St. Augustine was once walking along the sea trying to understand the Trinity fully, and he saw a little boy going to the ocean, bringing the water to a hole he had dug. Augustine, puzzled by this, asked the boy what he was doing. The child responded that he was trying to put the ocean in the hole. Augustine responded that this was impossible, because the ocean was too big, and the hole was too small. The boy responded: “So it is with the mind of man, trying to understand the Trinity.”
Today we contemplate the Holy Trinity, even though each Sunday we worship the Triune God. The Trinity is a mystery of relationships. The Father, Son and Spirit spend all eternity giving and receiving love to each other. They do nothing without the other. We are invited to examine our image of God. How then do we see God – as love or as power?
It is important for us to see God primarily as love. Love gives; it does not seek to control the other. The Trinity reveals to us the secret for having healthy relationships. What makes relationships beautiful, freeing, satisfying is love in its different forms. What poisons a relationship is the desire to control and possess rather than to welcome and give oneself to the other. Happiness on this earth depends in large part on the quality of our relationships. To find fulfillment, we humans need to move beyond ourselves, following the pattern of Divine Love. Love is expansive and needs to be shared. We ought to be troubled by the fact that Cincinnati is one of the top three mid-size cities for people living alone. The percentage of Cincinnati households made up of people living alone is upward of 40%. The social isolation forced by the pandemic has only worsened the situation. It is not just a question of the elderly living alone in assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and even their own homes. Many young, single people also live on their own. Persons with disabilities, other than family members and case workers, have few people in their lives.
God’s love heals the wounds of loneliness. This is why the Great Commission is so important. The call from isolation to community happens in the Church. In baptism, God called us out of the isolation of original sin to be His and to be part of His family, His adopted children, calling Him, “Abba”, Father, through the Holy Spirit. When we come to Mass, we are called out of our homes and are joined to other believers, our beloved dead and the angels and saints in heaven in worship of the One True God. In Holy Communion we become one with the Father’s Son and with all those who receive the Eucharist. Through confession, we are brought back into relationship with God through the Church. To be Catholic and to really be alive is to be in relationships of love- with the Triune God, with the Church and with each other.
Next Sunday, the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days will be lifted. Catholics have a serious obligation to attend Mass and to offer God the worship that He is due. However, Mass attendance is not principally about obligation. It is good for us to be together to give thanks to God for His blessings; to praise Him for His mighty and wondrous deeds, even in song; to adore Him as God and to be in His Presence; and, to seek His Mercy. We need to be together to worship, and we now have an opportunity for a deeper appreciation for our faith and for the Eucharist. Elsewhere in this bulletin, you will see instructions for how we are going to accommodate larger crowds.
Too often we reduce our Faith and morality to rules, regulations, and teachings, perhaps we might consider our Faith from the point of view of relationships. Relationships matter. Our relationship with the Triune God needs to be a priority. Ask yourself some simple questions: Whom do you enjoy spending time with the most – your best friend or God? Whom are you most excited to meet every day – your best friend or God? Which relationship needs more work – your one with God and the Church or the one with your best friend? Finally, on which relationship does Eternal Life depend? Unfortunately, many of us spend too much time with television, on our phone or on our tablets, but none of those things ever loves us back. God loves us back. Relationships matter.
– Fr. Fernandes