Homily, Trinity Sunday B
One single prayer has probably been said more often than any other in the history of the world. And this prayer is so powerful, that it has been the occasion of countless healings of mind and body; it has the power to cast out demons and to overcome all the false power of Satan in the Church’s exorcisms; and in Baptism and Confession, this prayer transforms sinners destined for the everlasting flames of hell, into the children of God, to become “joint heirs with Christ” and the Saints in that kingdom that has no end. 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 church, but the Sign of the Cross is really one of the most powerful prayers that we ever say.
A good practice that some of us might have is to pray the Sign of the Cross before and after almost everything we do, when we wake up in the morning and before we go to sleep, as we begin driving in our cars and in thanksgiving for safe travels when we arrive at our destination, when we begin our work or any particular task and when we complete it. How would our lives change if everything we did and everything we thought or said would be done in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit? What does it mean 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 someone else’s behalf or by their authority. Now 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 His coworkers, to cooperate with God 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 be united 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 each one is, without the destruction of any one of them in favor of the others.
The unity that we see in God is the model for unity in all creation and especially in our human family. No matter how different we are from one another, and some of us are really different, but as a Christian, I am called to love my neighbor as myself, to love my neighbor as another self, to know that 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. 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 our human family.
During this upcoming week, I encourage all of us to pray more often and with greater attention the Sign of the Cross, this most powerful prayer. When we are in the midst of temptation, may it remind us of God’s presence and the power that He gives us to overcome sin in our lives. When our mind is racing with anxiety or anger, may the Sign of the Cross calm our thoughts and bring upon us the peace of God which surpasses understanding. When we become cynical and focused only on the negative aspects of life, may this prayer lift our eyes to see the countless blessings around us. At all times and in every place, may we strive with all the saints to think, say, and do everything “in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”