Holy Trinity

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2016/05/22 at 12:00 AM

· At the very heart of Christianity is the understanding that God exists as a Trinity of Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This belief in the Most Holy Trinity is a belief shared by all Christians: Catholics, Orthodox, Protestant, and Evangelicals alike.

· Indeed, this belief about the nature of God is what sets us apart from every other religion and conception of God. No one but Christians understands God in this way. To be a Christian absolutely requires that one hold this Trinitarian understanding of the Almighty.

· Perhaps most of us take it for granted that God exists as a Trinity of Persons, having accepted this truth as young children when we first learned to pray. But for those who approach Christianity from another faith, the Trinity is a difficult concept to grasp.
· Truly, how can we understand that God is both Three and One? It is in truth a mystery that is as high as the skies and as deep as the oceans, a truth so profound that the human intellect is incapable of fully understanding in this life.

· And therefore it is a truth simply to be accepted with love and obedience, but not blindly – for our knowledge of the Trinity comes from Christ Himself.
· Because Jesus Himself revealed the nature of the Trinity to His apostles during His time on earth, we can have full confidence in our belief that our One God exists as Three Persons.
· But simply believing in the Trinity is not enough, my brothers and sisters. We cannot simply acknowledge the truth of the Holy Trinity without worshiping the Holy Trinity. It is the very nature of God to be worshiped.
· In a sense man is “hard-wired” to worship; it’s part of our human nature to worship, to give ourselves to something that we perceive is greater than ourselves. And whether we recognize it or not, all of us worship something – regardless of whether or not we go to church.
· In the brokenness and blindness caused by his sin, man often worships created things. Turning his back on God, sinful man is often in search of a golden calf.
· The problem with worshiping created things is that it strips man of his human dignity. Love effects a likeness with the beloved. In other words, we become like that which we love.
· If we love something less than ourselves, or even if we worship another human, we are degraded; we become less than who God has created and called us to be.
· It is only in worshiping God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in giving ourselves fully to Him that our human dignity is fulfilled. In the process of worshiping our One Lord in Three Divine Persons, we become like Him in Whose image we have been created.
· Truly, my dear brothers and sisters, we must fix it in our minds and hearts that God alone is to be worshiped and adored, and that our entire lives – even the smallest details of them – must be ordered to worshiping Him. Every thing we do should in some way glorify Him.
· As members of His Body, we must be wholly convinced that God alone is worthy of all praise and honor, and we must order our lives toward whatever is most pleasing to Him.
· Simply put, we must live for Him rather than for ourselves. We must seek His will in all things rather than our own. We must seek His honor and glory rather than our

own. And this begins by choosing to worship Him rather than ourselves and our own comfort.
· Our primary way to worship our Lord is through our prayer, especially liturgical prayer, and most especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

· We begin Mass by first recalling our sins in the Confiteor and begging pardon for them in the Kyrie eleison. We then open ourselves up to listening to God’s word through the readings and homily, hopefully allowing ourselves to be shaped and formed by Him in this way.
· By seeking His mercy and allowing ourselves to be instructed by Him, our Lord prepares us for union with Himself, and so it is that we profess our faith in Him in
the Credo.
· And as the bread and wine are raised up at the Offertory, we offer ourselves to Him as a sacrifice – willing to join Him on the cross in an act of self-oblation and surrender.
· Once we have done this, He draws us to Himself in the sweetness of Holy Communion, where – kneeling suppliant in His presence – we receive Him as a bride receives her bridegroom and become one flesh with Him.
· As we consider the great solemnity of this act of worship and the great gratuity by which our Lord receives our humble homage and gives Himself to us in return, it is absolutely imperative that we undertake the Mass with the utmost decorum and reverence.
· Thus it is that Catholics have always gone to great lengths to build beautiful churches, adorned with the best art and filled with glorious music, while using the finest materials available for the things necessary for the Mass – for nothing is too good for God!
· But while golden vessels, beautiful vestments, and lovely art are important, the very best gift we can give to our Triune Lord is an undivided heart. What God wants most from us is us!
· That is why, in His mercy, our Lord is willing to forgive any sin for which we are sorry in order to have us all to Himself for eternity. And we prepare for this eternal union with God most especially by the way we worship Him at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
· In instructing Catholics on how to worship at Mass, the Fathers of the 2nd Vatican Council spoke of the “full and active participation” that is the right and obligation of Catholics, and that is demanded by the very nature of the Mass (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, #14).
· However, in the years following the Council, this phrase: “full and active participation” has been wrongly understood to mean that the faithful in the pews had to “do” something in order to truly participate in the Mass.
· While I am certainly grateful to the wonderful service rendered by our lectors, our altar boys, our ushers, and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, “full and active participation” at the Mass is really a matter of being rather than doing.
· In an ad limina address to the bishops of the United States in 1998, Blessed John Paul II said that: “active participation does not preclude the active passivity of silence, stillness and listening: indeed, it demands it. Worshippers are not passive, for instance, when listening to the readings or the homily, or following the prayers of the celebrant, and the chants and music of the liturgy.”

· And more recently, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote that: “Active participation is not equivalent to the exercise of a specific ministry. . .Fruitful participation in the liturgy requires that one be personally conformed to the mystery being celebrated.” (Sac. Caritatis #53, 64)

· In other words, there is an interior disposition that each of us must cultivate when we come to Mass, a disposition of receptivity that recognizes God’s ineffable greatness, and our absolute need for Him to save us from our sins.
· We must cultivate an interior awareness that God alone is to be worshiped and adored, and that each of us is called to serve and honor Him gratefully with every fiber of our being – being willing to suffer any hardship to ensure He is acknowledged as the Lord of all.

· As we honor the Most Holy Trinity today, let us examine the way we worship at Mass. Are we here to render honor and thanks to God, or simply to fulfill an obligation? · Do we come to Mass seeking to give ourselves to Him or to get something from Him? Do we give our best to God at Mass by the way we act, the way we dress, the way we pray?
· May we all dedicate ourselves to honoring and loving the Most Holy Trinity with pure and undivided hearts. May we worship Him, and Him alone.


26 May 2013

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio.
To enable the audio, lease go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date.

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