The Most Holy Trinity

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2014/05/23 at 12:00 AM

For those of us who are blessed to be Christians, the greatest mystery facing man is not whether or not God exists. We believe the answer to that question is self‐evident.

Indeed, the great Greek philosophers reasoned their way to the existence of God long before Jesus was born and revealed God to us.

And in dealing with the question of God’s existence, many of our great Catholic theologians have built upon the seminal philosophy of the Greeks, noting that the beauty, complexity, and interdependence of the various elements of creation point to the existence of a God who is not only all‐powerful, but all loving as well.

Moreover, it part of our Christian anthropological tradition that knowledge of God’s existence is something written on our souls and discernible by the natural light of human reason. As such, we are hard‐wired, so to speak, to believe that God exists.

And the grace of faith, first given to us at baptism, builds upon this very natural belief so that we can be certain of God’s existence and His love for us.

While as Christians we know with certainty that God exists, His nature remains a mystery. Thus, the greatest mystery facing us is that God exists as a Trinity of Persons. It is this particular mystery of our faith that separates us from every other religion.

Last week on Pentecost Sunday I briefly explained the roles of each Person of the Blessed Trinity.

Specifically, it is the Father who creates us and sustains us in being; it is the Son who suffered and died for us in order to redeem us; and it is the Holy Spirit who works to sanctify us so that we can cooperate with the gift of salvation.

Because each Person of the Blessed Trinity acts in our lives in different ways, it is important for us to develop a relationship with each of them.

So for example, we pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance and inspiration. It is the Holy Spirit who helps us to know the divine will and act upon it.

It is the Holy Spirit who prays within us, who awakens faith within us, and who restores the beauty of our souls lost through sinfulness. And it is through the power of the Holy Spirit that the Sacraments are made efficacious.

Jesus, on the other hand, is the primary object of our devotion. It is He who became one of us, and thus we most closely relate to Him. For most of us, it is Jesus whom we come to know best, for He is both God and man, and we know His human history.

Moreover, it is Jesus whom we receive and commune with through the Sacraments, most especially through the Holy Eucharist.

However, God the Father is the primary object of our communal worship. It is to the Father that our prayers are directed at Mass and in the celebration of all of the Sacraments. As it is Fathers Day, perhaps it is most appropriate to focus on Him.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that, “By calling God ‘Father’, the language of faith indicates two main things: that God is the first origin of everything and transcendent authority; and that he is at the same time goodness and loving care for all his children.” (#239)

And while Jesus and the Holy Spirit, as the 2nd and 3rd Persons of the Holy Trinity, are consubstantial with the Father and not subordinate to Him in any way, the Catechism does teach that the Father is the origin and source of the whole divinity (#245).It is for this reason, and in imitation of Jesus who taught us to pray to the Father, that our liturgical prayers are addressed to the Father. Indeed, when I stand at the altar at Mass and pray, even though I may be facing you, I am speaking to God the Father.

The question of how we pray to God the Father in our liturgies is something that has been given considerable attention lately, especially by our Holy Father.

Even before he was elevated to the Chair of Peter as Pope Benedict XVI, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was studying and reviewing the liturgical renewal occasioned by the Second Vatican Council.

For those of you who were born, perhaps, in 1955 or earlier, you remember well how much the liturgy changed in the years following Vatican II.

But now that we’ve experienced 40+ years of this liturgical renewal, the Church recognizes that some modifications to the renewal are in order so that we may render worship to God the Father that is wholly appropriate and rooted in our traditions.

It is for this reason that this coming Advent, we will begin using a new English translation of the Roman Missal, which is the book containing of all of our readings and prayers for the Mass.

Hopefully you’ve been reading the excellent articles on the new translation featured in the Catholic News Herald each week to keep abreast of the upcoming changes.

The primary purpose of the new translation is to provide an English text that is more faithful to the original Latin. The upshot is that our prayers and texts for the Mass will become much more formal, and yet much more beautiful and poetic as well.

This is good, for you see, my brothers and sisters, we must never lose sight of the absolute holiness of God. Because God is Holiness itself, we must always treat Him with the proper respect and reverence.

While it is so very important that we have a personal relationship with our Lord, we must never allow ourselves to be casual with Him. And this is particularly true when we worship Him at Mass.

God is not like anyone else to whom we speak, and therefore the language we use with God must not be like the language we use with one another. His holiness demands more of us than that.

The new translation we will begin using in Advent addresses this issue. In fact, it is reverence for God that has driven all of the liturgical changes we’ve made here at St. Ann’s in the past four years.

Reverence for God was also the primary concern we had in designing and building this new church! Our goal was to build the very best church we could with the limited funds we had – and to do it for God’s glory.

My brothers and sisters, to treat God the Father as we should and as He desires, we must be wholly convinced that nothing is too good for Him. Indeed, we must continually strive to give God the best of ourselves in every way, especially at Mass.

All of the elements of our worship matter. The building in which we worship matters, the music we use matters, the attitude we bring with us to Mass matters, even the clothing we wear matters.

If I may be so bold, I ask that you be very careful about what you wear to Mass. Shorts, t‐shirts, and “flip‐flops” have no place at Mass – no place at all.

I realize that it’s hot in the summer time, but when we come to Mass, we must leave concerns of personal comfort and convenience aside in order to render our Lord the reverence and respect that is due to Him.

So on this Father’s Day, I challenge you to think about your relationship with God the Father. How do you treat Him? Are you as reverent as you should be with Him? Do you always give Him the best you have to give?

Most importantly, let us all consider how we pray to God the Father, especially here at Mass. And let us all strive to be as reverent as possible, so that all that we say, do, and think here at Mass will show forth a love and devotion that is truly worthy of the Lord and Creator of us all.

Copyright 2011 by Reverend Timothy S. Reid

Reverend Reid is pastor of St. Ann’s Catholic  Church in Charlotte, NC


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