Obviously a lot is happening in our country right now. I’ve spent much of this week trying to understand what is going, trying to see and read and know whatever I can, as I’m sure you have as well. On the one hand it would be far easier for me to preach a homily that does not talk about current events, but on the other I know that I have a moral obligation to preach the Gospel of Christ in the context of present life. It would be different if I could talk with you individually, if I could hear your perspective and your concerns, could affirm or gently challenge you in what the Gospel says, and could accept where you give me new insight as well. But a homily is not that, a homily is limited in what it can do and so I want to say at the start of this that my intent not to give answers but to give a framework. My intent today and most Sundays is to remind you of what the Scriptures say to us so that you can reflect and look at your life and the world that you can see through the lens of faith.
The Gospel today and indeed the very mystery of the Trinity tells us that God acts out of love. He loved the world and did not want it to perish. He sent his Son to save the world and not condemn it. My usual homily for Trinity Sunday boils down to one idea: it’s awful hard for us humans to understand love without relationship, so God reveals Himself as a Trinity so that we can know that love really is essential to who God is, to know that even before creation God still loved. But setting aside that mystery of faith that is the Trinity, the point again is that God is love and God acts towards us out of love. The Old Testament too – even though people with minimal knowledge of Scripture think that it presents a vengeful God – the Old Testament talks about a God who acts out of love. In the first reading the LORD describes himself as a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity. Moses recognizes that the Israelites are in need of mercy and asks that they would still be received as the LORD’s own, and as we know He very much does and delivers them from Egypt into Israel as His Chosen People. Our understanding of God, based on what He has done in salvation history for Israel and then for all the world in the person of His Son, is that He acts out of love.
So know what does this mean for us? We must imitate what God has shown us to be the proper way to act, and also act out of love. The second reading told us to “mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.” In this time of civil disturbance throughout the country we must be willing to do all those things, and in fact to excel and to all those things to the best of our ability. So let me repeat again: “mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, and live in peace.” However you look at it, clearly there is something broken in our society. We must all be willing to identify and to change what is broken, we must all seek a way to encourage and agree with one another as a unified community, and we must all be longing for true peace. I can give you no answers about how to do that because I am as limited as you are by my perception and understanding, but I will tell you this: if in your mind you have made this into an “us vs. them” situation, where you no longer see individuals and flawed human beings but only see groups that are either absolutely right and absolutely wrong, “us vs. them”… if that is where you are at you will never be what the Scriptures tell us to be. God loved a broken world that strayed from Him in countless ways, and out of love sent His Son to save the world that could have been condemned instead. God looked at the world and only saw an “us”, He never saw a “them”.
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Homilies are meant to be heard, not read… and part of the Eucharistic liturgy, not words that stand alone. Please remember that no homily is written with this blog in mind.