I was once asked in an interview a very searching question: ‘how real is God in your life?’ I’m not too sure what answer I gave but what I remember very well is the question: “how real is God in your life?” It is the kind of question that cuts through mere knowledge about God or rattling off some answer from the catechism. For God to be real in my life suggests that somehow or other I’m conscious of God and of God being a companion on my journey. This is where the saints shine. They seem to operate out of a deep awareness of a loving God in their lives and thus God impacted upon them hugely. How else does one explain Blessed Mother Teresa leaving the Loreto convent to found a religious order to work in the streets of Calcutta. Surely that bears the impact of God. Another woman ever conscious of God was St. Therese of Lisieux. Her autobiography is one continuous dialogue with her God. God was her all.
Today we celebrate the feast of the Most Holy Trinity, the revelation of the inner life of God. It is a mystery way beyond our grasp, a mystery we will never understand. Today, however, is not a time for heady speculation. Rather it is a feast to be celebrated. What we celebrate above all is that God is a community of persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Furthermore this community of persons has reached out to humanity from Creation to the Incarnation to Pentecost and the Spirit’s ongoing presence among us. This is the feast of God’s self-revelation, celebrating God’s desire to be known by us and to share divine life with us.
But the question remains, how real is God in our lives? It is all too easy to be forgetful of God, even with the best of intentions. Perhaps we are too tantalised with the things God has made so as to forget the Maker. In spiritual matters are we not a tad like children at Christmas; once the toys appear they forget all about who gave them. And yet to forget God is akin to forgetting our parents and where we come from. We are rather shocked if people forget or neglect their parents in their old age and yet, in this fast and turbulent age, we can be indifferent to the God who made, sustains and nourishes us. Today’s feast, therefore, is there to help us to be mindful of God and ever grateful for God’s daily sustaining us.
In reflecting on God’s feast we turn to Jesus for guidance. From his personal experience of God, he invited his followers, and now us, to relate to all three Persons of the Holy Trinity, which, of course includes himself. His great appeal to all and sundry was simply to open ourselves to God’s holy mystery.
We begin with the Father. Jesus invites us to live as daughters and sons of a God who is close, good and tender, one whom all can invoke as a dear Father. What characterizes this Father isn’t power and force, but goodness and infinite compassion. Proverbs speaks of God’s utter delight in creation, including the playfulness of the whole process and God’s special delight in calling us humans into being. Think of the joy a newborn babe brings to parents. Multiply that by a big number and that is God’s delight in each of us. God is love and therefore God’s astounding creation unfolds under the influence of that love. Each one of us has been loved into life. Therefore no one is excluded and no one is fully alone, for we all have a Father who understands us, loves us and forgives us like no one else.
Jesus reveals to us that this Father has a project of the heart: to build with all God’s sons and daughters a more human and fraternal world, a world of justice and of solidarity. Jesus calls it “God’s Reign” and invites all to enter into the Father’s project, seeking a more just and dignified life for all, starting with God’s children who are poorest, most defenceless, most in need.
Then Jesus asks us to relate to himself. “Abide in me as I abide in you” he says. He simply asks us to trust in him: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled; have faith also in me.” He can ask this of us as God’s Son, the living image of his Father. His words and his deeds reveal to us how the Father of all loves us. That’s why he invites all to follow him. He teaches us to live confidently and docilely in the service of God’s reign.
At the Last Supper Jesus was very conscious of leaving that small little group who had journeyed with him for three years. He did not want to leave them orphans and so he promises them the Holy Spirit. With the coming of the Spirit he foresaw a new family where all seek to “fulfil the Father’s will.” This is the inheritance that he wants to leave on the earth: a movement of brothers and sisters in service to the last, the lost and the least. That family will be a symbol and seed of the new world that the Father wants.
That’s why we need to welcome the Spirit who breathes into us the presence of the Father and the Son: “You will receive the power of the Holy Spirit who will come upon you and thus you will be my witnesses.” This Spirit is God’s love, the love between the Father and Son that we are all invited to share in. Sharing in that love we too will be empowered with the impulse and the vital energy needed to make us of followers of Jesus. Empowered by God’s Spirit we too, like the first apostles, shall be witnesses and co-workers of Christ in the world.
The feast of the Trinity invites us to loving appreciation. It is a time to give thanks to the God who loves us and to meditate on the ways we have encountered that love. Young or old, brilliant or simple, all of us are capable of celebrating this day as the feast of the great love of God. In so doing may God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit become ever more real in our lives!
Sunday, May 22, 2016