TEXT: Trinity Sunday, May 30, 2021

May 30, 2021 Father De Celles Homily


Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

May 30, 2021

Homily by Fr. John De Celles

St. Raymond of Peñafort Catholic Church

Springfield, VA

In today’s first reading, Moses reminds the Israelites

of all the things the Lord has done for them,

all the great signs and wonders, the freedom he gave them,

and most of all the things he taught them.

And Moses concludes,

“Did anything so great ever happen before? Was it ever heard of?”

Of course the greatest thing God did happened about 1300 years after Moses,

when God send His Son into the world,

who then sent his Spirit into the Church.

And in doing this revealing even greater things never even dreamt about by Moses.

Today we celebrate one of these great revelations

as we celebrate Holy Trinity Sunday,

recalling and celebrating the great mystery and truth

about the inner life of God: that God is one, in three persons:

God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Ask ourselves in wonder,

“Did anything so great ever happen before? Was it ever heard of?”

Because this revelation of the Trinity

is one of the most central and fundamental dogmas of our faith,

as it opens up the mind and heart of God to us,

so we can penetrate ever more deeply into

the truth about God and Man, life and salvation.

St. John tells us “God is love,”

so that in that context we understand that God is

what St. John Paul II called “an interpersonal communion of life and love”

3 persons perfectly, completely and eternally

sharing one life and love—one being.

And in that mystery we also discover something else:

we read in Genesis that God created man in his image,

so we understand that we are created in the image of the Trinitarian God,

created to live, as He or They do:

in interpersonal communion of life and love

with Him and with other human beings.

Of course, we know about the mystery of the Trinity through Sacred Scripture.

For example today’s Gospel tells us to baptize,

“…all nations…in the name of the Father,

and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

And we understand how man is created in the image of the Trinity

through scripture too, for example in Genesis.

But there’s more to it than that.

Jesus hasn’t just left us a book to read about Him and His teachings;

he gave us his apostles and his Church, telling them

“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing

[and] teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

So it’s not just Sacred Scripture

that teaches us about the great mysteries of revelation,

but also the teaching of Jesus handed down and explained

through the teaching of the apostles—what we call Sacred Tradition.

And that Tradition is not just the handing down

of the words Jesus spoke before his Ascension.

As Jesus tells us today, “behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

And He sends the Holy Spirit to make that possible.

As he told the apostles at the last supper:

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.

But when …the Spirit of truth…comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own

…it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you….

And Jesus adds: “[He] will teach you all things

and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Since the first Pentecost, the Holy Spirit has remained with the Church,

leading and guiding us, in union with the apostles and their successors,

to grow in understanding of what Jesus taught

and how it applies to each person and every age.

And guided by the Holy Spirit in the truth,

we have been able to constantly grow in understanding

of the Mystery of perfect love and unity of the Trinity

and the fact that we are created in image of the Trinity

informs the proper Christian, and human, understanding of all of revelation.

And while that understanding has deepened,

the fundamental truths have never changed:

what was true 2000 years ago is true today.

As St. John tells us, Jesus is “the way the truth and the life,”

and as St. Paul adds:

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

So, we understand that the Trinity’s unity in love gives us

the meaning and purpose of marriage and family:

God created them male and female

and immediately commanded them to have children

—mom, dad and child created to be like the Trinity,

an interpersonal communion of life and love,

and the foundation of all other human interpersonal relationships.

And we understand that we must love God and each other,

because that’s how we were created—it’s who we are,

and we will not be happy otherwise.

And we understand that the 10 Commandments,

and all the moral teaching of Christ’s Church,

teach us how to love God and each other:

if we love God we won’t worship other gods,

if we love our neighbor we won’t kill, steal or lie to him.

And we understand the dignity of all human beings:

          that even though we are all created different from each other,

we are all created equally in the image of God,

whether male or female, black or white or brown.

And so we understand we have mutual obligations to each other,

including respecting each other’s personal rights and freedoms,

not because we decided to grant those rights to each other,

but because God himself created us in his image

with those rights and freedoms.

Last week we remembered how the Holy Spirit came to dwell in the Church,

the body of Christ on earth, and guided the Church

“to all truth…” and “taught us all things”

and “remind[ed] [us] of everything [Jesus] said.”

The Holy Spirit is in the Church and so in the world.

But He is not of the world.

And as Jesus also said at the last supper:

“The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him.

 But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”

There is rather a very different spirit both in the world and of the world.

As St. Paul tells us elsewhere:

“What we have received is not the spirit of the world,

but the Spirit who is from God,

so that we may understand what God has freely given us.”

“The Spirit of the world” is  the same as the one Jesus calls

“the prince of the world” and “the ruler of this world”

That is not the Holy Spirit, but the evil spirit.

Not the Spirit of Truth, but the father of lies.

The same spirit who lied to Adam and Eve at the dawn of creation

is alive and well today, lying to their sons and daughters.

Today the “spirit of the world” is manifest in many ways,

but in recent days we see it very powerful in an ideology

that seems to be a mixture of the lies of Modernism and Marxism.

It denies God, and yet claims the power of God.

In fact, it sort of makes Power into a new god.

The power to dictate and define good and evil, right and wrong, love and hate,

in fact, all that we should value or disdain.

This ideology comes in many forms and goes by many names,

but nowadays it identifies and manifests itself in a particularly vile way

in what is called the “woke culture,” or simply “wokism.”

A set of values and principles that claim the power

to condemn and ban what has always been promoted and praised,

and to promote and praise

what has always been condemned and banned.

Preaching love and unity while spewing hate and division.

Calling for truth and dialogue while promoting lies and censorship.

Demanding freedom of the oppressed,

while proceeding to oppress the freedoms we enjoy.

Advocating peace, while embracing violence.

And telling us all to follow the science, while they themselves squelch science

that is inconvenient to their grasp for power,

          for example, the medical facts about life in the womb,

and the biological determination of sexuality and gender.

All the while implementing the Marxist tool of class warfare:

setting groups to fight against each other,

in part to achieve confusion, revolution and ultimately power.

All this diametrically opposed to the Divine and Trinitarian truth

and that God created us for love and communion

with the Trinity and with each other.

And this wokism is not just in the world “out there.”

It is also in our own communities—especially our schools.

I wrote a few weeks ago about how “Critical Race Theory”

has wormed its way into the schools in Fairfax and Loudon Counties

—and schools and universities around the state.

Teaching our kids that racism is embedded in our institutions and culture

—that it is the American way of life.

Teaching racial-minority students to hate all white students,

and teaching white children to hate themselves.

And it’s not just in what we normally think of as “the world”

—it has corrupted the Church as well.

To be very clear: Not the Church as the Body of Christ, guided by the Holy Spirit,

but rather many of the men and women of the church

who, wittingly or unwittingly, have chosen to follow the “spirit of the world.”

And so we find even bishops and cardinals

who are more woke than the most leftist politician,

accepting and promoting all sorts of new doctrines that sound

more like the manifestos of Karl Marx, or Fidel Castro, or Ocasio-Cortez,

than the Teaching of Christ.

But not really new doctrines—they are mostly new versions of

old heresies, lies and sins long ago rejected

by the Holy Spirit guiding the one Church of Jesus Christ.

Not long ago many of these same people, both inside and outside of the Church,

used to tell us that “you can’t legislate morality.”

But now you can: as long as it is the morality of the spirit of the world,

          that leads to the power of few secular elites over the rest of us.

But we do not follow that spirit.

We believe and follow One God, the Father Son and Holy Spirit,

and one holy Catholic and apostolic Church.

We do not look to the spirt of the world,

          but to the Holy Spirit who has, for 2000 years,

“reminded” us what Jesus teaches, and “guided us to all truth.”

We do not follow the Father of Lies, but the Spirit of Truth.

So do not be led astray by those who seek power to control and dictate,

as if they themselves were gods

—whether they come to you in the media, politics, culture, schools,

or even in your family and friends,

or even through the bishops and priests of the Church.

Rather remember the mystery of the Holy Trinity,

which the Father has revealed to us

by the life and teaching of the Son

and through power and grace of their Holy Spirit.

And remember how They revealed to us that we are created to share

in Their unity, their communion of life and love,

with them and with each other.

And let us rejoice as we wonder at this amazing truth, saying,

“Did anything so great ever happen before? Was it ever heard of?”