Saturday, June 1, 2013

In Marriage We Imitate the Trinity

Even though Trinity Sunday was a week ago, I thought I would publish this to support everyone living the holy vocation of Marriage:

The celebration of the Most Holy Trinity is a celebration of love.  The important thing is not that we try to understand the Mystery of God as Trinity.  We don’t have the capacity to grasp the fullness of the Mystery.  As the Lord continually draws us in more and more, the important thing is that we are open to what God is trying to show us.  What is God modeling for us to imitate?  When we enter into the Mystery of the Trinity, we notice that God is a communion of persons.  And the principle characteristic of this communion of persons is love.

We imitate the Trinity when we participate in a communion of love.  A very good example of this is the communion of husband and wife.  In the communion of marriage, husband and wife are imitating God as a communion of persons.  Living out the sacrament of marriage gives praise to God as it is lived out because it follows his pattern of self-giving love.  Those of you who are married would agree that it is a self-giving, sacrificial love.  We see the sacrificial love of the Son for the Father every time we look at the crucifix.  It’s not a love of emotion, or a romantic feeling, but one of full self-giving.  God has revealed himself as an eternal exchange of love.  We are called to imitate that exchange of love in sacrificial ways carrying our crosses for the good of others.  Jesus did that for love of the Father.

Because it is a self-giving love, it is a fruitful love.  Some say that the love of the Father and Son is so fruitful that the love between them is the person of the Holy Spirit.  Notice how married love is also a fruitful love, bringing about new life.  That love becomes incarnate.  It is a generative love.  New human life becomes the symbol of the fruitful love of husband and wife.

Of course we know that the evil one will not miss any chance to attack our loving God.  So the evil one attacks married love because it so well represents God himself, a communion of persons.  It is difficult to pass a single hour, let alone an entire day, without seeing an attack on married love, the great symbol of God himself.  Pornography is an industry of several billion dollars, perfect for weakening married love.  Crude humor distorts the beauty of the human body in order to boost ratings for the radio station during their morning drive time.  State governments redefine marriage into something it cannot possibly be.  This list of attacks on married love could go on and on.
The Christian does not give in to afflictions but boasts in them as St. Paul says in his letter to the Romans.  He points out that these afflictions yield endurance.  Endurance leads to proven character which leads to hope; and hope does not disappoint.

These are not only attacks on God himself but on his entire plan for humanity.  Without strong, sacrificial, fruitful married love, the family dissolves.  As families dissolve and crumble, so society as a whole dissolves and crumbles.  Without the family, there is little chance of hearing the good news of Christ and being formed in light of it.

 A 14th century theologian once pointed out that we experience the sweetness of the Trinity within us in proportion as we are conformed to it.  If the essence of the Trinity is sacrificial love, we must love sacrificially.  We must cherish the divine image in each of us most attentively.

What else is there?  That means we strive for purity of heart.  In purity of heart, we make room for the Trinity to be active in our lives.

The Trinity is active love.  We are called to imitate that active love.  We are designed to share ourselves.  As we share ourselves, we build up the Kingdom of God.

I’ll close with a quote I heard on Catholic radio just the other day:  The essential thing about family is not that parents have children, but that children have parents.

Corpus Christi - Sunday Homily

The Gospel sets up for us a real nice contrast between what we can do on our own without God and what we can do with Him.  In the Gospel, the apostles can do very little to feed the crowd.  When Jesus commands, “Give them some food yourselves,” they notice all they have are five loaves and two fish.  This wouldn’t be enough for a dozen people.  But with the supernatural power of God, they are able to feed 5,000.

Even as cool as this miracle was, it’s not the real miracle the Lord would eventually do.  These people would be hungry again the next day.  This miracle was good, but was still of finite value.  The real miracle would come at the Last Supper when the Lord would give his own body, blood, soul and divinity for the salvation of the world.  He would give a divine, supernatural food that lasts.  He would give his disciples liquid love to change their hearts that would set them on a path for eternal life.  What we do on our own does not even compare with what God can do. 

Without God, we can have a nice little memorial meal with bread and wine.  With God, the sacrifice of his Son on the Cross is made present for us.  We eat the body and drink the blood of the God-Man who saves us.

Without God we can get a maximum of about 100 years of life.  And one of the psalms tells us most of these are emptiness and pain.  With God, we get eternal life of complete fulfillment that we can’t even imagine.  John Paul II reminds us that the sacrifice of the Body and Blood is what brings about our destiny for eternal life.  With God we share the life of Christ now, and we share in his life forever.

Without God, we eat food that nourishes the body.  And since the body doesn’t last, this food is of finite value.  With God, the Eucharistic food of his body and blood nourishes the soul.  And since the soul is immortal, this Eucharistic food is of infinite value.

Without God, the food we eat becomes part of us.  We started out as small babies, and as we were nourished with food, we became larger.  With God, we become what we receive.  We become divinized.  We become more and more like him by feeding on Him.

Let’s imagine two rivers coming together.  One river is crystal clear, and the other river is muddy.  In the natural world, the two rivers come together and of course, the new river they form is muddy.  Imagine though the crystal clear river making the water of the muddy river crystal clear also.

Without God, the body decays.  With God, we are destined for the resurrection.

Our Eucharistic roots can be traced way back to the Old Testament.  We hear about Melchizedek in our first reading and Psalm today.  He brought out bread and wine and blessed Abram.  Like Christ, he had a priesthood that would last forever.

Also in the Old Testament, we know the story of the first Passover.  We may recall that God asked Moses to have the Israelites put lamb’s blood on their doorposts.  Without God, this is blood of an irrational beast making the doorposts kind of nasty and stinky, probably drawing lots of flies.  With God’s power, that lamb’s blood was used as His means to free His people from slavery.  With God, it’s a sign of the Lord’s blood that will be shed for us to save us and free us from our slavery to sin.

St. John Chrysostom asks, if the angel of death saw the lamb’s blood on those doors and did not dare to enter, how much less will the devil approach us now that he sees not a figurative blood on our doors, but the true blood of the Son of God on our lips?

As we enter into these sacred mysteries, we receive an abundance of grace.  Let’s participate with that grace so that we may appreciate the gift of the Eucharist that it truly is, the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus.  And may our lives conform to the mysteries that we receive.