Saturday, May 29, 2010

Declaring (30 May 2010, Trinity Sunday)

This is my homily for 30 May 2010, Trinity Sunday. On-campus Mass at Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) Teaneck, NJ resumes 7:30 p.m. Sunday August 29 for the 2010-2011 school year. I am the Catholic chaplain for the community and FDU Newman Catholic Association.

To view the readings, go to and click “May 30” in the calendar

[__01.] This is Trinity Sunday.

And, the Good News of this Trinity Sunday is that Jesus – who is not passing through customs but crossing another border, from death to new life - declares what he has and who he is.

And, Jesus is declaring and handing over the Holy Spirit to his disciples, and to you and me:
“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.” (John 16:15)

”I declare it to you”.

[__02.] At the airport – Newark or JFK – we declare things; and, then, we are asked about what we declared, as we go through immigration, customs, and Homeland Security.

And, we anticipate these questions, based on what we declare. We are asked certain questions about the money in our wallets, the purpose of our trip, where we visited …

Anticipating these questions, we might be tempted not to declare too much.

Would anyone know the difference or catch me? We might be able to get through the airport, onto the turnpike and home more quickly – if we conceal and do not declare too much.

[__03.] Yet, we are also called to imitate Christ’s generosity.

We are aware that declaring ourselves is a risk. It is difficult to keep all of our commitments.

[__04.] In any relationship, we have the freedom to:

• To hide our lamps; or, to display our lamps;
• As we hear in the Sermon on the Mount, to hide our lamps under a bushel basket or to display our lamps. (cf. Matthew 5:14-16)

These lamps – these lights -- symbolize our gifts, talents, affections – and, sometimes, we are tempted to conceal them.

[__05.] We conceal them because the payoff (reward) for taking them out is not what we want.

For example, do I really want to DECLARE – and show affection or love for someone in my class, for someone on my school bus, for someone I know, for someone everyone else rejects … well, where is the reward in that?

And, do I really want to DECLARE – to show affection or love or patience for someone who is not patient with me.

These are reasons not to declare ourselves.

[__06.] And, we become – I become – concerned with my TIME, my SCHEDULE, my COMFORT …

However, in a truly loving and committed relationship, we are called to declare as Christ himself does and gives his life to us.

And, when we declare ourselves, we will be SEARCHED, QUESTIONED, and TESTED ….

I’m not suggesting that your parents or family or spouse will conduct a “full-body scan” or “lie-detector test”.

Really, that is up to you and me.

In other words, we are called to examine ourselves.

With the help of the Holy Spirit, we are called to examine our own lives for honesty, integrity, love. In this way, we declare ourselves.

[__07.] In such relationships, we are pushed to the border, not to the border between countries, but to the border of patience and sacrifice in our hearts.

[__08.] And, we might be repaid in a way that we do not expect.

As Paul writes to the Corinthians:

“Eye has not seen, ear has not heard nor has it so much as dawned on man what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

And, Paul goes on to write…. Yet, God has revealed to us this wisdom through the [Holy] Spirit. (1 Corinthians 2:10)

[__09.] MEMORIAL DAY - Also, this Memorial Day weekend, we remember and pray for those who declared themselves on our behalf, who gave their lives in wartime, far from home, or close to home. We pray for those who have died in service to our country.

We pray also for those who have been injured and declared their lives for us.

[__10.] The Trinity reminds us that our relationships are not 2-way transactions or the exchange of US $ Dollars for Euros.

That is, we do not simply declare ourselves so as to get something back.

Jesus says this in his declaration, giving up his life, his Holy Spirit for our benefit.

And, Jesus also does all of this freely and invites us to do the same.

[__11.] In the Trinity we see the connection between giving and receiving.

We see the desire of Jesus to give his life as God the Father asks him. And, we see the desire of the Holy Spirit which inspires Jesus to service.

And, in this way, we learn about the command to love God and love our neighbor.

Loving God and loving our neighbor is not simply a commandment. It is also what we freely declare. [__end_]

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