Homily for Trinity Sunday
June 16, 2019
Made for Community
Understanding the Trinity isn’t easy. But you know what else isn’t easy? Family life. And the two ideas – the Trinity and the family – are very closely related!
The Trinity is a community of life and love, just as a family is a community of life and love. In the Trinity, the Father loves the Son so intensely that their love begets the Holy Spirit. In a family, the father and mother love each other so intensely that their love begets children.
But you may say, “Oh, my family looks nothing like the Trinity! You should see the mess in my living room!” Before you despair of having a family that reflects the beauty of the Trinity, let’s look at some lessons that the Trinity can teach us about our own families!
First, the Trinity is a community of self-giving love. Jesus says in Scripture, “I come, not to do my own will, but the will of My Father.” And in today’s Gospel, He says that “everything the Father has is Mine”. And they do not keep the Holy Spirit to themselves; no, they pour out the Third Person of the Trinity upon us human beings.
Likewise, our families will only be peaceful and happy with a love that sacrifices for others. In my family growing up, we were great about keeping score – I always knew whose turn it was to do dishes, so that if it was my sister’s turn, I wouldn’t let her off the hook! A father of one of our parish families was telling me that his six kids have a whole system about who gets the last piece of pie or cookie – they keep track so that if Johnny got the last cookie last time, then this last piece of cake will go to Suzie this time. (I admire their organizational skills to remember whose turn it is!).
But a love that sacrifices says, “Hey, it’s my turn to have the last piece of pie, but I know you really love it, so you can have it.” Self-giving love says, “Yes, I didn’t make the mess, but I will help you clean it up anyway.” The Trinity is a community of self-giving love – your family can be, as well!
Second, the Trinity each has a role to play. The Father is the Creator, the Son died on the Cross to save us, and the Holy Spirit dwells in our souls to sanctify us. They work together to accomplish their plan to make creation holy.
In the same way, every family member has a role to play in building up the family. If you are a student, it means being the best student you can be. If you are a stay-at-home parent, it means doing the domestic chores to the best of our ability. If you work to support your family, it means that we seek to excel at work out of love for our family.
Finally, the Trinity shows us that we must look outside of ourselves. The Trinity wasn’t content just to exist in eternal bliss – God wanted to pour His love on others, so He created us!
In the same way, holy families should be a light to their neighborhoods, schools, and communities. I know a family where the parents are always encouraging their kids to invite their friends to come to Mass with them – and they often show up at Mass with a few more kids in tow! I know a family in Stamford who has taken a widow and her son and daughter into their life, inviting them over for Thanksgiving dinner and walking with them through their difficult times following the death of the kids’ father. Good, wholesome families have a mission – to use their joyful, Christ-centered family as a light to other families. Just as the Trinity needed to shower Its love upon the world, so families should seek to shower their love upon others in need.
Finally, a word to those among us who are single. Much of what I have been speaking about is also applicable to you! If you are single, your family can be varied: it can be your parents and siblings; it can be your neighborhood or your friend-group. All of us are made in the image and likeness of a Trinitarian God, which means that all of us are made for community!
My friends, the Trinity doesn’t need to be mysterious, because we have a beautiful reflection of the Trinity here on earth: the family! May all of our families begin, more and more, to reflect the Trinity in its life-giving love.