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Monsignor Yennock's Homily June 11, 2017 - Trinity Sunday

Jun 12, 2017

TRINITY SUNDAY

JUNE 11, 2017

LAST SATURDAY AT HOLY CROSS CHURCH IN DEWITT A YOUNG MAN OF OUR DIOCESE, MATTHEW LYONS WAS ORDAINED TO THE HOLY PRIESTHOOD. ONE OF THE MOST IMPRESSIVE MOMENTS IN THE CEREMONY OF ORDINATION IS WHEN THE CANDIDATE LIES FACE DOWN ON THE FLOOR OF THE SANCTUARY WHILE THE PEOPLE SING THE LITANY OF THE SAINTS. IN THAT MOMENT THE CANDIDATE HAS AN INTENSE MEETING WITH HIS CREATOR. IT IS A MOMENT ALONE WITH HIS GOD.

WHO IS THE GOD THAT MATTHEW WAS ENCOUNTERING AT THAT MOMENT? HOW DO WE KNOW THAT HE EXISTS? HOW DO WE COME TO KNOW ABOUT HIM? WHAT IS HE LIKE? WHY DOES HE WANT TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH US?

THERE ARE MANY PROOFS FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD. ONE OF THE EASIEST TO UNDERSTAND IS THE PROOF FROM DESIGN. SCIENTISTS TELL US THAT WHEN WE CONSIDER THAT THERE ARE 3.2 BILLION BITS OF INFORMATION IN ONE STRAND OF DNA THE ODDS ARE A TRILLION TO ONE IN FAVOR OF THE EXISTENCE OF AN INTELLIGENT DESIGNER BEHIND THE UNIVERSE.

A RENOWED SCHOLAR, AT THE AGE OF 75 WAS ASKED BY AN INTERVIEWER-- DO YOU BELIEVE IN GOD. HE SAID, YES I DO BELIEVE IN GOD. ALL OF MY READING AND SEARCHING IN PHILOSOPHY AND SCIENCE AND LITERATURE HAS PROVIDED ME WITH REASONABLE GROUNDS TO CONVINCE ME THAT GOD EXISTS.

WHEN WE CONSIDER THAT THERE ARE 2 TRILLION GALLAXIES IN THE UNIVERSE OUR REASON TELLS US THAT SOME DIVINE INTELLIGENCE DESIGNED THE UNIVERSE. OUR REASON TELLS US THAT SOME DIVINE POWER COORDINATES EVERYTHING IN CREATION.

REASON CAN LEAD US TO A KNOWLEDGE OF THE EXISTENCE OF GOD BUT REASON ALONE CANNOT GET INSIDE THE MIND OF GOD. GOD HIMSELF HAD TO REVEAL HIS PERSONALITY TO US. WE FIND THIS REVELATION IN THE BIBLE.

IN THE BOOK OF DEUTERONOMY WE READ: "HEAR, O ISRAEL: THE LORD OUR GOD, THE LORD IS ONE (Deut. 6:12). WE KNOW FROM THE BIBLE THAT THERE IS ONE GOD. THE BIBLE TEACHES MONOTHEISM—THAT THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD. THE PAGANS WHO DID NOT HAVE THE BENEFIT OF REVELATION BELIEVE THAT THERE WERE MANY GODS. THEY BELIEVED IN POLYTHEISM-A PLURALITY OF GODS. WHEN WE LOOK AT ALL THE WORLD RELIGIONS JUDAISM, CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM TEACH MONOTHEISM.

IN THE FULNESS OF TIME GOD BECAME MAN IN THE PERSON OF JESUS. JESUS, COMING OUT OF JUDAISM CONFIRMED THAT THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD BUT THEN HE TAKES US MORE DEEPLY AND MORE INTIMATELY INTO THE NATURE OF GOD. HE REVEALS THAT THERE ARE INDEED THREE PERSONS IN THE ONE DIVINE NATURE. THIS WAS A NEW REVELATION ABOUT GOD TO THE HUMAN RACE.

THE MYSTERY OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY IS THE CENTRAL MYSTERY OF CHRISTIAN FAITH. EVERYTHING THAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT JESUS DEPENDS ON THE CONCEPT OF THE TRINITY. EVENTUALLY ANYONE WHO HAS A PROBLEM WITH THE TRINITY HAS A PROBLEM WITH THE DIVINITY OF JESUS CHRIST.

JESUS SLOWLY REVEALED TO HIS DISCIPLES THAT THERE WERE THREE PERSONS IN ONE GOD. HE SPOKE OF HIMSELF AS THE SON WHO WAS SENT BY THE FATHER. HE SPOKE OF THE SON AND THE FATHER SENDING THE HOLY SPIRIT. THE WAY JESUS SPEAKS OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT HE AFFIRMS THAT EACH PERSON IS EQUAL AND DISTINCT.

MOHAMMED THE FOUNDER OF ISLAM LIVED AT THE TIME OF A HERETICAL CHRISTIAN SECT THAT DENIED THE TRINITY.  MOHAMMED MISUNDERSTOOD THE TRINITY TO BE A PLURALITY OF GODS. HE REJECTED THE TRINITY BUT HELD ON TO THE OLD TESTAMENT CONCEPT OF MONOTHEISM—ONE GOD, ONE PERSON.

MOHAMMED HAVING REJECTED THE TRINITY THEN REJECTED THE DIVINITY OF JESUS. WITHOUT THE BLESSED TRINITY-- THREE PERSONS IN ONE GOD THERE WOULD BE NO SON OF GOD. THAT WOULD MEAN THAT JESUS WAS JUST A MAN.

WHILE THE KORAN REPECTS JESUS AS A PROPHET IT DENIES THAT HE IS THE SON OF GOD. THE KORAN ALSO DENIES THE CRUCIFIXION AND THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS. IN THE KORAN JESUS IS REALLY MADE SUBSERVIENT TO MOHAMMED.

IF MOHAMMED HAD UNDERSTOOD THE MYSTERY OF THE TRINITY AS TAUGHT BY JESUS AND THE EARLY CHURCH, HISTORY MIGHT HAVE BEEN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT.

 

AS CHRISTIANS WE MUST BE CLEAR ABOUT THE TEACHING OF JESUS. JESUS TAUGHT THAT THERE ARE THREE PERSONS IN ONE GOD, FATHER, SON AND HOLY SPIRIT. THE THREE PERSONS SHARE IN ONE DIVINE SUBSTANCE.  THE THREE PERSONS ARE EQUAL AND DISTINCT.

WE CANNOT FULLY UNDERSTAND THIS MYSTERY OF THE TRINITY, NOT BECAUSE IT IS IMPOSSIBLE BUT BECAUSE IT IS OUTSIDE OF OUR HUMAN EXPERIENCE.

AND THERE IS A REASON FOR OUR CONFUSION. IN OUR HUMAN EXPERIENCE EVERYONE WE KNOW IS ONE NATURE AND ONE PERSON. SUDDENLY WE ENCOUNTER GOD AND HE IS ONE NATURE AND THREE PERSONS. WE DO NOT KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS MYSTERY BUT WE KNOW ENOUGH TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD THE FATHER, GOD THE SON, AND GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT. 

I’M SURE YOU REMEMBER THE STORY OF ST. AUGUSTINE THE GREAT MIND OF THE 4TH CENTURY. IT IS SAID THAT HE WAS WALKING ALONG THE SEASHORE THINKING ABOUT THE MYSTERY OF THE TRINITY. HE SAW A LITTLE BOY CARRYING WATER IN A SHELL FROM THE OCEAN TO A HOLE IN THE SAND.

HE SAID TO THE BOY WHAT ARE YOU DOING? THE LITTLE BOY ANSWERED THAT HE WAS GOING TO PUT THE OCEAN IN THIS HOLE IN THE SAND. ST. AUGUSTINE SAID TO HIM: YOU CAN’T DO THAT THE OCEAN IS TOO BIG. THE HOLE IS TOO SMALL. THE LITTLE BOY ANSWERED NEITHER CAN YOU UNDERSTAND THE TRINITY.  GOD IS TOO BIG AND YOUR MIND IS TOO SMALL.

OUR MINDS MIGHT BE TOO SMALL TO UNDERSTAND THE MYSTERY OF THE TRINITY BUT WE CAN UNDERSTAND HOW THE TRINITY AFFECTS OUR LIVES.

YOUR LIFE AND MY LIFE IS A JOURNEY THAT INVOLVES LOVING RELATIONSHIPS. THE LOVE OF HUSBAND AND WIFE; THE LOVE OF PARENTS FOR THEIR CHILDREN THE LOVE OFCHILDREN FOR THEIR PARENTS; THE LOVE OF SIBLINGS & FRIENDS.

 WHY DO YOU THINK THAT GOD GAVE US THESE RELATIONSHIPS? WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS?

 GOD GAVE US RELATIONSHIPS SO THAT WE COULD PRACTICE ON ONE ANOTHER SO THAT WE WOULD BE BETTER IN OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM.  THE RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM NEEDS TO BE THE BEST POSSIBLE RELATIONSHIP BECAUSE THAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP THAT WILL LAST FOREVER.

HOW DO WE DO OUR RELATIONSHIPS? ARE THEIR ANY INSTRUCTIONS? COULD THE MODEL FOR OUR RELATIOSHIPS BE FOUND IN THE TRINITY?

DID YOU EVER WONDER WHO GOD LOVED BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN? THE ONLY ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION IS THAT GOD LOVED ANOTHER PERSON.

IN THE BIBLE JESUS DESCRIBES GOD AS A COMMUNITY OF PERSONS IN A LOVING, SPRITUAL RELATIONSHIP WITH ONE ANOTHER.

THIS ALL MAKES SENSE WHEN WE READ IN THE BIBLE THAT THE FATHER LOVES THE SON; THE SON LOVES THE FATHER; THE FATHER AND THE SON LOVE THE HOLY SPIRIT; THE HOLY SPIRIT LOVES THE FATHER AND THE SON.

FOR ALL ETERNITY THE GODHEAD WAS A FAMILY OF PERSONS BOUND TOGETHER BY LOVE. WHEN WE LOOK AT THE TRINITY IN THIS WAY IT CAN BE THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS.

GOD CREATES AS GOD IS. SINCE THERE IS A FAMILY OF PERSONS IN THE GOD HEAD WE SHOULD NOT BE SURPRISED TO FIND A FAMILY OF PERSONS IN HUMANKIND.

WITHOUT THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRINITY THE FAMILY MIGHT SEEM LIKE AN ARBITRARY MEANINGLESS ENTITY OF PERSONS.  THE TRINITY PROVIDES US WITH A RICHER MEANING FOR MARRIAGE AND FAMILY.

 IN THE TRINITY OF THREE PERSONS THERE IS A COMMUNITY OF LIFE, LOVE AND GENERATION.  THE LOVE OF THE FATHER AND THE SON GENERATES THE LOVE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

GOD CREATES AS GOD IS. IF GOD IS A FAMILY OF PERSONS SHOULD WE NOT EXPECT THAT HE WOULD CREATE A FAMILY OF PERSONS ON EARTH?

THIS IS AN AWESOME THOUGHT REALLY.  GOD, THE SOURCE OF ALL LIFE AND LOVE, HAS LEFT THE IMPRINT OF HIS FAMILY ON YOUR FAMILY! JUST AS GOD HAS LEFT HIS IMAGE ON YOU AS A PERSON, HE HAS LEFT THE IMAGE OF THE TRINITY ON YOUR FAMILY.

THE LOVE OF HUSBAND AND WIFE IS MEANT TO RESEMBLE THE LOVE OF THE TRINITY. THE TRINITY THEN BECOMES A MODEL FOR THE FAMILY.

LOVE IN THE TRINITY IS UNITIVE. PERMANENT, FAITHFUL AND LIFE-GIVING.

THE LOVE OF HUSBAND AND WIFE IS MEANT TO BE UNITIVE, PERMANENT, FAITHFUL, AND LIFE-GIVING.

THE TRINITY IS NOT JUST A DOCTRINE TO BE BELIEVED. THE TRINITY IS NOT JUST A MYSTERY TO CONTEND WITH. THE TRINITY IS THE KEY TO OUR WHOLE TEACHING ABOUT FAMILY, MARRIAGE, SEXUALITY AND LIFE. WE NEED THIS KEY.

WHY IS OUR SOCIETY SO CHAOTIC? WHY IS THERE SO MUCH CONFUSION ABOUT HUMAN SEXUALITY, MARRIAGE AND FAMILY? WHY ARE 50 % OF OUR MARRIAGES ENDING IN DIVORCE AND ANOTHER 25% HANGING ON BY A THREAD? WHY IS THEIR A POPULATION CRISIS WITH MOST COUNTRIES OF EUROPE AND THE UNITED STATES NOT PRODUCING ENOUGH CHILDREN FOR SURVIVAL? THE CHILD-BEARING RATE IN THE UNITED STATES IS 2.1 BARELY ENOUGH FOR SURVIVAL.

COULD IT BE THAT GOD MEANT THE HOLY TRINITY TO BE A MODEL OF LIFE AND LOVE FOR MARRIAGE AND THE FAMILY? COULD IT BE THAT THERE REALLY IS AN ABSOLUTE STANDARD FOR THE MORALITY OF HUMAN SEXUALITY?

OUR FAITH JOURNEY IS A RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT. COULD IT BE THAT IF WE HUNG AROUND WITH THEM WE MIGHT UNDESTAND OUR LIFE BETTER? COULD IT BE THAT WE MIGHT EVEN BE A HAPPIER PEOPLE.

AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS HOMILY WE TALKED ABOUT THE ORDINATION OF A NEW PRIEST.

I KNOW THAT YOU ARE JUST AS CONCERNED ABOUT THE CRISIS IN VOCATIONS TO THE PRIESTHOOD AND RELIGIOUS LIFE AS I AM. I AM CONVINCED THAT VOCATIONS DEPEND ON OUR FAMILIES. WE WILL HAVE ENOUGH VOCATIONS WHEN WE HAVE MARRIAGES AND FAMILIES THAT MODEL THEMSELVES AFTER THE BLESSED TRINITY. REMEMBER, OUR PLAN MAY FAIL. BUT, GOD’S PLAN NEVER FAILS.

MOST HOLY TRINITY INSPIRE US WITH THE FLAME OF YOUR LOVE. INSPIRE OUR FAMILIES TO FOLLOW YOUR PLAN FOR THEIR MARRIAGE.

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