Homily

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May 26th, 2013
Fr. Edward P. McDevitt, C.O.

The Most Holy Trinity

Today as we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Trinity we are reminded that this doctrine clearly teaches that the Trinity is one God made up of three separate but equal parts. Well as you sit there you might be saying to yourself, ‘How is this possible?”   Throughout history the various saints have tried to explain this to their people and their congregations.  First of all Saint Patrick when he was evangelizing the Irish people used the shamrock and the shamrock is one shamrock yet it has three separate petals. If you take away one of the petals it no longer is a shamrock.  The entire shamrock is one stem and three petals.  How is this possible?  You have three individual petals each separate each unique and yet they are part of the Trinity that without one the Trinity ceases to exist.  A later saint, Saint John Damascene tries to use another analogy when preaching about the Holy Trinity.  He said he might see the Holy Trinity as something dealing with water.  The water with its substance begins in the mountains as a small brook and as a trickles down the mountains actually becomes a river and that river continues to grow and get larger until it ultimately ends up in the ocean.  It is the same water and yet it has different functions in the mountains as a river and then as the ocean.  It is only one water with three distinct parts serving three distinct and different needs.  Another saint came along with the idea of the Trinity and this Saint said think of the Trinity as the bark of a large tree that would represent the Father and then the stem of the branch coming off the bark definitely represents the Son and then the buds or perhaps the fruit that is on this tree would represent the Holy Spirit.  They are all one but they are separate and different and parts.  The bottom line is we still, with all these explanations, cannot understand the doctrine of the Holy Trinity because it is a mystery of our faith.  And yet the doctrine of the Holy Trinity is very important to our spiritual life.  As you come into church before Mass begins you see these Holy Water fonts and the people bless themselves saying the words, “In the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit”. This is a very important prayer.  This is a prayer that involves the Sacramental which is Holy Water and it is the prayer that we begin our spiritual life and helps us as we begin our work of salvation.  We also know that as we come to Mass the Trinity plays a very important part in our Religious service and then at the end of Mass when people are ready to leave church the Priest gives a final blessing and that final blessing is done “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.  And so we know that the most important action of the Roman Catholic Church begins with the Holy Trinity and it ends with the Holy Trinity.  In other words, the Eucharist is the start of the whole Liturgy which is very important for our salvation.  And yet, if you are a Roman Catholic, you realize that part of your spiritual life is the Trinity. When you were Baptized or when your children were Baptized or your grandchildren were Baptized, they were all Baptized, “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. And when you receive Absolution the Priest forgives you your sins by saying, “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” are preparing for death when the priest comes to give you what we used to call the Last Rites, then he anoints you and blesses you “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. Indeed, all of our Sacraments have reference to the Blessed Trinity and so for those of us who are Roman Catholics we celebrate a Feast today that we really don’t understand.  It is beyond our comprehension but nonetheless when we live our faith and activate our faith by coming into church, the final blessing and all the sacraments that we receive then we are proclaiming our believe in the Holy trinity and it is our belief and the Holy trinity that sustains us and all our Sacraments.

 

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