27 May 2018
Trinity Sunday & Memorial Day Weekend
•• Deuteronomy 4:32-34 •• Psalm 33 •• Romans 8:14-17 •• + Matthew 28:16-20 ••
Title: “Trinity. 3 to 1 Odds. / Memorial Day”
[__01__] In my senior year of college, I had one, final opportunity – last chance – though at long odds to make the college soccer team.
I was a longshot. The thoroughbred horse, “Good Magic” – at the Preakness Stakes horse race – was a longshot to win to beat “Justify”. My odds were no better.
Though a longshot, I thought it was a worthwhile endeavor and I had improved over the past 2 years. I wanted to be part of this team, to make this team.
[__02__] I bring this up because this is Trinity Sunday. But, in this case the odds are already better than 3 to 1 in our favor.
By our baptism, and by the sign of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we also become part of one body, one church.
In a 2009 homily, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI compares the trinity to our spiritual-genome. (Reference: Benedict XVI, Angelus, June 7, 2009)
Pope Benedict: [In] the Most Holy Trinity … as Jesus introduced us to it … He revealed to us that God is love "not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one substance" (Preface). He is the Creator and merciful Father; he is the Only-Begotten Son, eternal Wisdom incarnate, who died and rose for us; he is the Holy Spirit who moves all things, cosmos and history, toward their final, full recapitulation. Three Persons who are one God because the Father is love, the Son is love, the Spirit is love. The strongest proof that we are made in the image of the Trinity is this: love alone makes us happy because we live in a relationship, and we live to love and to be loved. Borrowing an analogy from biology, we could say that imprinted upon his "genome", the human being bears a profound mark of the Trinity, of God as Love.
[__03__] To be part of God’s mission, to be God’s missionary to our world, to be part of the Trinity, Jesus was called to both a DECISION and a DENIAL.
That is, as the Son of God and as our Savior, he decided to identify himself, he carried the cross on our behalf, even if – after 3 years of the mission and after Good Friday – it seemed that he had not succeeded.
Jesus, as the Son of God, humbled himself to die for our sins. But, this involved a denial, a denial of success, comfort, fame, in material terms.
[__04__] Isn’t it true that our most intimate and loving relationships call us to both DECISION and DENIAL. We are called, at times, to postpone our own comfort for a greater good, for a relationship.
As a member of the Trinity, Jesus even had to accept that he would leave – physically – the disciples and that the Holy Spirit would come and finish the mission.
This is, often, an act of self-denial for you and for me, to recognize that our work – our words – may be incomplete or insufficient.
But, we pray – as we read in Romans 8:28 – that all things work together for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.
Trust – or trusting in God – means that we put aside our own agendas and objectives.
[__05__] Regarding my longshot – long odds – status and so-called candidacy for the soccer team, I did not make the team. A short time later, I became a report for the college newspaper and was writing about the team, their wins, losses and games. While this writing job was not what I had tried out for, I did feel connected to and part of the team. It was a moment of both DENIAL and DECISION for me, while accepting a new blessing.
[__06__] The Trinity reminds us of the beauty of self-denial.
This weekend, and this coming final Monday of May is also our United States Memorial Day
General Douglas MacArthur – in 1952 ? – in a farewell address both to soldiers and to the student-cadets of U.S. Military Academy at West Point spoke to the military – and to the country – about the important values of DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY.
And, on Memorial Day, we give things for those who have defended our country not because they were perfect but because they were prepared and because they understood these values of DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY.
General MacArthur summarized what DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY as a code are meant to do – “They build your character. They make you strong enough to know when you are weak and brave enough to face yourself when you are afraid.”
For a solider is the “lever which binds together the entire fabric of our system of defense”.
This does not mean, General MacArthur wrote, that the solider is a warmonger. On the contrary, the solider among all others, prays for peace.
Do we not also pray for peace?
The solider among all others, prays for peace, but he must suffer the deepest wounds and scars of war.
[__07__] Lord – of all of our hopefulness – we pray that your blessed trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – bring both honor and healing to those have denied themselves for our country and that our own efforts of self-sacrifice may remind us that you are always among us, that we may know you and that your will may be done in our lives.[__fin__]