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Bishop's Homily for Trinity Sunday

June 11, 2017

Trinity Sunday, Year A – June 10, 2017
[St. Rita Church, Nanakuli (Confirmation)]

I was once in Jerusalem and was shopping for gifts to take back home.  I went into a shop that sold icons, and I found one of the Trinity, so I bought it.  The shopkeeper, who was Muslim, said, “That’s the Trinity,” and seeing that I was a priest, he asked, “What’s the Trinity?”  I looked at my watch and saw that I had only five minutes until the bus was to leave, so I had to answer quickly.  I said, “There is one God, but in the one God there are three distinct persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit -- who love each other, without  beginning and without end.”  He then asked, with astonishment, “And they don’t fight?”  I said, “No, they don’t fight.”  He could hardly imagine three persons living together for all eternity without occasionally having a spat or two.  And, of course, he lived in an atmosphere where three major religions lived together, but, unfortunately, had been fighting with each other for centuries.

We live in a world that is very divided today.  It seems, for example, that Republicans and Democrats are almost committed to fighting with each other.  There are divisions among races and nations that we all lament.  There are divisions and conflicts within families, and even among parishes, one thinking it is better than another, rather than realizing they are involved in the same mission in different ways.  And it is because of all these divisions and hostilities in the human family that it is so important to celebrate the Holy Trinity.

This is the ultimately community of unity in diversity, where each person is distinct, yet there is no fighting or conflict among them.  And it is this ideal that is stamped into the very heart of every human being, who longs for peace and harmony with all.  But who would know, unless there are some of us who specifically focus on this reality of the Holy Trinity and not only celebrate it here in church, but live the reality wherever we go?  God so loved the world that he sent us his only Son, and he continues to love the world by sending his beloved people, who are members of his Son, united in the Holy Spirit, so that this perfect love of God can be manifested concretely in the world.  As he once sent his Son, so now he sends us to heal a broken world by showing this perfect love of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

How can we make such a claim, we who are so weak and who have our own divisions among us?  Only by the power of the Holy Spirit, who enables us to do far more than we can ever imagine.  God gives us this grace in a special way in the sacrament of Confirmation, not because he loves us more than he loves the rest of humanity, but so that we who experience his love can manifest it to the rest of humanity. 

Often in Confirmation, you take a new name, the name of a saint you admire and would like to imitate.  And that is a noble thing to try to live as these friends of the Lord lived.  Yet do you realize that when you were baptized, you received an even greater name?  It was not just your own personal name, but you were baptized, immersed, soaked in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  This is an awesome fact and an incredible gift that God gives us by sharing with us his own name, which signifies a perfectly harmonious community.  If we really understood what a wonderful gift this is, and lived with this understanding, it will be life changing not only for us but for the whole world.  We would become who we truly are.  This is how God so loves the world, that he sent his Son, and now he sends us in his own name to immerse the entire world in this wonderful, harmonious communion of One God in three Persons.