Homily for May 22nd, 2005.
Caution: Putting a Sunday homily on the Website is tricky business. All the viewer has is a written text. A homily, on the other hand, is "an oral event". It may not have been said or heard the way it was written. In addition, a roughly ten-minute homily is part of a roughly one-hour worship event in which God and God's people communicate with each other by means of ritual, symbol, song, proclamation, prayer. Not everything in these homilies is original. As a homilist, I rely on and at times borrow from other homilists and writers who are not properly mentioned in this format. I am often indebted to them.
Father William Marrevee, s.c.j.
Trinity Sunday A
Using Rublev’s icon of the Blessed Trinity
When we enter the Church on Sunday, we make a profoundly Christian gesture: we dip our hand in the baptismal water, we trace the cross on our bodies, we name God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
In that gesture and in those words, we say a lot about God, we say a lot about ourselves in relation to that God.
Naming God Father, Son, Spirit is not meant as a difficult and complicated definition of God that makes us wonder how three fit in one and how one makes three. Rather, it evokes for us the mystery of how the innermost reality of God is a communion, a home, a house of love so beautifully evoked in the icon of Rublev.
And this God who is a house, a home, a communion of love is not indifferent to us and our world, is not bored by us, does not simply tolerate us. Rather, he invites us gently to enter into that circle, that communion, that home of love. God has opened that house of love by means of his Son, the lamb of sacrifice, evoked in the icon by the red garment the central figure in the icon is wearing, and by the cup that is at the center of the table at which the three divine persons are seated. There is a place for us in that circle of love thanks to Jesus who gave his life so that we may have life.
Signing ourselves with the cross, naming God Father, Son, Spirit… it is what happened to us in baptism where we have put on Christ, where we have been clothed in Christ, claimed for Christ.
We make the cross on our bodies and we name God individually, but we also make it together as our common liturgy begins, suggesting that as baptized persons we are God’s household, members of God’s family getting ready to give thanks and praise for God’s love’s for us all, and interceding for the needs of the world around us, sitting at the table of God.
God welcomes us and in the family that is God we find our true belonging, our shelter, our secure rest; and we who have been thus called become who we truly are: God’s children. And our relatedness to each other is to reflect the communion of love that marks the innermost life of God Father, Son and Spirit. St. Paul , in the second reading, speaks of greeting each other with the holy kiss, which we do in the sign of peace that we share with each other. That gesture is more than a trivial handshake. It speaks of the communion among us which is anchored in and reflects the communion so characteristic of God-self.
That sign of the cross over our bodies and the naming of God Father Son and Spirit really matters. So we make the sign and we speak the words with attention and with grace, with beauty. Every Sunday here together, every morning when we get up, every evening when we go to bed. We find our true home in the home of love that God is.
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