of the Cross.
Notice what we do:
we trace the cross over ourselves, but what do we say?
"In the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, amen."

This simple prayer is an excellent summary of our entire Faith:
with our hand,
we are symbolically "surrounding ourselves" with the Holy Trinity.
Or, to say it another way,

the Cross "inserts" us into the center of the Trinity,
into the life of God.
This is why Jesus came—
and this is what the Cross does for us:
it brings us to the heart of God.

A second thing to consider.
A bit ago, did you see me bow?
One of the things the Church asks us to do as Christians is to bow
at the Most Holy Name of Jesus,
or at the Names of the Trinity, especially at Mass.

Like the Sign of the Cross,
this can be a powerful reminder to ourselves,
and a sign to others, of what we truly believe.

Sometimes we have the bad habit of misusing God’s name;
how about replacing it
with this good habit of revering God’s name?
And in a world that treats God as distant,

it’s a little reminder that we know how present He is;

what’s more, we have the privilege
of knowing him…by Name.

Think about that: you don’t normally
give your name to people
unless you are inviting them
to know you better.
God has, as it were, "introduced himself" to us.

(Update: I added the following to my text...

The first reading isn't clear on this point.
It says God told Moses his Name, but then it says, "Lord."
Actually, in the Hebrew text, it has the actual Name of God [YHWH],
sometimes pronounced Yahweh, sometimes, Jehovah.
So why isn't it translated that way?
Well, when God's people first learned God's Name,
they considered it so holy, they never spoke it--
and we now don't know how it is pronounced.
So that's why we say "Lord"--
but the point is, God gave Moses His Name.)

God came to us in Jesus—he wants us to know Him.

The Mass is the reality the Sign of the Cross points to:
the Sacrifice of the Cross really here in our midst,

truly does bring us to the life of the Holy Trinity.

The Eucharist is that intimacy.

God becomes Food for us;
and God seeks intimate union with us,
a union so intimate that only other image we have

is of Bridegroom and Bride, one flesh:

So we not only revere God by bowing,
and seek the protection of His Triple-Name,
we enter into union with him. The Eucharist makes that happen!

This weekend we are focusing on the Eucharist
in a special way.
The Lord was on the altar shortly before Mass,

and we will end Mass with the Lord on the altar again.
After the Noon Mass, please come be part of a procession from St. Mary to St. Boniface,
or meet at St. Boniface at 2 pm for Benediction, to honor Jesus who came to us,
to bring us to the Trinity.

Today, when Mass ends, we will end in silence.
It will be different.
Please wait till the servers and I leave the altar,

and please—I know its hard—but remain silent in church.
Let’s wait till we’re outside to visit.

That silence may be hard, and it can be intimidating—because its so powerful.
It’s not empty,
just as this church is never empty.
In that silence, we are confronted with the God
who was not content to remain distant,
but comes close, and wants to come as close as possible to us.

God wants to do more than say hello—
he wants to be one with you.

What do you say?

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