Unity in Lynnwood, WA
Solemnity of the Holy Trinity, in the Roman Catholic Church
Readings - Roman Catholic Church
First reading Deut 4:32-34,39-40
Second reading Rom 8:14-17
Gospel Matthew 28:16-20
The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they all saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."
Sermon - Fr. Dan Duval
Last week, we celebrated Pentecost. For those unfamiliar with the Catholic Church or the Christian celebration, Pentecost is the remembrance of Jesus breathing the Holy Spirit, depicted as tongues of fire, onto the apostles before he was to leave their presence. This use of breath to impart energy to another being is a practice as old as time. Shamans both present day and of old used this technique to share specific vibrations, to return health or broken parts of someone to themselves. Humans have been using this way of mingling with each other on a deep level as long as humans have been in existence.
This Sunday, today, is the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity, in which the Gospel has Jesus speaking these words “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,”
Both last week at Pentecost and this week in the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity, Jesus is asking the apostles to go forth. He is asking both times for them to go to people of ALL nations. He is not saying, stay home and believe, he is saying, go tell EVERYONE. He is not saying, stay here in Jerusalem or only go to Bethany. He is saying go “make disciples of ALL nations”.
Last week at Pentecost we heard that the apostles were given the gift of tongues. This has been interpreted as the ability to speak to a language other than their own. It is said that those present, even from different nations were able to hear the message in their own language. Instead of relegating this “gift of the Spirit” to some miraculous ability to speak in different languages perhaps what is more important is that Jesus’s message is meant for everyone, not just those who are in the inner circle or speak the same language. Last week’s Gospel tells us that everyone was able to hear the message in their own language. Everyone was able to hear and understand.
The Trinity, as explained by Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault and other modern mystics, is about relationship. We are told that this fluid, creative and powerful relationship between God, Incarnate man and the Spirit that exists in all things is the substance of every aspect of our lives. We are relational beings. We are herd animals, not meant to live in isolation, which is why solitary confinement is seen as such a terrible punishment. Even the early hermits, the desert fathers and mothers had other hermits to be in relationship with.
We are also in relationship with people, animals, the dirt of the earth, the stars in the sky and everything we see. We do not exist in isolation. That Divine spark which created all of us, is in all of creation. As we move through life, we interact with God or that Divine Spark in all that we do. Every breath we take, every bite of food we eat, every step we take, every chair we sit on etc, and I could go on infinately because there is no place to be without God being there with us. But how do we remember this?
How do we become aware of this in our lives? Thich Nhat Hahn, the well known Vietnamese Buddhist Monk gives us the concept of Mindfulness bells. He tells us that in Buddhist tradition the bell is a reminder to stop, breathe and become deeply aware of the present moment. What can we use as reminders in our daily lives to stop and consider what the present moment is mirroring for us? Even if we can not decipher it with our thinking, our body will know and file it for us to utilize when necessary. The flow continues whether we are aware of it or not and it is part of us.
Both at Pentecost and in todays celebration of the Trinity; Father/Mother God, Son and Holy Spirit; the message is the same. And that message may be that Jesus was talking to and teaching global truths to all. The message was not only for those select few, but for all people, everywhere and in all times. Love your neighbor and love persons from further away who may not be like you. Do not discriminate or hold onto the knowledge that was given because ALL people are worthy of it and all people possess that Divine Spark within themselves. We are born with it. We can not escape it. It doesn’t disappear if we make a mistake or do something that is considered “wrong”. It doesn’t disappear if our marriage fails or we end a pregnancy, don’t make it to church, or break the rules of society.
How then, do we utilize this relationship? How do we understand this inclusivity ordained by God, demonstrated by Jesus and living within us as a flowing energy of Spirit? We then are also mirrors for others of this gift. We remind others and are reminded by all of creation that we are all important parts of this in-exhaustive whole. We are mirrors of self forgiveness and grace. God does not forgive since God never had an issue with us in the first place. Forgiveness comes when one feels wronged. God does not feel wronged by us and loves us even when we need to forgive ourselves. God gave us each other to teach us to love ourselves and for us to offer that gift to others. God gave us creation to nurture us. How many times when we feel we have no human connection can we find solace in a sunset or wet puppy kisses? How often do we wonder at a flower or the power of the ocean. All is there for US! Each one of us!
This relationship continues to flow. The fire of Pentecost runs through our bodies. We become recipient and giver of the gifts of God. We are God, the Creator, God the Sanctifier, and God the Redeemer for all of creation!