Hi everyone, and welcome to Weekly Homilies with Father Mark Suslenko, Pastor of SS. Isidore and Maria Parish in Glastonbury, Connecticut. We are part of the Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford. I'm Carol Vassar, parish director of communications, and this is Episode 22 of Season 5 for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity: June 12, 2022. Our Gospel reading is from John, Chapter 16, verses 12 - 15
Jesus said to his disciples: "I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming.
He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine;
for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.”
The Gospel of the Lord
“Three-in-One,” by Father Mark S. Suslenko, Pastor, SS. Isidore and Maria Parish, Glastonbury, Connecticut
We can certainly take today's feast of the Most Holy Trinity and look at it through a theological lens and try to figure out how God can be one and three at the same time, and then how the relationships of persons all work within the blessed Trinity union.
An exercise like that is certainly very beneficial, but for the most part, it appeals to our minds, and allows us to, with our rational thought, try to pierce that which is really in mystery. But for the Holy Trinity to make sense, especially those who may be on the fence with their faith or those of you here today who are younger trying to figure out your way through life and how to connect the dots of who you are and how you fit into the bigger picture of things, it has to make sense in here. It has to make sense in our own souls and spirits, and once it begins to make sense in here, then it clicks up here and we can own it. And the mystery of the Trinity, as big as it is, becomes real for us. It's not just an idea anymore, but something that has a claim on my life.
So it brings us to the question then of, "How does God reveal himself as Father, Son, and Spirit inside of each one of us, in the very stuff of who we are so that it can be real, tangible, practical?"
Well, to get at that question just a little bit, you have to understand a couple of things about God and both of these come from scripture. The first is that God is love. God is love. Scripture is very clear on that. So in one sense is God is very mysterious, in another sense, we can really reduce that to three simple words. God is love. The other thing we know about God is that he very rarely comes to us in the extraordinary and the fantastic and the dramatic; in the earthquake with a fire. God usually comes to humanity in the whisper of quiet, in the very simple stuff of life.
You know, when Jesus was born, he was a baby, just like any other baby. And through that experience of humanity, God brought forth divinity. So God comes to us in simple, quiet ways, and God is love. So if you look at those two things about God, we realize that as far as the Trinity goes, it is one big relationship of love. That the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit enjoy and delight in each other and enjoy life together in the power of that love and love, the essence of God, holds all of that together. And that each person of the Trinity is going to reveal a different part of God's love to us; is going to show God's love to us in a different and unique way and make a special claim on us. So that being said then, how do we know in here that the Trinity is real and has meaning and purpose?
Well, every human being, as they go through life and, whether they're conscious of this or not, but it's better if you are because you can adequately answer the questions I'm going to ask. We ask some very pointed questions about ourselves as life reveals itself to us, as we find our way through things, especially as you begin to bump up against life's difficulties, gain our independence.
We ask ourselves three questions. The first one is this: what is faith? What is faith? The second one is where do I find hope? Where do I find hope? And the third one is what does it mean to love? What does it mean to love?
Now, why are these three questions so important? These questions are important because they all involve three very special gifts that God gives us: faith, hope, and love. And as those special gifts, they are extensions of God himself. Not just things that God gives them, but extensions of God himself. So when we encounter faith, hope and love, we are in essence, encountering God too. And say, those are pathways to God. And so as we're going through our lives and we ask ourselves, what is faith for me? What do I trust in this world? Because we have to trust something. We can't not trust because if we go through life in an untrusting way, we're going to be fearful. In a very rudimentary basis, we won't even be able to act because we won't have the ability to trust in the next moment of time. So trust is very important, but in what do I trust as an individual?
Well, in all these questions, we have two places to look to the secular or to the sacred. So if we look to ourselves, then I have only a couple of choices. I can trust myself, and my ability to keep things together. I can trust those I'm with, or I can trust that which I put around me, my securities. And so if I have all of those things in order, then I can be on solid ground.
And so it's important for me to surround myself with those things, to acquire things, for pleasure, things for security. To rely on the princes of this world, so to speak, rather than the things of the eternal. And as you're asking that question of "what do I believe in, what is faith for me, what do I trust?" God is very quietly pushing us saying, "Don't look here, look there, look at the mountains, and the creation that I made, look at the stars in the sky, look at the way things are ordered, look at the precious life that you have, and the one of the person sitting next to you, look at the glory that's around you and all that is made."
Can you make something as wonderful as that? Is it within the human possibility to do so? But God can, and God gently is whispering in our ear, "Have faith in me. Have faith in me. Have faith in my providence. Have faith in my will for you." And God is the one that's going to keep our lives together. God is the one that's going to keep it intact. God is the one who is going to make sense out of things, not us. Because all that we have in all that we associate ourselves with can be gone tomorrow. It's all fleeting. As we look our eyes beyond and to God, then we capture a truth that's eternal and a truth that won't fade away. So God the Father is nudging us towards faith. Inspiring us to think above and beyond ourselves.
So where do we find hope? What gives us hope? You know, we all know as we live life that life can get pretty challenging for us. Now we can encounter some situations that we never thought we would encounter, very painful ones. And sometimes they involve ourselves, sometimes they involve those we love, sometimes we have to watch people go through very difficult circumstances and things. Sometimes we have to let go because we have no control over situations. So what gives us hope? What allows us to get up in the morning, put our feet on the floor and move again and take another day on? What gives us the ability to persevere when things especially get daunting or difficult? When life has taken the carpet off from underneath us, what propels us onward?
Well, again, to answer that question, we can look to ourselves to the secular world, and find our hope simply in what I can do about it. And then when I can't manage it anymore or someone else can't manage it for me, the only next option is to fall into despair and many people do because they feel that they have no hope.
And all the while, while we're asking, "Where is my hope? What gives me hope?" God is whispering and nudging us outside of ourselves. The Holy Spirit is moving us to see him as hope. The Holy Spirit is telling us, "I'm the one that can take things that are broken and fix them. I'm the ones that can create and move seasons from one to the other. To make fall go into winter and winter into spring and spring into summer. I am the one that keeps things ordered, and I'm the one who can tell you who you really are. That your precious life that God has given to you is meant to be lived eternally with him in heaven. It's not about here."
And so there is always hope. There is hope in life eternal. Hope in the resurrection of Christ. Hope in the truth of who you are. And so as God the Father blesses us with the virtue of faith, the Holy Spirit guides us in hope, both lovingly, but both ordered to a different dimension of our life. If we look above and not down.
And then there is love. Where do we learn to love?
If we look to the world for that answer, our loving is going to be really all about us. It's going to be about what makes me feel good, the amount of people that can associate with in my social circle, my status within the community, my sense of well-being that I can create for myself. And I'm going to, in a sense, to begin to hoard love. It's going to be more about me than anyone else unless loving someone else can also then benefit me. But the way the world wants to love is much different than a different kind of love because God is propelling us once again. And he's saying, "Look to my son. Look to Jesus Christ as the model and example of love. And what you see there, you do yourself."
And what we see in Jesus Christ is a love which is self-emptying. A love that is about the other person and not about myself, a love that has to do with compassion and mercy and forgiveness. A love that has to do with tolerance, a love to have to do with peace and justice, and creating a space for all people as our Lord detailed so eloquently in the Beatitudes.
And so if we look above and beyond ourselves to the person of Jesus Christ, we can find out how to love. And when you put it all together and you look at the sum total of our lives, we can have the best house, the perfect job, all the money in the bank that we would want, but if we don't have those three gifts, if we really don't understand the truth of them, faith, hope, and love, if we haven't made friends with the blessed Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and realizing that we're journeying through this life, not alone, but with this powerful presence behind us, that can propel us and move us and direct us and focus us and keep us on the straight and narrow to life eternal, then we miss the beauty of what it means to be human.
And St. Paul, when he articulated all of these gifts did so, so well, he ended that whole beautiful narrative with something very powerful. And he said "In the end, love endures." Love endures. And why does love endure? Because love is the essence of God himself, and God can never go away, so love God will always last. And so the bottom line is if we have a relationship with the members of the Holy Trinity, ultimately nothing can happen to us, either, and we will eternally be with the God who made us. It gives us the faith we need, the hope to light our path, and the love that will make our journey more meaningful and purposeful.
So as we have an opportunity this week for some reflection, ask yourself: What gives you faith? What gives you hope? And what tells you how to love?
Father Mark Suslenko is the pastor of SS. Isidore and Maria Parish in Glastonbury, Connecticut. Learn more about our parish community at www.isidoreandmaria.org. And follow us on social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Our music comes free of charge from Blue Dot Sessions in Fall River, Massachusetts. I’m Carol Vassar. Thanks for joining us.