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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Trinity Sunday

Trinity Sunday
May 26, 2013
Proverbs 8:22-31; Psalm 8; Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15

The Spirit of God hovers through the Book of Proverbs as an equal to God. The Spirit acts as the life-creating Wisdom of God who was with God from the ancient days before the world began. God possessed her and showed her his ways. From the beginning of time, they coexisted and shared profound mysteries of the universe. Together, they thoughtfully moved to bring the world into existence and the Wisdom Spirit came to know God’s sweeping plan for the fullness of life. One design. One plan. But Wisdom stood side by side with God in friendship. Nothing came into being without her knowledge. She and God stood together pleased with their work, especially delighting in the human race.

The familiarity in this scene between the Creating God and Lady Wisdom is the type of relationship for which we long. Because of the inherent power imbalance, we cannot fully enjoy such equality, but it gives us a model for human relationships. For instance, a couple that seeks to marry dreams of the perfect life they can share together when the household duties are balanced, conversations are easily shared, visions are planned with equal weight given to each others’ thoughts and feelings. We dream of the ideal even though we know our perfect selves will not always hold up because of daily demands. God gives us the ideal; we have to struggle to bring our true selves to every situation.

Have you ever noticed that sometimes people do not listen to you? This is not the ideal. Does your spouse, partner, or friend sometimes take advantage of you or take you for granted? Do they even remember to ask for your input? This is not the ideal. Does anyone repeatedly push his or her agenda forward over yours and cross your boundaries at will? This is far from ideal. I imagine you sometimes want to confess your sin of being angry with someone who will not let you be angry with him or her or that you need to let off steam at someone who constantly irritates you. This is far from the type of relationship we see among our Trinitarian God, but these are the relationships we end up with if we don’t set down our principles.

We can give the default answer that says “love” will take care of everything, but that surely does not suffice. Love needs a qualifier in this instance or we need to think hard on another word that fits more precisely and we have to always include one of the primary virtues of a Christian into our daily practice: prudential self care. It is our duty to ourselves to respect, honor, and care about our well-being before we are concerned about the other. That may sound counter-Christian to some and maybe a little selfish, but caring for ourselves shows to others that we value our souls just as highly as God does. If we fundamentally love ourselves, we will rightly and respectfully demand more of others in our relationships.

Most of us are naturally concerned for the well-being of others. Taking a fraction of the care we give to others and directing it to ourselves will not radically swing us to become selfish people. It will make the modest adjustments that are needed for healthy living. It will communicate to others that, “I respect myself enough that I will not let you treat me in the poor way you do.” It will say, “I have something valuable to say and I want you to listen to me.” It will convey, “I have power and I am a valued member of this relationship and I will not be disrespected.” It will also say, “I value you too so much that I will give all the time I need to make this relationship work well. I respect you and honor you.”

We need to be in the practice of standing up for ourselves in interpersonal situations that are uncomfortable for us. When we feel particular negative energy, this is precisely the time when we are to act or speak up. It is up to us to let the other person know how we are feeling about the way he or she is treating us. All we simply have to do is call attention to the behavior that offends us and ask the person to modify the behavior when he or she is around you. In this way, we care for the person whose behavior offends us, but we let them know we dislike the behavior. Therefore, we save ourselves from making damaging judgments and being left with unresolved anger. We simply set our boundaries so others know what lines can be crossed safely and which ones cannot. No one is going to care for your boundaries if you do not care about them yourself. Communicating effectively, that is, directly and immediately, will teach others what to respect about you. Life becomes simpler and happier when we learn to do this at will.

The enduring image from these readings is God’s graciousness with the Spirit of Wisdom. With ease, she returns the honor to God. They find each other in all aspects of life. They appreciate each other and find beauty and harmony in their coexistence. They like to be with one another. In some of our broken relationships, we can restore deep fractions if we place a healthy emphasis on taking care of our needs. This comes first because it is the most loving action we can give. When we have a healthy balance internally, it will be manifested externally, and we will enjoy the day – the awe and beauty of creation, including our human family, that same way our Trinitarian God does. This is the harmony that heals all wounds. So, speak up, and take good care of yourself and you will find God in all things.

Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading: Peter continues to encourage his disciples to remain in the knowledge of God by building up one's faith with virtue, built on knowledge, gained by self-control, achieved through endurance, that comes from devotion, experienced through mutual affection, that derives from love. He asks us to wait for the Lord's Day by remaining without blemish and by being at peace. Paul, in his letter to Timothy, asks us to remain in the Spirit of Christ that is evident in the power of love and self-control. He also asks them to bear with one another patiently so they present no factions to the outside world. These factions serve no positive purpose. Paul explains that understanding Scripture is useful for righteousness, but to be aware that everyone who wants to live religiously will be persecuted. Lastly, he tells them to proclaim the word: be persistent, convince, reprimand, encourage through patience and teaching.

Gospel: In Mark, Jesus tells a story to the chief priests and scribes about a landowner who leases his property to those with selfish desires. They kill the first servants and the landowner finally sends his son. To everyone's horror, they kill him too. The moral: the one rejected by the chief priests will become the cornerstone of faith. Herodians question Jesus about a person's responsibility to pay a census tax to Caesar; Jesus does not get twisted into their story and demands that everyone respect the earthly leader and God at the same time. Sadducees ask about property rights when a widow has seven husbands and reaches heaven. Jesus reminds them there is no marrying in heaven and God is not of the dead, but of the living. A scribe asks Jesus about the greatest commandment and answers correctly. Jesus praises his well-thought and honest answer. He reminds the people not to be like the scribes who receive public praise and do things that are not admirable. Be more like the poor widow who puts in her two cents into the treasury.

Saints of the Week

May 26: Philip Neri, priest (1515-1595), is known as the "Apostle of Rome." A Florentine who was educated by the Dominicans, he re-evangelized Roe by establishing confraternities of laymen to minister to pilgrims and the sick in hospitals. He founded the Oratorians when he gathered a sufficient following because of his spiritual wisdom.

May 27: Augustine of Canterbury, bishop (d. 604) was sent to England with 40 monks from St. Andrew's monastery to evangelize the pagans. They were well-received. Augustine was made bishop, established a hierarchy, and changed many pagans feasts to religious ones. Wales did not accept the mission; Scotland took St. Andrew's cross as their national symbol. Augustine began a Benedictine monastery at Canterbury and was Canterbury's first archbishop.

May 31: Visitation of the Virgin Mary commemorates the visit of Mary in her early pregnancy to Mary, who is reported to be her elder cousin. Luke writes about the shared rejoicing of the two women - Mary's conception by the Holy Spirit and Elizabeth's surprising pregnancy in her advanced years. Elizabeth calls Mary blessed and Mary sings her song of praise to God, the Magnificat.

June 1: Justin, martyr (100-165), was a Samaritan philosopher who converted to Christianity and explained doctrine through philosophical treatises. His debating opponent reported him to the Roman authorities that tried him and when he refused to sacrifice to the gods, was condemned to death.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      May 26, 1673. Ching Wei‑San (Emmanuel de Sigueira) dies, the first Chinese Jesuit priest.
·      May 27, 1555. The Viceroy of India sent an embassy to Claudius, Emperor of Ethiopia, hoping to win him and his subjects over to Catholic unity. Nothing came of this venture, but Fr. Goncalvo de Silveira, who would become the Society's first martyr on the Africa soil, remained in the country.
·      May 28, 1962. The death of Bernard Hubbard famous Alaskan missionary. He was the author of the book Mush, You Malemutes! and wrote a number of articles on the Alaska mission.
·      May 29,1991. Pope John Paul II announces that Paulo Dezza, SJ is to become a Cardinal, as well as Jan Korec, in Slovakia.
·      May 30, 1849. Vincent Gioberti's book Il Gesuita Moderno was put on the Index. Gioberti had applied to be admitted into the Society, and on being refused became its bitter enemy and calumniator.
·      May 31, 1900. The new novitiate of the Buffalo Mission, St Stanislaus, in South Brooklyn, Ohio, near Cleveland, is blessed.
·      Jun 1, 1527. Ignatius was thrown into prison after having been accused of having advised two noblewomen to undertake a pilgrimage, on foot, to Compostella.


  1. This homily is just what I needed to read in reference to a situation regarding some team dynamics. I believe I will share this with the team leader. Thank you.