Opening Up to “An Awesome Love”
It took a Pentecost, an experience of earthquake, fire and wind, to open the Jewish minds of Jesus’ first followers to grasp the meaning a new experience of God. What about us? This Lent-Easter-Ascension Pentecost cycle has been a mind opener. What have we seen and what is changed about us? If we are not going back to business as usual, where are we going? As early as the second century, the hymns being sung and prayed by early Christians, worship God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They reflected a new way of seeing the creator.
Trinity has got to be more than a mathematical puzzle. It has got to be more exciting that administrative structure of the godhead: judicial, legislative and executive. Still it will always forever be a mystery to the human mind. But to the human heart, the Trinity is an invitation to come closer to God. To experience the resurrection of the beloved Son, one gets to taste the three aspects of the Holy One. We don’t always get perfect scores in Church, but someone wrote a note about us on Facebook, “A very loving Christian community. No wonder people commute from Goodyear, Glendale, Tempe, Laveen, etc. for Mass… A+ for making everyone feel at home.” We want to open up again to this legacy.
When we can pull it off, it is the Trinity we reflect. It is the Trinity we hunger for in our friendships, marriages, and experiences of local community. After all, we were hardwired for communion. According to the scriptures shared by Christians, Jews and Muslims, the human person is created in the image and likeness of God. God’s inner life is self-giving love and it is made visible in every human communion of persons united in love. It is never perfect, but it makes us pant for more.
The experience of this has moved poets and mystics over the generations. The Scriptures and poets like Francis of Assisi often use the language of love to “explain” the movement of God toward human community. Trinity is the heart-moving mercy of the divine to embrace us in an intense, even nuptial intimacy.
Understanding God these days (if that is humanly possible) is one the central challenges facing a world even more deeply divided by religion, class and race. The great Vatican II theologian Karl Rahner, saw the Trinity as the perfect image of a world united, not by the triumph of one faith over all others, but as the community in dialogue to form unity in diversity – One table with many places, one humanity held together by justice and love. This vision needs regular polishing as the protests following the death of George Floyd this past week have demonstrated. When lived out, Trinity nurtures such hope for humanity’s future. We were made for Holy Trinity. The mystery draws all of us forward to stand together in the image and likeness of God. Celtic literature (if I can speak as an Irish- American) caught this, most especially in the shamrock image attributed to St. Patrick.
“I bind unto myself the Name,the strong Name of the Trinity; by invocation of the same. The Three in One, and One in Three, Of Whom all nature hath creation, Eternal Father, Spirit, Word: Praise to the Lord of my salvation, Salvation is of Christ the Lord.”
Stay with us for the coming weeks of the feast of St. Anthony, Corpus Christi and the Sacred Heart. Many thanks to all who have made our parish community’s shelter in place so creative. We continue to be COVID vigilant as we enter and leave the Basilica building and parking lots.
A gentle week.
Fr. Michael Weldon, OFM
Adapted in part from Celebration’s Pat Marrin’s 2017 reflection.