22 May 2016 + Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
Why do Catholics begin their prayers with the Sign of the Cross? I often get this question from non-Catholics, and it was part of our discussion this past week at bible study as we prepared for the solemnity this weekend of the Most Holy Trinity. You see, we not only make the sign of the cross but we say…"In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." In other words, when we pray, we want to make sure we are addressing the right God! Yes, the right God, not that there are other gods, but throughout history, including today, human beings have had some pretty strange notions of who God is.
We believe that God has definitely revealed himself as recorded in the Holy Bible, and that revelation is this: There is only one God who created the heavens and the earth, but that within the nature of God there is a communion of persons - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. So, why is this important? We also believe that human beings were and are created in God's image. If we get God wrong, we also get the nature of human beings wrong. In fact, this is where we are headed today. If we go back to the very first words of the Holy Bible (Genesis 1:1-25), we read that God created the heavens and the earth out of a formless and void wasteland. At each day of creation Genesis says, "Then God said…" God spoke, and the work of creation took place. But when we get to verse 26 something changes.
"Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. " Why, all of a sudden, does the Holy Bible shift to the plural when speaking about God? The answer follows in verse 27: "God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them." Note here that in the creation of human beings there is the imprint of the one human nature but two persons, out of which a "third" (or children) would come forth. Yes, the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity of God speaks not only of God but of the human race. Awesome!!!
In an age of "gender confusion," the Holy Bible puts it this way: There is only one human nature, human. Of human nature there is a man and woman, male and female. The reason why we reference "man" or "male" is because it speaks of our common nature. The references to "male and female," or "man and woman," make clear that there is one who is able to receive life and give birth while the other is essential to participate in the creation of human life. As the love and life of the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, so the life of a new human being proceeds from the man and the woman in an act of love. (This should resolve the bathroom issueJ)
The moral of the story: if we get God wrong, we get ourselves wrong; and, if we get ourselves wrong, we get God wrong. Happy feast of the Most Holy Trinity!
Fr. William P. Felix