Covid-19 preventing Deacons from gathering for the annual renewal of vows, Mass and dinner with the Bishop.
Here is my annual promise I make from home this year.
Renewal of Diaconal Ordination Promises
(addressing the assembly)
My brothers and sisters in Christ, we are gathered here to pray for those who serve as deacons in Christ’s name.
Many holy men have gone before these men in this ministry: Saints Lawrence, Stephen, Ephraim, Philip, Francis of Assisi, and many others.
Let us join with them as we bring our prayers before the throne of God,
(addressing the Deacons)
Beloved sons, we chose you for the Order of the Diaconate. Continue to embrace the ministry to which you have been called. As deacons, and ministers of Jesus Christ, who came among his disciples as one who served, and not to be served, do the will of God from the heart: serve the people in love and joy as you would the Lord. Since no one can serve two masters, look upon all defilement and avarice as serving false gods.
Are you resolved to renew, in the presence of God’s holy people, the promises you once made?
Deacons: I am.
Are you resolved to discharge the office of deacon with humble charity in order to assist the Priestly Order and to benefit the Christian people?
Deacons: I am.
Are you resolved to hold fast to the mystery of faith with a clear conscience, as the Apostle urges, and to proclaim this faith in word and deed according to the Gospel and the Church’s tradition?
Deacons: I am.
Are you resolved to maintain and deepen the spirit of prayer that is proper to your way of life and, in keeping with this spirit and what is required of you, to celebrate faithfully the Liturgy of the Hours with and for the People of God and indeed for the whole world?
Deacons: I am.
Are you resolved to conform your way of life always to the example of Christ, of whose Body and Blood you are ministers at the altar?
Deacons: I am.
Lord, look kindly on your servants: we send them as messengers of salvation and peace, marked with the sign of the cross.
Guide their steps with your mighty arm and with the power of your grace strengthen them in spirit, so that they will not falter through weariness.
Make their words the echo of Christ’s voice, so that those who hear them may be drawn to obey the Gospel.
Fill the hearts of your deacons with the Holy Spirit, so that, becoming all things to all people, they may lead many to you, the Father of all, to sing your praises in your holy Church.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. All: Amen
Say a prayer for me, please. May Christ dwell within.
In 2020 we mourn the loss of several Civil Rights leaders…
When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself.
The Gospel reading today starts with a rather startling point.
John the Baptist was murdered and Jesus withdrew.
At first glance you might be very disconcerted by this reaction.
Why? Well, among many things we mourn the dead, we have the liturgy of intercession for the dead and those mourning them. Even this Wednesday I will preside over a Funeral Outside of Mass for the twin purpose of (1) Intercession and invocation of the Mercy of God; and (2) Prayer of supplication for the grieving that in both purposes we may know the love of God in the paschal mystery and glorious resurrection.
But the death of John the Baptist wasn’t a simple death. It was an execution. John, having challenged King Herod, was beheaded.
The death of John is the most radical rejection of the baptism of repentance – killing the messenger.
Jesus withdrew to the deserted place and it became a great nonverbal message in the gospel. It is the message that can reach those guilty of murder.
The Message of John
Hardly anyone misses the message of John the Baptist. John preached the baptism of repentance. John called everyone who approached him to consider their actions and the commandments and make some changes. The gospel of Luke gives a really detailed account of these types of fruitful encounters.
John prepared the way of the Lord. Or more specifically. John helped us to prepare for the Lord.
The Deserted Place
When Jesus withdrew the crowd heard of it. They followed him.
Jesus went by boat – a straight line. The people walked/wandered through hill and dale to get to him.
They left behind any and all comforts, food, weapons, and all their possessions.
They knew something about Jesus was special. They wanted him.
In fact the point is that they valued nothing but him and his miraculous ways.
They wanted to enter the deserted place because that is where he is.
Where is the Deserted Place
This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.
The disciples were worried. Of course it was for the ordinary needs of the people. Very much appreciated and expected.
Jesus asks them to look beyond. Beyond the body, the wealth, the possessions.
Surrender the five loaves and two fish to him.
Surrender in the deserted place.
And be filled with every good, thing, God’s being.
The Most Deserted Place
In the center of your soul.
In the center of your soul Jesus has ‘retreated’. He rests there waiting for your return. Taking your attention away from possession and the belly.
There you will find Jesus who will restore you, feed you, speaking to you.
It is a gigantic leap of presumed power to align President Trump with the Catholic Church and to align just about anybody else with the children of darkness. Endorsing him is at the least a questionable act. For millions President Trump personifies the very evil you decry. It was in fact a shameful letter.
The most positive thing I can say on this letter is indeed pray. Pray without preconception of the arrogance of knowing from your excess and treasure. No, pray from the poverty of your spirit.
Peace be with you,
Children of light (the preeminent Christian focus and phrase).
Children of darkness (usually associated with the Modernist movement). See Encyclical Letter of Pope Pius X PASCENDI DOMINICI GREGIS.
Offspring of the Woman
Offspring of the Serpent
Law of God
Kingdom of Heaven
Deep State – (circa 2000) – an alleged secret network of especially nonelected government officials and sometimes private entities (financial services and defense industries) operating extra-legally to influence and enact government policy.
Deep Church – No known generally accepted reference except to say shares the Deep State worries. Specific to the Church are the financial, sexual and liturgical norms of the Church being violated, diluted and ignored by a secret network..
Invisible Enemy – A Virus. A Satan. An unholy appliance between the Deep State and Deep Church. Multiple meanings.
References Used In His Letter
Appeal – Veritas Liberabit Vos (A document he wrote and posted and of which I previously responded).
Titular Archbishop of Ulpiana – modern Kosovo Serbia.
Apostolic Nuncio – former diplomat to the USA.
New World Order
Solve et Coagula – Dissolve and Coagulate (an Alchemy)
The appeal makes no attempt to document or prove any of its medical assertions.
The freedom of worship, expression and movement have been disproportionately and unjustly restricted in the name of good medicine.
Doubt of the COVID-19 contagiousness, danger and resistance to the virus.
To approve and spend money on ineffective vaccines and treatments.
To develop vaccines from aborted fetuses (he may have meant this as a generalized warning).
The appeal maintains that the true purpose of the epidemic response is:
The epidemic is a pretext to control the population.
To impose a permanent restrictions on freedom.
To isolate populations, i.e., ageism, ethnic or racial segregation.
To criminalize personal and social relationships, i.e., religious people.
To ignore shady business interests wanting to profit from the virus.
To allow experts to enjoy immunity of prosecution.
To reduce our lives to a virtual reality alone.
To establish an odious technological tyranny.
To eventually establish a world government beyond all control.
The appeal uses good and solid Catholic positions as well as the long standing governance worries into a certain synthesis of an argument of these multiple worries and concerns. It is an interesting blend of nationalism, Catholicism, and governance by way of political convention. Taken in context of the political language of the day, it is completely intertwined with American political drama.
It is better to describe the intention of the letter this way: Given the supernatural powers that attempt to subject humanity and the Church to oppression the Bishop sees the COVID-19 pandemic as a handy pretext to push forward this evil agenda.
The caution are as follows:
Medical assertions #1 to #4 above in the United States are matters of reasonable differences of opinion in support or against these statements (except #4 which seems a flip in for flavor).
Worldwide you would have to take a country by country review with a skeptical eye toward totalitarian nations.
As to the true purposes, I don’t buy most any of it. It’s a virus. It kills people and would by the millions if no intervention is attempted. We have hundreds of year experience with epidemics. No credible exaggeration.
The Church by the way once enjoyed ‘worldwide’ domination and simply had no problem with it. Just a reminder that those who dominate see no problem.
The disintegration of treaties and multi-State agreements makes the idea of a world government to be much less of a worry. Perhaps natural resource wars, trade wars and regional wars are a more immanent emerging problem.
Church Integrity – Free to
To govern itself.
To govern its members.
To perform its evangelization of the Good News.
To administer the Sacraments as the perpetual gifts of the Christ.
To opine and participate on governance of the population.
To offer prayer and supplication in the Name of God and His Son Jesus Christ for the salvation of and peaceful existence for humanity.
I don’t think any Catholic differs in this opinion. We must also agree that the Church, like the human family it is composed of, continues to learn the deeper meanings of the Gospel and adjust its social-cultural opinions accordingly. Faith and Science (including Sociology) play a part in informing the Church and the results in changes to the changeable doctrine. The steadfast and unchangeable remain. The wisdom to know the difference is a dynamic, constant progression in time just as the Divine revelation itself was and is a progression in time.
Real Common Good Worries
The virus need a cooperative and reliable response from all segments of the society. We are all at risk when any fail to do their part.
In the USA, some States suggested closing and some Sates ordered closings. In all cases, the Church decided on its own what to do. It wasn’t the State that restricted gatherings, the Church of its own good judgment decided so. Even still, the Mass continued with smaller gatherings according to the good judgment.
In other countries these worries are more palpable and such concerns should be addressed regionally.
Many people of good will and with no religion certainly agree about unregulated technology as tyrannical.
Many people of good will and with no religion agree that unregulated medical-industrial complex as oppression.
Irresponsible Arguments – Responsible Leadership
It is irresponsible to address the World Domination worry as the preeminent concern of this virus. We should not mirror the behaviors of others who commingle arguments in order to provide greater support for our core positions. It is beneath the Church to do so. The anti-religious have been around a very long time. Let’s not be their mirror.
The Gospel of Matthew in today’s reading is concerned with the necessity of reaching and living in the highest of love, that is the love of God. He helps us to let go by not holding so tightly the natural love of family in which we are born.
Really Jesus gives the list of tendency we have to limit ourselves and our acceptance of others.
Stopping our growth in love:
In our love of father or mother ‘more than’;
In our love of son or daughter ‘more than’; and
In our self-love by avoiding the costs of discipleship of loving others.
Letting Go Frees Up Our Hands
Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
The amazing expanse that is your life is beyond the known and comfortable. Jesus is describing the willingness to lose one’s self-limiting importance and capacity and cleaving to Jesus so you will find the infinite graces of the life that is lived Christ.
Making no mistake here that this homily is not about a self-help program or merely about personal growth for the sake of growth.
This is about the relational growth in the person of Jesus.
Jesus prescribes that we receive him and in receiving him we receive the Father. There are many ways in which to receive Jesus especially in the Eucharistic gift that is Holy Communion.
Here though Jesus outlines the two basic ways to receive him, the reward hinted at and the outcome that comes from that.
A prophet and a prophet’s reward. The reward of receiving the prophet is what the prophet offers. A prophet speaks in the name of God. A prophet prescribes knowing and understanding God and relational reality of God. Jesus being a Prophet rewards us with knowing and trusting the Father. This is Faith.
A righteous man and a righteous man’s reward. The reward of receiving a righteous man is the gift of being in right relation with God and Man. Jesus being a righteous man through his behavior brings us the hopeful expectation that righteousness brings. Acting righteous with others is the very essence of hope, hope for oneself, hope for the other, hope for peace with God and peace with your fellow man. This is Hope.
Ah, the charity of Jesus. It is always described by inference of the natural spiritual outflow of Faith and Hope. Faith and Hope yield Charity founded in the love of the Lord.
Saint Jerome said this about the cold water: That none should say, I am poor and therefore cannot be hospitable, He takes away even this plea by the instance of a cup of cold water, given with good will. He says cold water, because in hot, poverty and lack of fuel might be pleaded. And whosoever shall give to drink to one of the least of these a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.
This is Love (Charity).
So by now you have guessed I am speaking to the rewards of the gifts of the theological virtues. Faith, hope and Love (Charity). Jesus in his most gentle way is making an example of his life in these virtues whos power comes from the Father through the Holy Spirit.
Death-Life or Life beyond Death
Saint Paul describes the letting go in these terms: because of Christ’s ultimate victory over death… Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus.
So a life limited as described in the beginning (the list I wrote above), is a death-life and holding firm in faith and hope we can life, the Life beyond the worries of death.
Triduum of the Solemnity of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
Gospel Reading: MT 5:43-48
Theme: Universality of Divine Love and the particular love we are given to share.
October 20th, 1672 Fr John Eudes first known instance (using various names)
One of the seven Feasts of the Lord in Ordinary Time Universal are: Transfiguration of the Lord, Triumph of the Cross and Feast of the Dedication. Western specific: Trinity, Corpus Christi, Sacred Heart of Jesus and Christ the King.
Eph 3:8 – boundless riches of Christ. Jn 19:37 – reparation and contemplating the pierced heart of Jesus since the first day.
Sacred Heart of Jesus is the revelation of the Father’s love.
Introduction to the sacred time between Corpus Christi and the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Greeting and Opening Prayer.
Introduction to the Mystery.
Triduum Prayer Service preceding the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The symbol of the love with which Jesus continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings without exception.
The wholeness of the Heart of Jesus is present in the heart of a Priest.
Jesus knew and loved us each and all during his life, his agony, and his Passion and gave himself up for each one of us: “The Son of God . . . loved me and gave himself for me.”
He has loved us all with a human heart. For this reason, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced by our sins and for our salvation, “is quite rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that. . . love with which the divine Redeemer continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings” without exception.
Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis: “The new evangelization needs new evangelizers, and these are the priests who are serious about living their priesthood as a specific path towards holiness” (n. 82). Holy Thursday, by taking us back to the origins of our priesthood, reminds us also of the duty to strive for holiness, to be “ministers of holiness” to the men and women entrusted to our pastoral service. In this light we see how very fitting is the suggestion put forward by the Congregation for the Clergy that every Diocese should celebrate a “Day for the Sanctification of Priests” on the Feast of the Sacred Heart.
1. “So that your love for me may live in them” (Jn 17:26).
Christ prays in the Upper Room. Re prays on the evening in which he instituted the Eucharist. He prays for the Apostles and for all those “who will believe through their word” (Jn 17:20) down the generations and centuries. He is asking the Father that all “may he one”, as the Father is in the Son and the Son is in the Father: “That they may be one in us” (Jn 17:21).
To be one: the unity of Divinity and the unity of communion of the Persons – the unity of the Father in the Son and of the Son with the Father in the Holy Spirit. Unity through Love.
Christ prays for love: “So that your love for me may live in them” (Jn 17:26).
Christ reveals the secret of his Heart. Precisely this human Heart of God’s Son is an ineffable sanctuary which contains all the treasures of love: it is a Heart “overflowing with goodness and love” (Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus).
2. The prayer offered by Christ in the Upper Room continues in the Church: from century to century, from generation to generation, it is a perennial “source of life and holiness” (ibid.). But there are particular moments in history, specially chosen places and persons who almost discover and reveal anew this perennial and undying truth about love.
Source: Pope John Paul II canonizes Claude La Colombiére May 31, 1992
Scripture Reading and Reflection. We are given to experience and share love in the same intentionality of God the Father – fully, unreservedly and universally. Loving the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the efficacious pathway to the Father. Reference Peter’s restoration Do you love me?
Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Gospel Reading: Mt 6:1-6, 16-18
Eph 3:8-9 – Hidden and revealed in plain view (Paul).
Eph 3:10-12 – through the Church.. God.. be made known to the rulers and authorities (including) in the heavenly places.
Jn 1:14 – the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
Rev 21:3 -Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race (and in the human person).
Theme: Selflessness of Divine Love and the particular acts of love we are given to share.
Gosh, you may be thinking, ‘No! Not another Lent homily’ After all, we treat this Gospel message of Jesus Christ quite extensively during Lent. The three disciplines of Lent are… Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. Nope, not going there. Not a repeat.
The Heart of God’s Son becomes, for the Apostle, the source of strength for all human hearts.
Hidden and Revealed
Short funny story – Father Son Bible and College…. hidden cash at different places in the bible but never found by Son.
The Christ was hidden in the Old Testament. Jesus was hidden in the womb of His Mother. Jesus’ early life was a hidden life of the Holy Family of Nazareth.And Mary held all this deep in her heart.
We seek to be hidden in God or we seek to hide from God and in the end we reveal how we are with God. Let me repeat.
We either seek to be hidden in God or we seek to hide from God and in the end we reveal how we are with God.
Example of the Western Wall, Herod’s Temple, Jerusalem, Israel. Also known as the Wailing Wall where people write supplications on little slips of paper and insert into the cracks in the wall. It is a massive and impressive wall invoking the knowledge of the power and towering strength of God and His ability to protect His people.
It is said, there are enough crevices in the Wailing Wall to contain all the prayers of every human person.
It is in these hidden places in the massive wall they place their prayers. The God of such symbolic magnitude nevertheless provides the hidden spaces for the most intimate hopes of people.
The sacred wound of Jesus is bidirectional. There is the outpouring of Grace upon the world. It is also the entry to the hidden place where God lives which is in the center of the heart of Jesus and what could be in the center of your heart as well.
Story #1 – Gift from Sito Tralala in Barangay Gordon Heights, Olongapo City, Philippines.
Story #2 – Gift from coworker at ChoicePoint (now LexisNexis).
Gifts from the Heart are precisely from where Jesus wants us to give our gifts. Giving from the Sacred Heart of Jesus (a font you have access to) is the gift par excellent. Give generously.
So then hide! Hide in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Let your prayers flow with divine grace, your gifts flow from the divine place and your sacrifice be from the divine place.
(It is advantageous to read the first reading from today – 2 KGS 2:1, 6-14. Here you will see the hidden calling to the heart of Elisha [step it up] and the heart of Elijah [give it up]. Hidden, God at work and the gift giving.
Note: Due to technical problems the radio broadcast started at 6:15 PM. I had to restart the WiFi router but it took a little while to figure out what the problem was.
Gospel Reading: Mt 6:7-15
Eph 5:25b-27 – Christ loved the Church. He gave himself up … to make holy, purified in word and water.. without stain.. to present her (you) to the Father.
Jn 3:30 – He must increase and I must decrease. CHALLENGING THOUGHT: John the Baptizer moves aside so we can see Jesus. Jesus moves aside so we can see the Father.
Our Priests are always challenged like John and Jesus, how can I be present and yet point them to the Father’s love? The Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is also the Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests.
Theme: Direct access to the source of Divine Love and the particular intentionality of love we are given to share. In the Our Father, Jesus intentionally points us to the Father, not to himself, but to the source of all love. Abba, Father!
Jesus loves with an Everlasting. A love which he shares with the Father. Jesus is gentle and humble. Jesus shepherds us.
Story. Mother dressed kids for Holy Mass.
Story: Fr Nobert and a charming story of his new suit and his parish home in Les Irois, Haiti.
(Don’t tell my brothers I put this photo here. They would not be happy)
Priests would share the same thoughts as they try to prepare us for Holy Mass too!
Blood Poured out. Old and New. At the giving of the Tablet and at the Cross.
Jesus hares his Father with us. Jesus makes for the fullness meaning of the word OUR.
Solemnity of the Most Sacred HEart of Jesus
Today is the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. We prepared during the Triduum three major aspects of this feast.
The selflessness and inexhaustible riches coming from/contemplation of the pierced heart of Jesus and in the heart of our being-sanctified Priests. Love unreservedly.
The selflessness nature of the hidden and revealing place of the Heart of Jesus. Loves source is the Father. Our acts are perfect when sourced from the Father’s love.
The selflessness of John the Baptist and Jesus, Son of God, making way for us to be revealed to and the revealing of the Father’s Love. The Our Father par excellence. Our priests and our Jesus prepare us. Love speaks in the deepest groans.
In today’s Gospel reading Jesus speaks about the hidden things and revealed things all in the service of Love. It doesn’t require exceptional qualities of a person to receive the Father but simply an accepting heart.
This spiritual journey from not knowing to knowing is what Jesus offers. In ancient times and in today’s time the journey seems so complicated and arduous. But Jesus reassures us that to find the Father of Love you need only Jesus. Here you find rest, guidance, knowledge and the pathway of eternal life. He is not the task master. He is not a demanding God but for the commandment to be like him meek and humble of heart.
God bless you.
Please leave a comment or a ‘Like.’
It’s like yelling into the Grand Canyon and hearing only my own echo.
Lord, I come to you at the start of this novena with a muddle of desires. Give me courage, to listen to what you want to say to me about these desires and give me the strength to accept your loving desires for me and for my loved ones.
Three Our Father, three Ave Maria, one Glory be.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.
Lord Jesus, the needs of your people open your heart in love for each of us. You care for us when we are lost, sympathize with us in loneliness, and comfort us in mourning; you are close to us where we are weak. You love us most when we love ourselves least; you forgive us most when we forgive ourselves least; and you call us to spread your love in whatever way we can.
Lord Jesus, your heart is moved with compassion when we are suffering, when we need your help, and when we pray for each other. I ask you to listen to my prayer during this Novena, and grant what I ask. (Mention your intention silently.)
If what I ask is not for my own good and the good of others, grant me what is best, that I may build up your kingdom of love in our world.
LITANY OF THE SACRED HEART of JESUS
V. Lord, have mercy on us. R. Christ, have mercy on us.
V. Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us. R. Christ, graciously hear us.
V. God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us. God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us. God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us. Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us. Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father, have mercy on us. Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mother’s womb. Heart of Jesus, substantially united to the Word of God. Heart of Jesus, of infinite majesty. Heart of Jesus, holy temple of God. Heart of Jesus, tabernacle of the Most High. Heart of Jesus, house of God and gate of heaven. Heart of Jesus, glowing furnace of charity. Heart of Jesus, vessel of justice and love. Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love. Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues. Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise. Heart of Jesus, King and center of all hearts. Heart of Jesus, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Heart of Jesus, in whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead. Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father was well pleased. Heart of Jesus, of whose fullness we have all received. Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills. Heart of Jesus, patient and rich in mercy. Heart of Jesus, rich to all who call upon You. Heart of Jesus, fount of life and holiness. Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our offenses. Heart of Jesus, overwhelmed with reproaches. Heart of Jesus, bruised for our iniquities. Heart of Jesus, obedient even unto death. Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance. Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation. Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection. Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation. Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins. Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who hope in You. Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in You. Heart of Jesus, delight of all saints.
V. Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, R. spare us, O Lord. V. Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, R. graciously hear us, O Lord. V. Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, R. have mercy on us.
V. Jesus, meek and humble of Heart, R. Make our hearts like Yours
Let us pray.
Almighty and eternal God, look upon the Heart of your most beloved Son and upon the praises and satisfaction which He offers You in the name of sinners; and to those who implore Your mercy, in Your great goodness, grant forgiveness in the name of the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reign with you forever and ever. Amen.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.
Citations: Unless otherwise noted, content is is my own or from various homilies by Pope John Paul II. Usually it would be obvious which is which. Really good stuff – JPII, bridging and recapitulations, mine.
The Christian belief of a triune God can be a challenge for those of other traditions. It is a revelation that comes about after the Pentecost event when the gift of the Holy Spirit is poured out.
Parts of Triune belief are rather easy. If God is Father and God is unchanging then one would conclude He is Father from all eternity. If so then Son (Jesus) is Son from all eternity. If the Son is co-eternal with the Father then he is equal in substance to God because there is no intermediate step or time of becoming Son rather he simply is the same substance of the Father since there is no division within him (he is One).
It get harder to accept the Holy Spirit using that same logic. Instead one must consider the experience of the Holy Spirit. Believers who surrender to the love of God in baptism and confirmation experience the personal relationship (we call it personhood) of the Holy Spirit. In addition, one would consider the mission of the Spirit which is a natural outflow form the Divine love expressed between Father and Son (here you are good to reread the Gospel of John and see how the love between Father and Son is a crucial component of the Gospel message and always presented within the continuing mission of the Holy Spirit to ‘sanctify them in the truth’.
So much is written on the topic and ‘getting it’ is a fleeting endeavor. Bringing into alignment Faith and Reason is a worthy journey but one that will never end in this life.
I don’t want my inferior attempts to bruise your faith in any way. So allow me to say it this way.
God has revealed to us that at His center is a dynamic, perpetual, always refreshed, never changing mystery of love. He is self-giving even within himself. He wants us to experience him not as simply ‘God’ like so many pagan thinking. Rather as a divine, all powerful self-giving love in the person of the Father who loves us without end, in the person of the Son who redeems us from our follies, and in the person of the Holy Spirit who sanctifies us from the inside out.
Perhaps the first reading might help.
In Sunday’s reading the first is the giving of the Law a second time. Yes, the tablets of the Commandments had to be recreated and represented to the people.
What happened? You recall that after the first set of tablets were given Moses came down from the mountain and found the people had rebelled casting the bronze calf.
Moses was not pleased. In fact Moses anger burned hot, he threw the tablets to the ground and they shattered at the foot of the mountain.
Hey, Moses was a good man of course. He even challenged God to not harm the people as God had warned Moses the people had revolted. But… but…
When Moses saw the golden calf his true, deeper feelings came out. He was pissed! His piety was enraged. He in that moment decided to deny them the Law and went about cleaning up the mess by slaying 3,000 sinners.
[Note: please allow the author of the Exodus his writing as he is writing to illustrate deep spiritual meaning. That being at the core Moses had more sanctification to go through for surely his outrage and outrageous murder was not the will of God. But I don’t want to ruin the story].
In the intervening time period (we are in Exodus 32, 33, 34 – sorry forgot to tell you) Moses is changing. Moses is being sanctified.
When Moses was ready he was given gifts.
A new set of tablets to replace the old ones.
A theophany. God appears to Moses.
God says, ‘the Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness’.
Moses quickly bowed his head and worshiped.
The LAW was given and poorly received in the heart both by Moses and the People although in different ways.
This time, the LAW is encased in the understanding of mercy, grace, steadfast love and faithfulness.
By now you should be able to accept this conclusion.
The TEN COMMANDMENTS are NOTHING (shattered) if not encased in the relation of mercy, grace, steadfast love and faithfulness.
Paul, knowing all this, perhaps for the first time prescribes a similar reengagement.
Mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.
So the Gospel message on Trinity Sunday honors the Trinity in this way. The very center of the inter-dynamics of God is love. God is love. Superabundant love. Beyond natural love. Self-giving, self-denial love.
We are condemned only if we refuse the way of sanctification. Moses for all his beautiful piety needed a serious realignment.
God provided. Moses accepted. And then the true meaning of divine law can then take root.
This is our journey too.
If you are using the divine law as a hammer, then perhaps you think everyone is a nail to be pounded into your view of righteousness.
In the first attempts at commentary they were on FaceBook which are lost to me as this is a service I no longer subscribe. I remember telling the story of “Policia!”. I wish I had the content available to me again as a retelling would be a shadow of the post given in the hour of the encounter. Even the photo I took of the makeshift memorial for Victor I cannot find. I simply remember the father mourning his son and expressing / accusing from the deepest parts of his soul, “Policia”.
Of my earliest posts were in regard to the shooting of Victor Arango of Lake Worth 24 y/o Thursday, June 7 2012. These posts won’t make a lot of sense without the current event, well, current. Nevertheless…