May 30, 2021
Last Sunday, we closed the Easter season, and for the last one thousand years, today we have celebrated the doctrinal feast of the Holy Trinity.
So, the first thing that I would like to say is that our loving God is not an abstraction or a philosophical idea, and more than a million words cannot truly describe or help to understand.
When we say that God has created us, we are saying that God and one of us is one, because he has breathed his life spirit into us and we become a human being.
This was the understanding of the roots of our ancient Jewish faith — Book of Genesis at the end with the story of creation.
The second thing that I would like to say is that God does not come from an idea. God is someone we experience as we live our lives. We see his many presences in everything, absolutely everything that is created — the beauty of what is and who is.
What prevents our seeing it at times is our utilitarian use of creation, not taking the time to appreciate the beauty and mystery of it. Have you ever thought that created things have feelings just like humans? When we abuse things, they patiently groan.
Jesus appreciated the gift of human life. After creating human life, he wanted to experience it himself. Really, Jesus came among us to help to see, to understand, and to use, and to take great pleasure in life. And today’s Gospel commissions us to make disciples to see and to understand what Jesus saw and how he knew that life was created to be.
More than loving and appreciating God, we have often been taught more to obey him and that he will punish us if we do not. Many Catholics grow up with a religious inferiority complex – that they are not good enough for God and they become scrupulous, always looking over their shoulder to see when God’s shoe will drop next. The opposite is true for those who often use life to milk it and use life and relationships selfishly– almost extinguishing the presence of God.
You will notice today, that we do not go to theology books to find information about God. We have four Gospels who portray Jesus’ relationship with God as a relationship between a child and his papa and I suppose today we should say a mama as well.
This is the key point of what St. Paul is describing, this spirit of God deep inside of us that tells us that God is like a most loving and encouraging parent — the Aramaic word “Abba” – daddy, papa.
We are not a “thing” or an “object.” God does not create us to use or abuse us. “If children,” St. Paul writes, “then we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.” (Romans 8:17) We have the same relationship with God our Father as Jesus did.
Why is there so much fear, so much distance, God so much as an afterthought? Because we were reared that way or brought up with those thoughts. Many parents in the past, threatened their children that God would do such and such to them if they did not behave, and that significantly harms and puts the fear of God into us psychologically. On the contrary. We have received the spirit of adoption — just like so many others have experienced the beauty and warmth of being adopted and made to feel love and are appreciated by their adopted parents.
What I am advising today is not to go to books to find God, but to go to your heart. That is where we experience God — in the silence of no words, we can feel our pulse, our breathing. Both are signs that God is there. Rarely do we pay attention to our pulse or to our breathing yet they are the fundamental human expressions of God’s life in us.
Lastly, I want to point out how our first reading from the Book of Deuteronomy describes God — a real voice who speaks to us. Moses tells us about the wonder of hearing God speak, when actually they heard his voice.
Today, we can read what he said, but it is not the same as actually hearing another human speak those words to us — because we know how often they go in one ear and out the other.
Here is another thought. With all that parents are trying to teach their children about life, are they teaching how to listen to God? Do we as adults know him?
We might want to long for the simple culture of 3000 years ago, but today, we have learned how to listen and to distinguish words of God and words of nothing.
Moses makes the comment why do you think that God the Father wants to speak to you in this real way?
To know that “The Lord God is in the heavens above and on earth below and that there is no other…” So that — yes there is a benefit — “so that you and your children after you may prosper, and that you may have a long life on the land which the Lord your God is giving you.”
The last thing I want to say is to keep God and our relationship with God simple.
The very fact that God is love and the very fact that we practice love will expand our spiritual horizons and motivate us to live the kind of life that God wants us to live.
The energy of God’s life and love are living within us, activate that energy! God is not a doctrine or a ritual. God is a living person and we are much more alive if we live in him.
One of my favorite words of truth about God that calls me back often to where God is are words that St. Paul spoke to skeptic philosophers and modern thinkers near the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. He noticed among all the gods that they worshipped, that there was an altar dedicated to “the Unknown God.” He was trying to explain to them that perhaps that was Jesus and Jesus’ Father. (Acts 17) He applauded their interest in the gods and said: “In fact, God is not far from any of us, since it is in him that we live and move and exist, as some of your own writers have said. ‘We are all his children.’”
Very simply, I encourage you to find the Father, his Son, and the Holy Spirit in your hearts and in your lives. Let us return to our Baptism… That is how we began our lives in Jesus, at our Baptism.