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Bishop's Homily for Trinity Sunday

June 12, 2022

[St. Joseph Church, Makawao]

Some years ago I led a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  I was shopping for a gift at an icon shop, and I selected the icon I wanted.  The shopkeeper was a Muslim, and he could see I was a priest, so he said to me, “That one is the Holy Trinity.  What’s the Holy Trinity?”  I only had a couple of minutes before the bus was leaving, so I knew my answer had to be quick.  I said, “It is one God, but three persons in one God, a community of love.”  And he looked at me, puzzled, and said, “So they don’t fight?”  I said, “No, they don’t fight.  They are a community of perfect love.”

We celebrate this Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity once a year on the Sunday after Pentecost, but the Holy Trinity is a reality that is a part of our faith every day.  One of my pet peeves, I must admit, is the way some people – even some priests – are so sloppy about making the Sign of the Cross.  “I’ name ofda Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”  I think this is an indication that we are not very aware of how the Holy Trinity is in our everyday lives.

There is so much discord today on many fronts.  It used to be that Republicans and Democrats had slightly different points of view, but could work together.  Now it seems they are bitter enemies and competitors.  A priest wrote lately of how mean and demanding people have become in their criticisms of him and his staff, and how entitled people feel.  Teachers and parents used to work together, but now in too many cases they see each other as rivals.  Despite our heightened awareness of different races and cultures, there seem to be more and more conflicts among them instead of greater harmony.  Even among pro-life people, there are factions, some thinking that if you do not see things exactly as they do, you must not be pro-life.  Family members are often at odds with each other rather than supporting each other and accepting each person as valued and loved.

What is the antidote to all of this conflict?  I believe we need to be more aware of the One in whose image and likeness we are made, the God who is three persons in one God, who is a community of everlasting love.  We often think of the Trinity as an esoteric theological concept that has very little to do with our real lives, but it is not so at all.  If we took more time to reflect on this perfect community of love, we ourselves would become a more perfect community of love, living according to our deepest identity.

When we are baptized, something amazing happens.  We are immersed, soaked, baptized into a Name, “in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”  And then we are given the mission to go out and baptized, soak the whole world in this Holy Name of the Trinity, so that all will know who they truly are.  It is by keeping this noble and high calling in mind that we will be able to love even those who are different from us, to work toward greater harmony among us, to eliminate whatever divisions there may be among us, always living in the truth.  We may even be able to love our enemies, as Jesus commanded us to do!  But first we must meditate on this perfect community of love that we have the privilege to be immersed in.  Once we realize that such a perfect community of love is not just for God, but is the very image in which God made us, all our divisions will cease.  We may still disagree with one another; we may still be very different from each other.  But we will be better able to live this beautiful reality of being a community of love.

And so, we should never do this sloppily or without thinking, but every day, we should begin and end and mark the hours of the day with the simple reflection on the Holy Trinity so that we, too, can become the community of love we are called to be.  And so we remind ourselves about this reality that is so easy to forget by signing ourselves with the sign of our salvation, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”