We clergy who preach are always looking for some examples for The Holy Trinity. How can three also be one–For God? Well, it’s Holy Trinity Sunday, so we’ll try to figure it out.
My grandparents were Irish and they explained the Holy Trinity to me by a little three leaf plant that grows a lot back in that country across the Atlantic ocean. That little green plant is called the _____ (anyone know it—St. Patrick used it?) –‘tis the shamrock. My Barry grandparents used it for a Three-in-One explanation of God. The plant is a three-in-one thing. Three leafs on one stem, three equal heart-shaped leafs for one plant.
Here is another example for you, especially if you don’t know or have not seen the tiny green shamrock plant. The Trinity is like an egg. Just as ONE egg has THREE different parts – the shell, the white, the yoke – ONE God has THREE different Persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Can our young people understand that—of the three parts, one egg? The shell, the white part inside (called the egg white) and the yellow part—called the yolk. Some people who hard-boiled eggs would be real familiar with the three parts. At Easter, the egg is popular, and some people paint the outer egg shell with colors and call it an Easter egg! Maybe your family tried that!
Can it be that simple? Yes, and no. Yes, in that God made us to be able to grasp His existence. ( Grasp it in our thinking, not hands.) So it can be that simple.
2/ But, is God only simple? No. God is God, Who is mighty, infinite, wondrous, always existing and abounding in love, uhh—God is too BIG to clearly describe. We will spend a lot of time ahead in Heaven getting to know more of God, and of being loved by God, and we’ll never be finished—forever and ever it will go on, and be ever new.
Our opening song for Mass just sang about it and God’s love— on and on and on and on it goes
Your Love O Lord.
St. John wrote a sentence in His Good News. Eternal life is this: to know God. Good enough! And simple enough for us now. The Holy Trinity is God—The Holy Trinity is a major belief of all true Christians. As Catholics, we start and end our prayers “in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” This Mass begins and ends that way.
God has us know now what we need to know about The Holy Trinity.
But we understand how we all are just like a little child and will need to mature in the future of what we know. For example, I know that as a kid I did not have to learn everything about a car or other mobile vehicles, just some basics. It’s a car. You get inside of it and it takes us places we’d like to go. It is not a toy, so to be handled with respect. It can go real fast, so we put on our seatbelts inside of it. Somebody older drives it who is mature and able to do it. The wheels turn and moves it, whether it’s a car, truck or bus: the wheels in the bus go round and round, round and round! That is what a little child needs to know of it.
God leaves us big easy clues of Him as The Holy Trinity. As like in the egg example of three in one. Here’s another to think of….
The Holy Trinity can be compared to an apple. Any middle school boy or girl can know that one apple has three different parts – the skin, the flesh, and the seed. The skin, the flesh and the seed. Three, but one. That is just another explanation of a three-in-one thing—God has them all over the planet.
As like in the family model that God started for us, God leaves an example that there is a father-man and a mother-woman and then they love one another as one, which then a child can result from their love. One, Two and now three— a family. 1 plus 1 equals 3? Well, something like that. Love of the dad and mom together make it become a child sometimes– #3.
The Holy Trinity is like the first model of a family. God made us in Their likeness. The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. One two three. That’s a start in a Trinity lesson.
There are moments in the stories of the Bible where you notice all three persons of One God involved —for example, in the Baptism of Jesus, with John the Baptist as witness. The Father, the Son and the Spirit are there at this Jordan River event. The Heavens open up and there is a voice, it’s the Father, who says: This is My Son (in Jesus right there in the water), upon Him does my favor rest. We are united. Then the Gospel account says that the Spirit came upon Jesus like a Dove figure, in giving an anointing, in sharing power—the Spirit and the Son are united, and with the Father. The Person in the Baptism was Jesus—and He was doing there (getting baptized) it so that a time would follow, like for so many here, when we would get baptized in the same Father, Son and Holy Spirit—by water of new birth, of becoming a child of God.
When the people asked Jesus to teach about God, he quoted the things that He had said down to Moses. He quoted the Old Testament Bible: “The Lord our God is one. Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one.” So right there—Jesus saying still The Lord is One, means One God, even if in three persons. There is One God—but three Persons. He, Jesus, claimed to be the eternal Son, but come into humanity. He also said the Other Advocate, the Holy Spirit existed. He said there is the Father Almighty, too.
So we welcome God doing things as the Holy Trinity—and right at the start of our Catholic life, one is baptized, “in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” As Jesus said we had to do it that way—get baptized in the Holy Trinity.
That’s the homily. I hope it works.
Going back to my parents and our family car, when I was a pre-K little boy, I did not know how cars worked, especially of what the big stick did—that was near the driver’s seat. I learned the hard way about it, as me and my foster brother were playing in the car, as we were not supposed to be doing, and I moved the stick, this arm of the car, which was heavy but it moved from P to N. P was for park. I moved the stick to N—standing for Not Good. (No, standing for Neutral, actually!) But it was not good because our driveway was on a small hill and the car rolled back down into the street, Old Farm Road, and it rolled to a stop in the middle of the street. It was a short car trip but a major lesson to me that I did not know cars or how they worked—and I’d better stay out of them, except to ride with mom and dad. A happy ending: They went to the store and bought me a kid’s little red fire engine to ride down the sidewalk or back patio. That was safer and much easy to work, as just to peddle and steer it and to make fire truck noises with my mouth. HAPPY HOLY TRINITY SUNDAY!
Father’s Day homily June 18th Corpus Christi Feast
I heard the story about somebody being very proud of his father. It was by a Chinese man with the Catholic name of Sebastian Lai. He came to Washington D.C. last month to share how great his dad is and to accept an award of recognition for his dad, Jimmy Lai. His dad can’t accept it because he is imprisoned by the Chinese government. They have begun a marathon cycle of court hearings and prison terms for Jimmy because of words he was saying in Hong Kong. Sebastian was on a tv show telling about it (World Over on EWTN) and to a newspaper (The Pillar) of how extremely proud he is of his father’s courage in denouncing the ways the Chinese government suppresses, controls, harms and kills opponents to their ungodly communist plan.
Catholic University in Washington invited Sebastian Lai receiving an honorary doctorate as given to his dad, Jimmy. CUA president John Garvey presented it for recognition of great Catholic values shown by Jimmy, in such amazing faith and valor in Hong Kong, offering resistance to the widespread government crackdown on civil liberties and freedoms to Hong Kong peoples. The Catholic religion is a major target of removal of influence.
Sebastian said that his jailed father, due to dad’s published writings and pro-democracy rallies, is a hero to him, as well to so many in Hong Kong. Sebastian said to DC people here how that Hong Kong has changed beyond recognition in recent years, as China takes over. There’s no freedom of expression or speech or worship really allowed now.
The elder Lai was incarcerated after a 2021 conviction for breaches of the National Security Law made and imposed on Hong Kong in 2020, ordered by the special administrative region by the mainland government. ‘One of the most fundamental drivers of why my 74 yr.-old dad is standing up like this is for what he believes in is his Catholic faith,’ Sebastian Lai said. The Apple Daily, one of the last pro-democracy newspapers in Hong Kong, led by Jimmy Lai, was publicly critical of the erosion of civil liberties protected in the Basic Law. The newspaper was forced to close after the government froze assets belonging to Lai and his media company, and raided the newspaper’s offices, arresting several editors. When the National Security Law was imposed, Jimmy Lai called it the “death knell” of rule of law in Hong Kong. Soon after he was arrested and jailed on national security charges, he called his imprisonment “the pinnacle of [his] life.”
Lai has been in prison since December 2020, and has been convicted of unlawful assembly for attending a 2019 prayer vigil, as well as for organizing illegal gatherings. He still faces a number of other prosecutions under the National Security Law, and a fraud charge, connected to an office his company sublet, which supporters says is a trumped-up charge over a technicality. The government will find ways to extend Jimmy’s trials and proceedings as to therefore keep him imprisoned and his life cut off.
Like St. Peter and Paul who were in prison or their Faith, but by the Roman Empire, Jimmy knows his soul can’t be forced to change beliefs, either, not by his oppressors, and he will witness to that, and live out the eighth beatitude of the blessed persecuted. For this his son Sebastian is immensely proud for this ultimate stand of Catholic faith. Sebastian was grateful to Catholic University for their keeping in people’s minds this plight of his dad, and the cause for religious freedom around the world, and the advance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as He asked us all to do. Lai the son said the honorary degree was appreciated by that it recognized how “Jimmy was not forgotten — and that there’s this place called Hong Kong, and now it’s being destroyed, but the people are still there.” ‘The Church had a place there, which is all threatened, as with the way of life that once was there.’ “The news cycles so fast that you forget that there are many people in Hong Kong at this moment, in jail for what is basically support for democratic ideas,” Sebastian Lai added, saying that dad Jimmy also won a 2020 Freedom of the Press Award from Reporters Without Borders.
Lai’s honorary degree at Catholic University came just days after authorities in Hong Kong arrested Cardinal Joseph Zen, the emeritus bishop of Hong Kong, on charges of ‘colluding with foreign powers.’ Zen was arrested with Margaret Ng, a prominent Hong Kong barrister, and Denise Ho, a singer and civil rights activist, over their roles as trustees of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, a now-closed charity that helps political arrestees in Hong Kong. Zen, a staunch critic of the Chinese mainland government’s abuses of religious freedom, a prominent face among Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, said at the time of Lai’s arrest that he and other arrested Catholics in Hong Kong were “simply putting into practice the social teaching of the Church.”
The cardinal has called the arrest of Jimmy Lai an act of “political intimidation” against journalists and pro-civil rights activists. This is who is in power in China. They hate us and want to silence us and do away with us. Zen had been interviewed numerous times by Catholic press before his arrest, so one can google it and see and hear of it. We are not likely to hear from Cardinal Zen nor Jimmy Lai again.
What’s the Vatican doing? Well, it’s sad. Vatican officials have had a changed and weakened stance with the China government, putting them in quite an awkward position as of late, unable to explain their actions of not vehemently being upset with China of what’s taking place in Hong Kong or on the mainland against Catholics. An official protest in made by the Vatican; but the Chinese Catholics are in persecution and control and awful turmoil, but it seems we are to be bystanders to it. One does not know what effective foreign relations could be going on between Rome and Beijing, or is it that politics, money and control just run the show in such situations as these?
On Father’s Day in America we can send a prayer out to Jimmy Lai and Cardinal Zen and others, who were willing to live out their fatherhood at all costs.
Our Lord Jesus is the great Inspiration to us. The authorities and some crooked people surely wanting Jesus to not have power or influence—He was a perceived threat to them. Thus, they conspired to have Him arrested and then killed in less than 24 hours later over weak but convenient charges.
Jesus knew and saw it all coming. We heard what He said at the Last Supper to His apostles. It is the epistle of this Sunday.
The Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over,
took bread, and, after he had given thanks,
broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying,
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,
you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.