Trinity Sunday Year B

Sunday, May 27, 2018
Fr. Jon
Homily transcription: 

Trinity Sunday / B

May 26-27, 2018
St. Thomas Aquinas, Ames, Iowa
Fr. Jon Seda
At all Masses this weekend, we bless our high school graduates as they step into the next chapter of their lives.  It makes me think back to when I was a high school graduate about a million years ago.  If there is one word that would have described me back then, it would be confused.  Actually, that also applies to me today!  I was accepted at Iowa State, the only school I applied to.  I was to study ag business because I wanted to be a hog buyer.  Some days I still fantasize about this!  But a series of events in my life shifted my plans, and I started to wonder if God was calling me to something different.  So in April of that year, I applied to Loras College in Dubuque, which was a great decision for me.
Today's feast of the Trinity speaks to the revealed truth of who God is.  It is beyond the capacity of our finite minds to understand this, and it is mystery.  So this week I have been thinking about how our high school graduates, or any of us, come to know God.
For many of us, as kids our parents dragged us to Mass every Sunday.  In my family, this was non-negotiable.  Mass in my home parish was really, really boring, but I was required to be there.  Even more distressing is that my parish did not have coffee and donuts.  But after Mass took longer than Mass, and looking back I see that I was surrounded by many really great saints.  Then here at St. Thomas Aquinas, we also have faith formation and youth ministry that assists the parents, who are the primary catechists of their children.  I am happy that we are able to offer more than most parishes.
But there comes a point in life when we have to make our faith our own.  We have to make a personal decision about what is important to us.  How does this happen?
Catholicism has traditionally emphasized the truth of faith.  I am old enough to grow up with the Baltimore Catechism, where we memorized question and answers.  This was good but not complete.  It did set the stage for a personal relationship the Lord.  Our Catholic Church has a rich and beautiful intellectual tradition, and this is good and needed.
But to make the faith our own, the only way I know how to do this is to fall in love. Love is the clearest way we come to truly know someone, whether it be a person or the Lord himself.  St. Thomas Aquinas taught that we only love what we know, and we only know what we love.  This is a profound truth.  We have to love God in order to know God.  We really don't think ourselves into faith, but if we are open and listening, God comes to us.  He takes the first step toward us, and he seizes us.  To truly know the Lord and not just about the Lord, we have to fall in love.
St. Paul talks about this in the second reading.  He tells the Romans: Those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.  For we did not receive a spirit of slavery, but a Spirit of adoption, through whom we cry, "Abba!  Father!"
Paul says this from his own life experience.  He did not think his way into faith.  He was seized by Jesus, who took the first step toward him.  And this changed everything in his life.  Then notice the term he uses for God.  It is not a formal, distant one that would have been common among Jews like Paul. Instead he calls God Abba, which means Daddy, Papa.  It is a term of endearment and expresses great love.
Love is a way to truth, and a way to deep knowledge.  A lovely expression of this comes from Fr. Pedro Arrupe who led the worldwide Jesuits until 1983 and was a very holy man.  In a famous writing, we speaks of how love shapes our loves, and how to we come to know God.  He says:
"Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way.  What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.  Fall in love.  Stay in love.  And it will decide everything."