Solemnity of th Most Holy Trinity
June 16, 2019
Homily by Fr. John De Celles
St. Raymond of Peñafort Catholic Church
Today is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity,
celebrating the most sublime mystery of our faith:
that God is One,
but also three Divine Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We call it a “mystery” because
it is something that we would have never known
if God Himself hadn’t revealed it to us.
And it remains a “mystery” because
it’s something we will never fully understand
because its divine and infinite nature is so far above
our limited human intelligence and experience.
This doesn’t mean it’s irrational or imagined
—no more than brain surgery is irrational or imagined
simply because it isn’t understood by 99.999…% of humanity.
It just means it’s too big for our little brains to wrap around.
But, I also say it’s a “sublime” mystery
because it reveals something amazingly wonderful about God:
that He is a personal communion of three persons
sharing one life and one love.
So that at the heart of God’s very being…who He most truly is,
is this eternal, total, complete, mutual self-gift
between the three Divine Persons in love,
that is at the center of their absolute unity.
And I say it’s “the most” sublime mystery because it is really
the beginning of all meaning in life
and the end to which all life is directed: living in the love of God.
The Bible begins by telling us that we were created
in the image of God.
So that when Jesus reveals that God is a Trinity of Persons
we come to understand that human beings
are created in the image of this amazing Trinitarian love
in order to share in it, both on earth
—by loving God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength,
and loving each other—
and in heaven.
What a glorious Feast.
Today is also, of course, Father’s Day.
It’s great when this secular holiday
falls on the Catholic Holy Day of Trinity Sunday,
because the Trinity is really where Christians come to understand
the true and profound meaning of Fatherhood
Because, in a certain sense the Trinity is a Family:
first there is God the Father
—from whom the Son is eternally begotten,
and from whom, with the Son, the Holy Spirit proceeds.
And today we remember that Divine familial relationship within God
and see that we are created to live and love in the image of God
most fundamentally in human families of father, mother and children.
Now some might say, there’s a problem with this: where’s God the Mother?
Well, first of all, we shouldn’t limit our understanding of the Fatherhood of God
to the human confines of human sexuality—male and female.
God is neither, male nor female,
so God’s “parenthood” is revealed in both Fatherhood and Motherhood,
although differently in each.
So that God can say in Scripture:
that he is [Deut]: “the God who gave you birth.”
and [Isaiah 66:13]: “As a mother comforts her son, so will I comfort you.”.
Even so, nowhere in Scripture does he identify as or call himself “mother”
—he constantly identifies Himself as “Father.”
There are many reasons why he does this.
Perhaps the most fundamental reason for calling himself by the masculine title
is that he calls his people by the feminine title: His “bride” or His “wife”!
This mystery of the divine bridegroom and his bride is full of rich meaning for us.
But at its core it teaches us of the depth and breadth and height
of God’s love for us,
and reveals how he intensely he loves us,
and how intensely we should love him: like spouses love each other.
And it also teaches us the dignity and rich possibilities
of the love of a husband and wife, father and mother,
as they share in and reflect in a fundamental and unique way
the love that is at the heart of the Trinity.
Still another reason God reveals himself as Father
is that it shows us in a powerful and irrefutable way
the essential importance and role of human fathers in human families.
If God is Father, how can any family be all it was created to be
without its own human father?
And how can human fathers think they’re not important to their families,
to their wives and children?
And how can families think that fathers are unimportant?
And how can society deny the societal importance of fatherhood?
And yet today, that is exactly what is happening.
In the America today,
more than 34% of all babies born are born to absentee fathers,
and 43% of children live in fatherless homes.
What would you expect when for 50 years so many forces in society,
including the Marxist-left, radical feminists, and LGBTQ activists,
have tried to convince us that fathers are not necessary to the family.
All this in spite of the fact that statistics show the devastating effects
of fatherless homes on society:
90% of homeless and runaway children
are from fatherless homes;
as are 71% of pregnant teenagers;
63% of youth suicides;
71% of high school dropouts;
and 85% of youths in prisons.
Fathers are absolutely important to their children—and to their wives.
The facts prove that
…and the revelation of the Fatherhood of God shows us why.
It’s because that’s the way God made us:
to share in the His mystery of the life and love of the Trinitarian Family,
by sharing in the mystery of the human family of
father, mother and children.
Does that mean that a family can’t survive and even flourish
without a father or a mother or even children?
Or does this demean heroic single mothers who are trying their best
to raise their children alone?
Or does it mean that there’s something wrong with children
who don’t have a father active in their lives?
Of course not, absolutely not.
But are we better off with only a mother and not a father?
We might as well ask are we better off with only one arm,
or with two arms and no legs?
In the same way, every family is way better off
if it functions as God designed it to: with both a mother and a father.
But not just any father.
The Fatherhood of God teaches us
that fathers are meant to be good fathers to their families.
Fatherhood has a dignity all its own, rooted in the dignity of God’s fatherhood.
But the Trinitarian mystery reveals
that the dignity of fatherhood always exists in relation
to the equal dignity of each member of the family:
God the Son (Jesus) is equal to God the Father,
even as Jesus is obedient to His Father.
And so, even as fathers and husbands lead their families,
they must always respect the dignity and importance
of each member of the family.
And at the core of this respect, at the core of being a good father,
is the same thing that’s at the core of the Trinitarian mystery: love.
To be a true father, as God created you, is to love.
And not to love as you feel like loving, but to love as God the Father loves.
And how does God the Father love?
Look around you: look at all you have,
your jobs, your houses, the sun shining outside,
your good health, and your wives and children.
God the Father gave you all that.
But then also look at every single beat of your heart,
and at every breath you take.
God also gives you those: he is always there, at every moment, caring for you.
That’s how a true father loves his children:
always there, always giving everything he can for the good of his children.
Now, note I said, “for the good of his children.”
We ask God for things all the time,
a lot of which he doesn’t give us because he loves us
and he knows it’s either it’s bad for us or he has something better in mind.
Human fathers have to do the same thing.
Sorry kids, but Dads, you should not give your children everything they want;
but you should strive to give them everything they really need,
and everything that you can that is truly good for them.
Is spoiling your children good for them? No!
Is letting them do whatever they want good for them? No!
Is never correcting them or discipling them good for them? No!
As Scripture tells us:
“the LORD disciplines those he loves,
as a father [disciplines] the son he delights in.”
That’s how God the Father loves, and that’s the way human fathers should love.
But we find the greatest way to understand the love of God the Father
in the words of Jesus on the night before he died:
“the father and I are one….
he who has seen me has seen the Father.”
We see what God the Son does, and we see how God the Father loves:
like Father, like Son.
And so we see the love of a good father as Christ sacrifices
everything on the Cross out of love for his bride and his children.
And we see that same love as he comes back to be with them in the resurrection,
and as He keeps His promise:
“I will not leave you orphans… Behold, I am with you always.”
The Dogma of Most Holy Trinity,
is the most sublime mystery of our faith:
that God is One, but also three Divine Persons
sharing one life and one love.
In this time of social upheaval and attempts to corrupt family life,
and specifically the degradation of fatherhood and husband-hood,
this great mystery reveals and reminds us
of the absolute importance of fathers to God’s plan
for the good of the family and the salvation of mankind.
As we now enter into more deeply the mystery of this Holy Mass,
and are drawn more profoundly into
the Communion of life and love of God the Father, Son and Spirit,
let us beg the Blessed Trinity to shower graces on the families of the world,
and especially all fathers, and most especially our own fathers.
By the grace of this Most Blessed sacrament
may God the Father, through the sacrifice of God the Son,
and the working of the Holy Spirit
renew in us a profound respect for the twofold blessing we celebrate today:
the most sublime mystery of the Most Holy Trinity,
and the great dignity and importance of family and fatherhood.