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Posts Tagged ‘Relationships’

Father’s Day and Trinity Sunday

In 07 Observations on 2016/05/22 at 12:00 AM

I want to say Happy Father’s Day to all of you dads, grandfathers, and god fathers.

I had the good fortune to have a dad that is what you would hope for. He showed me how to be a man of faith, he showed me how to be a good husband, and how to be a good father to my children.

As I was thinking about my dad I thought back to the childhood that he made possible. When I was in grade school I grew up next door to David Spako. He was the biggest kid in school, the fastest, the strongest, and the top student.

Living next to David had a lot of advantages. In sports I was often on David’s team. In football I knew that if I could get a decent block David would run around everyone or over them. In our neighborhood we played a lot of two on two basketball. I would throw the ball to David and he would usually score and we often won.

Playing sports on David’s team gave me a lot of confidence. Because of what he could do I knew that if I did what I could do there was a good chance that we could accomplish what we hoped for.

Have you ever noticed that it’s easier to have confidence with a good team mate. Today we get to see who wants to be our team mate and how confident we can be.

Today is Trinity Sunday when we celebrate the Holy Trinity who is the best team mate we can have and wants to be on our team. So who is this team mate? The Trinity is how we see one God in three persons, the three persons are the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Let’s look at this closer.  God is love.

This seems like a simple statement but it is an amazing statement. This isn’t saying that God is loving like we might say he is merciful. The statement God is love is not describing traits of God but saying what His very nature is. God is love.

Let’s talk about the Trinity and how it affects us as believers. When we talk about the Trinity our language often is inadequate. That is why you’ll hear that the Trinity is a mystery and it is but that doesn’t mean that we can’t gain an understanding of the Trinity.

One God in three persons. That is a difficult concept for us to get our thoughts around but we can see that it had to be this way. Remember that God is love. For love to exist there has to be a relationship. God created all things. Before anything was created God existed and God is love. Who did God love in the beginning before anything was created? If God is love and he always existed in that way there had to be a relationship for love to flow to and from persons.

The Trinity is that community of persons where God as love existed in the beginning and still exists today. We can see that it was so from the beginning. In the story of creation in the beginning of the book of Genesis we read where God was creating all things. He created the heavens and the earth, the light, the sky and the seas, the plants on the earth and all kinds of living creatures.

Finally God was going to create man. The words of God in scripture revealed what man could not know. The scripture says in verse 26 “Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness”.

Notice God uses the plural words, “let us”, “our image”, and “our likeness”. Who is the us? God was more than one person from the very beginning. It had to be because  “God is love”.

If the Trinity is one God and three persons what does that mean and how can it show us how we can be believers.

The Trinity is three Persons who are each completely and wholly God, in an intimate dance loving completely, loving unconditionally, and supporting others.  God is love.

This is who God is and who he has always been. Three Persons who are each completely and wholly God recklessly giving of themself.

How can having God as the best teammate ever be a reality in my life so that I can be confident as a believer. I’d like to share my own example to show that we can be confident because God and any of us is an overwhelming majority.

For most of my life I’ve worked hard to stay out of prison and until recently I was successful. A few years ago I was asked to minister to men in prison. With my lifelong aversion to being in prison this did not seem like something I wanted or would be good at. What could I offer to men whose lives were so different from my own?

Yet I kept thinking that I was supposed to do this. The idea of God as my teammate really did give me the confidence that if I did my part we could be successful but he would have to do the heavy lifting. So I signed up with a measure of confidence but I was counting on God.

The first time I went into the prison was a wakeup call. You stand before the iron gates with officers around with guns that I assume were loaded and were not in holsters but looked ready for use

Then I walked in and heard the loud clank of the gates and it is a strange feeling as I am now locked in also. We go through another gate and the same sound and I realize that I am further in. This isn’t an idea anymore it is reality.

I walked into a room with about 30 prisoners in their brown uniforms. You know what I saw? Men who need a savior just like me. These men made mistakes but under different circumstances it could’ve been me. I saw men who wanted God in their lives. When everything is taken away from them they know that true joy and freedom come from love and God is the source of true love.

These men wanted to know about the ways of God. They wanted to know him love him and serve him. I wish that you could see the hunger they have for the sacraments which they might have access to once a month. We prayed, we received communion, we prayed the rosary, we read the scriptures, and we shared our faith.

I met men who helped me to see that faith is what really sets us free and brings joy and hope. Allowing God in my life to do the heavy lifting as my teammate allowed me a holy experience that I would not have been confident enough to tackle on my own. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is an even better teammate than David Spako.

So what is our takeaway from all of this? What can we keep from today and use it this week as we leave this Mass and strive to know, love, and serve God?

Remember the words from Genesis. “Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness”. Yes, we were created to be in the image and likeness of God.

The image of God is in relationship loving totally, loving unconditionally, and supporting others. Brothers and Sisters this is what we are to imitate. This is what we were created for. This week let’s keep this and mind and ask ourselves are we acting in the image of God? Am I loving totally, am I loving unconditionally, am I supporting others?

God is love. We were created to be like him. Let us bring that idea back into our homes, our workplace, and in our neighborhoods. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit will be with you.

 

Deacon Jack Staub

St. Matthew Catholic Church

Charlotte, NC

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The “Parable of the Crabs” and the Vine of Christ

In 16 Deacon Ruben Tamayo on 2015/05/08 at 12:00 AM

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In the Gospel of John, Jesus teaches us that He is the vine which sustains us, the branches, and calls each of us to “bear much fruit”. As I pondered what fruit our Lord asks us to produce it dawned on me that this fruit is ultimately the salvation of as many souls as possible, including our own. All of the other things which Jesus instructs us to do such as making “disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” are meant to lead all of us to eternal life with God in Heaven.
As I reflected further, it reminded me of a story that I heard while having lunch with one of my clients. This client lived in a country which is rich in natural resources and people and is well situated geographically – factors which could serve as the foundation for peace and prosperity for its people. Sadly, his country was quite dysfunctional so I asked him why this was the case.

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This led him to tell me what I call the “Parable of the Crabs”. In this story, a man goes out on a boat with a friend who makes a living catching and selling crabs. As the crabber hauls in a new batch of crabs, he puts some in a basket which is covered tightly with a lid and the others he puts in an open basket. After observing this for a while his friend asks him why he puts some crabs in one basket and some in the other.
The crabber explains that he puts the selfless crabs in the basket with the tight lid because they would otherwise escape and jump back in the ocean. “You see”, he says, “they collaborate with each other by climbing on each other’s backs until one reaches the top of the basket and then helps the others escape as well.”
“What about the crabs in the open basket – why don’t they escape as well?” asks his friend. The crabber informs him that these are the self-centered crabs which cannot stand to see each other succeed. As a result, they fiercely pull down any other crab that’s trying to climb out of the basket so he’s never had one escape. My client then said with sadness – my countrymen are like these crabs and that’s why we can’t seem to make much progress as a people.
This brings me back to our Lord’s command that we “bear much fruit”, the fruit of salvation for as many as possible. By using the image of us, the branches, being rooted in Himself, our Lord makes it clear that we cannot accomplish this mission without Him.
We do well to deepen our relationship with Him through prayer, the Sacraments, and loving acceptance of the suffering our Lord sends our way to help prune away our selfishness and any other impediments that keep us from loving God with our whole heart, with our whole being, and with our whole strength. As we become more deeply rooted in Christ, we grow in love of each other and begin to care for each other like the crabs that helped each other escape from certain death and be saved.
Those who become self-absorbed, like the crabs in the open basket, are on their way to perishing – to be thrown “into the fire” and to “be burned.” The more they make themselves the center of their universe, the less they are rooted in Christ and the more miserable and unhappy they become as they cut themselves off from God’s life giving love and from the love of others. Thanks to God’s mercy, He will welcome them back if they return to Him with a contrite heart. As members of our Lord’s Mystical Body, we are called to pray for and encourage all, especially those who have descended into the darkness and solitude that result from selfishness and pride.
Reflection based on the Mass readings for the 5th Sunday of Easter 2015: Acts 9:26-31; Psalm 22; 1st John 3:18-24; John 15:1-8