Homily for Trinity Sunday, June 16th, 2019:
Trying to explain a mystery is mysterious itself. But that’s the task today for Trinity Sunday. We are going to try explain God Himself. I’m going to try do that by staying faithful to today’s Bible readings.
The first reading from Proverbs is important. It discusses Wisdom’s part in creation. It is God the Father who is the Creator. God commanded “Let there be light and light appeared”(Genesis 1:3). God Himself uses Wisdom as a “master-workman” in the creation of this incredible universe and in the establishment of the order that rules it. The author of this reading from Proverbs presents Wisdom as a person, living and operating alongside God. And Wisdom is a divine being, not a creature like we are. Wisdom existed before anything was created and concurred in what God created. Wisdom is intrinsic to God but Wisdom is also distinct from God and was generated by God. Here is the important point regarding the Trinity of God: When this was written, Jesus Christ had not yet been born. Proverbs was written Before Christ. Wisdom is not yet a distinctly defined person but it is so vividly personified that from this description to the distinction of more than one person in God is only one step away. That step was taken when divine Wisdom became incarnate in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. This reading gives us a blueprint to envision more than one person in God.
In Romans, St. Paul writes about the hope of final salvation. He says it equals eternal glory in heaven. The initial salvation promised us results in the triumphant hope of final salvation hereafter. The first fruits of salvation here is “peace with God” (Romans 5:1). This is the work of Jesus Christ. We hope in the salvation He has accomplished for us. So this Son of God the Father is our Savior. He gives us hope for heaven, hope for us to experience God’s Beatific Vision. In verse five St. Paul describes one characteristic of our hope in heaven. It is its certainty. St. Paul says our hope of heaven is certain because God the Father loved us so much that He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for us. Secondly, our hope in heaven is certain simply by comparing the effects of Adam’s sin and Jesus Christ’s redemption. God is faithful to His promises so therefore, our hope in heaven is certain. That comes from the action of God’s Son, Jesus Christ.
Finally, Jesus tells His Apostles and disciples and us about the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus says it is necessary for Him to leave this earth and ascend to Heaven so that Pentecost will come, the Holy Spirit. Jesus says this Holy Spirit will be His great substitute to guide the Apostles into all religious truth. So the instruction of the Apostles will be completed through that other Paraclete, the Holy Spirit. But this Holy Spirit will be an internal illuminator for the Apostles and us, more so than a revealer. This Holy Spirit will illuminate Jesus’s Church and make her more fertile and more fruitful. Holy Mother Church will continue to grow through the illumination of Jesus’s truths in her. The Holy Spirit will speak what He hears from Jesus. Jesus glorified God His Father and the Holy Spirit will glorify Jesus. So this Holy Spirit comes from the Father and Son. It illuminates the truths that Jesus has explained to His Apostles and which are illuminated in the teachings of this Church. The Holy Spirit of God is a substantial love which bears fruit in this Church, grows this Church.
These are functions peculiar to the three Persons of this one triune God. God the Father creates and uses Wisdom to do so. This Wisdom is eventually personified in His Son, Jesus Christ. God the Son saves us. His saving act gives us a hope for heaven that is certain. And the Holy Spirit is a procession of love from God the Father and Jesus Christ His Son, which illuminates truth. When the Holy Spirit does this, it makes Jesus’s Church, this one, fruitful and fertile.
In trying to stay faithful to the readings today, I followed some of the Scripture commentaries closely. I hope this enlightens our perception of this triune God, a little bit. There is also a similarity with the fathers of our families. They function out of love for their wives and children and lead their families in holiness in order to enable their children to come closer to God the Father, Jesus Christ His Son, and be temples of God's Holy Spirit. For all fathers everywhere, reach out and pray to the triune God and He will surely bless you with every grace you need to be the head and cornerstone of your beloved families. God bless all fathers this Father's Day!
Homily for Pentecost Sunday ©, June 9th, 2019:
This Pentecost Sunday is real for us. This is a real event in which Jesus Christ renews His Holy Roman Catholic Church. The Gospel reading (John 20:19-23) gives a baseline for Pentecost Sunday. Today’s gospel reading recalls the Apostles hiding on Easter Sunday. So this is Jesus’s first post-Resurrection appearance to His Apostles and disciples. Jesus penetrates the locked doors but more importantly, Jesus penetrates their fears (John 20:19). Jesus penetrates their fears and replaces them with “peace” (John 20:19,21). Jesus shows His Apostles and disciples His physical, resurrected body to prove conclusively that this is Him. Their reaction is pure joy. Jesus bestows again peace on them. And then Jesus confers on His Apostles and disciples the same mission God the Father gave Him: to forgive sins, to heal, and to preach, to spread the faith and bring everyone into His one Church. Jesus breathes on them and communicates to them the Holy Spirit. This is a partial anticipation of the full coming of the Holy Spirit upon them at Pentecost. This is an appetizer but Jesus has fully commissioned them for their task, their mission. The power to remit and retain sins shows that the Apostle and disciples have judicial authority in this Church to identify and teach which acts are sinful and which are not. This same power is given the Apostles and disciples sacramentally. Holy Mother Church has always understood Jesus’s act as the institution of penance, reconciliation, confession. By the way, since this appearance occurred Easter Sunday evening, St. Thomas was absent. Jesus appears to the Apostles and disciples again, one week later, and Thomas is present. Since Jesus gave this power to forgive sins to His Apostles and disciples, Jesus must have given this authority to Thomas too.
It is also important to point out that Thomas was not present with the Apostles and disciples that Easter Sunday evening, when Jesus appears to them resurrected (John 20:24). Thomas is gone somewhere. For some reason, Thomas is separated from the Apostolic College, and is not unified with the “main body.” Notice what Thomas’s reaction is to the Apostle’s report: “Unless I see the scars of the nails in His hands and put my finger in the scars and my hand in His side, I will not believe”(John 20:25). Thomas will not believe. When we separate ourselves from this Church and her teachings, and seek our own beliefs, we subject ourselves to disbelief, errors, and sin. For some reason, Thomas was absent. Separated from the body of disciples and Apostles, he disbelieved. That is critical.
The Holy Spirit’s effects on us are to correct our false, sinful, and worldly beliefs about this sinful world’s allurements and instead teach us eternal truths, through Holy Mother Church. Jesus has promised this Church the Holy Spirit’s accompaniment forever. How do we stand in relation to the eternal truths as taught by this Church? Are we docile to them? Are we eager and zealous in our affection toward them? Is our Catholic faith animated, fervent, and lively? Do we love virtue? Do we hate vice? The sending of the Holy Spirit on these Apostles and disciples at this Easter Sunday appearance, and more fully, at Pentecost, enables them to convert a corrupt, sinful world. It is the same for us here today because this Pentecost Sunday gift of the Holy Spirit is real for us here today. May we go out and teach, and model virtues, and oppose vices and sins, and lead others into this Church in a unified and wonderful way until we all belong to one Body, the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, His Church, this one.
jesus ascends into heaven and he hands off his mission to his church for her to continue in his name
Homily for Ascension Thursday ©, June 2nd, 2019 (Sunday):
We are here to celebrate Jesus’s Ascension into heaven. This is a holy day of obligation. Holy Mother Church is wise to require us to celebrate this. This is an incredible event in Jesus’s life and our Church’s life. Jesus’s Ascension brings together three events which give us, in our church, our Christian and Catholic mission. They are: Jesus’s Resurrection, Jesus’s Ascension, and the coming of the Holy Spirit-Pentecost.
First, let’s talk about Jesus’s Resurrection. Jesus Christ has risen from the dead. That is a fact. We declare that on faith. St. Luke’s Gospel emphasizes the physical reality of Jesus Christ’s Resurrection. Jesus Christ’s Resurrection Body is real. Jesus Christ gave His Apostles and disciples convincing signs that He was alive after His death. Jesus appeared to them several times and continued teaching them the meaning of God’s kingdom. Since these Apostles and disciples have seen, heard, and touched the risen Jesus, they can become faithful, genuine witnesses to Him and His Resurrection. They do. They are martyred for it. They are killed. But they also convince others of the fact of Jesus Christ’s Resurrection. We are called to do the same, here today. Jesus Christ’s Resurrection reveals His Humanity AND HIS DIVINITY. Jesus’s Resurrection shows the magnitude of God’s invincible, unconquerable power. God’s power and strength are exercised in His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. The Apostles and disciples convert others to this Catholic faith in Jesus Christ-Savior, who lived, died, rose from the dead, ascended into Heaven, sent the Holy Spirit upon this Church, and will return, someday. We don’t know when. On that point, Jesus tells His Apostles and disciples to ignore those who say the end is near. Do not try to guess what cannot be known.
Second, Jesus ascends into heaven. Jesus’s Ascension concludes His Resurrection appearances on earth to His Apostles and disciples. St. Luke ends his gospel with Jesus’s priestly blessing to His Apostles and disciples as He ascends into Heaven. Jesus’s blessing hands off His mission of forgiving sins, healing ills, and preaching the Gospel to His Apostles and disciples, TO HIS CHURCH, THIS ONE. Jesus also promises to help them, and us here today who are to carry on this same mission. Jesus ascends into heaven to be enthroned as king. He is enthroned at God’s right hand. Today’s psalm is an enthronement psalm which celebrates Yahweh’s kingship. We are to praise Him. To “enthrone” means “to seat ceremonially on a throne,” “to exalt,” “to raise in character, power, and/or rank,” “to elevate in estimation or by praise,” “to glorify.” All of those fit Jesus. Jesus Christ reigns over all the cosmic forces from His heavenly throne. God has placed everything and everyone under Jesus’s control and has made Him the Head of the Church, which, as His Mystical Body, completes Jesus Christ’s being. Jesus Christ fills all that exists, the whole cosmos. All of this happens when Jesus ascends into Heaven to be enthroned.
Third, Jesus will send the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, to His Apostles and disciples, who will teach the faith in His Church, this one, established on the rock of St. Peter. Jesus will baptize His followers at Pentecost with the Holy Spirit. Then the Apostles and disciples will continue Jesus’s mission of healing and preaching. The Holy Spirit will empower the Apostles and disciples to do so. The Apostles and disciples pay homage to Jesus as He ascends into heaven. The Scripture Commentary I looked at for this says this is the first time the word “homage” appears in the Gospel to show reverence to Jesus Christ. They return joyfully to Jerusalem and continually praise God in the Temple. They rejoice that Jesus Christ is returning to His Father and they expect something great to happen. It will, the sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
These three events coalesce to empower us here today to continue Jesus Christ’s saving mission in His Church. Here is one final comment. Next Sunday we will celebrate Pentecost Sunday. Pentecost Sunday is a real event in our lives. It will be a real reception of the Holy Spirit in our souls to renew Jesus’s Mystical Body, His Church, WHICH WE ARE PART OF HERE, TODAY. May we pray to receive well the Holy Spirit so that we may witness our one and only Savior, Jesus Christ, to our loved ones, our communities, to the vineyard of the world during whatever time is left before Jesus Christ comes again.
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