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Monday, May 23, 2016

THE FATHER AND I ARE ONE

Sermon by Rev. John Paul Shea
The Most Holy Trinity, May 22, 2016
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Tucson, AZ

This Sunday our Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity -- One God in three Persons -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Today’s celebration holds a deep place in my heart. 

I am a convert to Catholicism and was raised and baptized Mormon. I was very involved with the Mormon Church as a child. It was not until God called me to be Catholic several years later that I learned to understand the most important teachings of our Christian faith, including the significance of the Holy Trinity. 

The Mormon Church does not believe in the Trinity. Mormons believe in God the Father, and in Jesus His Son, and the Holy Spirit, but they do not believe that the Father, Son, and Spirit are one and the same God in three Persons. The Mormon Church believes that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are separate beings. Therefore, even though I was baptized Mormon at the age of eight years old, I had to be re-baptized as Catholic because the Mormon Church does not baptize in the name of the Most Holy Trinity.

I can remember that as I went through the
Fr. John Paul Shea
Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) to become Catholic that it was as if I had already known in my heart that God is a Trinitarian Being even though I had not been formally taught such.

I can remember that as I learned about the Trinity that I searched the scriptures and read the many passages that relate to the triune Godhead. For example, I looked at the beginning of the Gospel of John where it teaches us that the Word, who is Jesus, was with God, that the Word was God, and that this Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us (John 1:1). 

I read further into the Gospel of John where Our Lord relates that the Father is in Him and that He is in the Father… Our Lord says, “Believe in me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (John 14:11). Our Lord says that the Father and He are One (John 10:30), and He says that the Father will send the Holy Spirit in His name to teach us all things and guide us to all Truth, as we heard in today’s Gospel passage (John 16:12-15). 

I read Saint Paul’s letter to the Colossians where it says Jesus is the "image of the invisible God” and the "firstborn of all creation.” Not only that, but Jesus is “before all things” and that through Him all things were created! (Colossians 1:15-17).

And I looked at the miracles of Our Lord Jesus during His time on earth. He walked on water. He controlled the weather. He forgave sins, and He cured people. Our Lord did these things because the mighty power of God was in Him. 

My brothers and sisters, the Holy Trinity, that God is one God in three Persons, is a central belief of our faith! In fact, there have been many Christians who have been persecuted and martyred for belief in the Trinity!

It is through the Trinity that we Christians are able to share in the very life of God. It is through Our Lord Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit that we receive Him in the Holy Eucharist. If God was not a Trinitarian God, then we would have no Eucharist! If we did not have a Trinitarian God, then Our Lord would not have had the power to breathe the  Holy Spirit upon His apostles after the Resurrection.  When He did that, He gave them -- His priests -- the ability to forgive sins.
 
Today’s solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity teaches us that our God is a God of relationship! He is a Community of Persons!

Our God is huge and incomprehensible. Our God, Whom no eye has seen and no ear has heard, is a God of love. And in His love, He has made His dwelling among us through His Son Jesus Christ. Through Jesus Christ, He has given us the Holy Spirit making us His
children by adoption! It is through the Holy Trinity that we share in the very life of God!

Yet, let us be reminded, that if we want to share in the life of God for all eternity, we must take to heart the salvation that has been won for us through the death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ!

Even though Jesus is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity; even though He is in the very form of God; even though He is the imprint of God’s very being, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death -- even death on a cross! (2 Philippians 2:5-8). 

Therefore, brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge the significance of the Holy Trinity in the life of our Catholic faith. As the world indulges itself in materialism, let us
follow Jesus Christ in humility so that we can live with Him in the love of His Father through the gift of the Holy Spirit for all eternity.


"Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.”

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