Today we celebrate two mysteries: that of fatherhood, and that of the Holy Trinity. First, Happy and blessed Father’s Day to all of us, not just to our fathers and grandfathers, but to all of us who have provided for, protected, and indeed procreated by their participation in God the Father’s gift of Himself.
We pray for all our fathers this entire month of June, the month also of the Sacred Heart, by placing their names between two lit candles in our sanctuary. I also invite you to place your father’s picture on the photo stand in front of the altar of St. Joseph, father of the universal Church. It’s not easy being a father these days, but we men have only to turn daily to God the Father to know how we can provide, protect, and procreate those entrusted to us by Him.
Our second mystery is the greatest mystery of all, and the source of all fatherhood in heaven and on earth, the mystery of the Holy Trinity. From the catechism #234: “the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them all.” The mystery of the Triune God takes us down into the core of all being, into the essence of God’s inner dynamism. God is one, but within this fundamental unity, God is three, a community of persons. He is one, but never alone, an eternal exchange of love between Persons. Without reference to the communal God, human community will always fail.
There is only one God, who is above all things and through all things and in all things. St. Athanasius wrote in the 3rd century: “God is above all things as Father; he is through all things as the Word (Jesus); and he is in all things in the Holy Spirit.” Our best profession of the Holy Trinity is to make the sign of the cross well: intentionally, thoughtfully, prayerfully, joyfully. It is our testimony that Love—the eternal exchange of love between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—is at the core of all reality. In the rite of exorcism, for example, the priest continually makes the Sign of the Cross both over himself and over the penitent. When the diabolical approaches to separate you from God and those whom you love, to disfigure your relationships, it will see the mark of the Three-in-One and fall back. So make the sign of the cross often over yourselves and your children.
God’s Sacred Communion
The human person—you and I—are essentially wired for relationship, to live in community with others. We need to be close to at least some other persons, because the fundamental template of the universe is a relationship between three persons, Father Son and Holy Spirit. In a godly relationship of love, no one owns anything exclusively but shares even his own person with the beloved. He knows the joy of trusting the one who loves him or her. The Father trusts everything he is and has to the Son, who trusts his father in the Holy Spirit, as he said with his last breath on the cross: “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.” So Our Lord says in the Gospel today from the farewell discourses in John 16: “Everything that the father has is mine…” The Spirit too, has no identity apart from the Father and the Son, as Our Lord says in the same passage: “The spirit of truth will not speak on his own, but will speak what he hears.”
God is one, but God is never isolated: he is essentially a communion of persons. And each of us is one, an “individual,” but we never need be isolated, because God invites us into communion within Himself, especially when we receive “Holy Communion.” We come together each Sunday to become one Body by receiving the Body of Christ. A city like San Francisco can easily isolate people, but we always have a home here in the Church. This morning I was doing my morning prayers in Golden Gate Park and a homeless woman walked by pushing her cart. She was completely alone, and she was talking to herself. She wasn’t talking to another person, but only to herself. She was disturbing my prayers, in fact, but I should have just jumped up to greet her in the Lord. Alas, a missed opportunity to break through someone’s isolation. But be very sure that God never talks just to “himself;” he communicates always to another person. We do not have to be self-absorbed or isolated, because the Holy Trinity always invites us into His Communion. Let us pray for all the lonely people, and let us be a Sacrament to them of God’s sacred communion.