Homily, Trinity Sunday C
One single prayer has probably been said more often than any other in the history of the world. This prayer is so powerful, that it has saved countless souls from sin and death and from the dominion of demons in Baptism and Confession, and in the Church’s exorcisms. This prayer is also so simple that it is likely the first prayer that we learn as Catholics. “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” As I say the words of this prayer, your hand probably moves without thinking, because most often, we pray this as the Sign of the Cross. We might not even think of the Sign of the Cross as being a real prayer, because it is just something we do before and after saying other prayers, or as we come into the church, but the Sign of the Cross is one of the simplest and most powerful prayers that we ever say.
A good practice that some people have is to make the Sign of the Cross before and after almost everything they do, when they wake up in the morning and before they go to sleep, as they begin driving their cars and in thanksgiving for safe travels when they reach their destination, when they begin their work or any task and when they complete it. How would our lives change if everything we did and everything we said would be said or done in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit? I’d never really thought much before of what this phrase means in English, to do something in the name of someone or something else. To stop in the name of love, or to experiment in the name of science, or to command in the name of the law. The phrase usually means to do something on another’s behalf or by their authority. It seems incredible that we would be able to do anything on behalf of God or by his own authority, but this is what we are called to do as Christians, to work more and more according to God’s will for our lives, to become coworkers with God, to cooperate with him in a real sense, as he works within us and around us, according to his power, wisdom, and love.
The theology of the Trinity can seem difficult to understand, one God in three Persons, and as a mystery, we can never fully comprehend God’s own inner life, but by revealing himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as three Persons always in mutual relationship with one another, God invites us to share in that relationship, in that love and fellowship, so that we all might become one in him. The doctrine of the Trinity teaches us that genuine cooperation is possible, that distinct persons can work together as one, without rivalry and without ceasing to be who they are, without the destruction of one in favor of the other. The unity that we see in God is the model for unity in all creation and especially in the human family. No matter how different we are from one another, and some of us are really different, as a Christian, I am called to love my neighbor as myself, to love my neighbor as another self, to know we’re all on the same team and that your good and health and happiness are bound up with my own, that we are in relationship to one another, whether we acknowledge it or not, and whether we like it or not.
When Jesus was asked in the Gospels to specify, “Who is my neighbor?” he replied with the parable of the Good Samaritan. At that time, for the Jews, the Samaritans were their sworn enemies. In our own day, we might think of ISIS or terrorists, North Korea, or, closer to home, illegal immigrants or corrupt politicians, or anyone with views or practices that differ from our own. No matter who it is or what group of people we can’t stand, we are called to love them, to love them “in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” because it is only by the power of God that we can overcome the divisions that exist within the human family.
As we heard in our first reading, all things were made through the Wisdom of God, through his eternal Word, who found such “delight in the human race” that in the fullness of time, he became human, to restore to humanity the unity that had been lost through sin. Genuine cooperation and peace, within ourselves and within the human family, is only possible through the “love of God…poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” When we are tempted to judge, to condemn, to gossip, and to sow seeds of division and hatred, may we pray often “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” to dispel the divisions of our own hearts and to transform everything we say and do into an instrument of God’s own work of reconciliation, that all the human family may be gathered one day into the Unity of the Most Holy Trinity.