Saturday, June 14, 2014

Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Community, Trinity Sunday, Jun 15, 2014 by Rev. Beverly Bingle, RCWP

Our Gospel reading carries a lot of baggage for us,
as does the doctrine of the Trinity we celebrate today.
John 3:16--we see it on posters held by fans at sporting events
and written in the black grease
under NFL quarterback Tim Tebow's eyes.
We hear it used by fundamentalists
to claim salvation, superiority, and eternal life,
but only for those who "believe."
We have to ask
what the evangelist John was trying to communicate
to the people of his time,
and what it means for us today.
We have to deconstruct this passage.
We have to take out the anthropomorphic worldview
and remember that God is the ground of all being;
we are not the center of the universe or the rulers of creation.
We have to get past the idea of an "elsewhere God"
who sends Jesus to sacrifice himself
for the sin that got our ancestors thrown out of paradise.
We have to remember that God is love
and turn away from the idea
that non-believers are condemned.
While our ancestors in faith had a worldview
that envisioned God as above the clouds,
in heaven, separate from the earth
and separated from humans by the sin of the first humans,
we no longer hold that worldview.
We understand, in a much more cosmic way,
that God is everywhere, in everything... in us!
Even though we no longer take the scriptures literally,
as our Catholic Church has encouraged us to do
since 1943's encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu,
that does not make us "cafeteria Catholics."
Instead it makes us
reflecting, prayerful followers of the Way of Jesus,
because that is exactly what he did
when he used the Hebrew Scriptures
to speak truth to power in his own time.
So we pull the message of God's love from our Gospel.
We find the image of a God of tenderness and compassion
in our first reading.
And in our second reading we hear the good advice--
mend your ways, encourage one another,
live in harmony and peace--
that will help us to live
in awareness of the God of love and peace.
How does that work out for us today?
This past Tuesday,
I became aware of a miracle in my back yard.
After 21 days sitting on the eggs in her nest,
Broody hatched out a new bunch of youngsters
for my small flock.
First there was one, then four, then seven,
after a full day of pecking themselves out of their shells.
Truly amazing, this blooming forth of life, in my backyard flock,
surrounded by the blossoms of the Hansa roses,
the Shasta daisies, and of course,
the dandelions and buckhorn swaying above the lawn
that I haven't mowed for over a week.
Then the day and night, sun and moon and stars,
and all the universes that science tells us are out there.
And us, conscious, self-conscious, sentient beings, humanoids,
evolving in ever more complexity.
It's not easy to image God any more.
Science is expanding our understanding
of what it means that God is our Creator,
that--as the Baltimore Catechism told us--
we are made in the "image and likeness of God."
We know that we are in God
and God is in us
in more intimate relationship
than we had ever before thought possible.
Most days I just look on in awe and wonder and gratitude.
It's as if my calling, my vocation,
is to appreciate the interconnectedness of it all.
It's easy to live as if we're in charge of the world.
Easy to ignore people in the central city,
sleeping in doorways and on park benches.
Easy to turn away from conflicts on the other side of the world.
Easy to tune out scientific proofs
that our lifestyle today will harm future generations.
But the Bible is clear--we are our brothers' and sisters' keepers.
And our tradition is clear,
as today's celebration of the Trinity bears witness:
God is in relationship with all that is.
It's God as Creator, Jesus as Teacher, the Spirit as Sanctifier--
and each and every one of us and all of creation
are included in this cosmic dance,
or, as Fr. Jim Bacik calls it, this "communion of love."
Our communion--with God and each other and our universe--
is a miracle worth celebrating.

Holy Spirit Catholic Community
at 3535 Executive Parkway (Unity of Toledo)
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 9 a.m.
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor

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