Below is my homily from this morning's Mass for Trinity Sunday.
I hope you find it helpful in your own circumstances.
Comments, observations and perspective on my homily or on today's readings are very invited and welcome! See the "Comment Box" below the homily.
Peace be with you all!!!
“Don’t be afraid”, the Lord tells us in today’s Gospel.
Don’t be afraid, don’t worry.
Well that’s easy for HIM to say some might observe
...after all he’s the Son of God.
Well that’s not a crazy reaction these days
...with so much on the fear and worry radar for so many.
There’s the virus and all its impacts and fallout
...and all the uncertainties about “opening back up”.
The persistent drama of racial equity and fair treatment is once again challenging the nation’s conscience.
There’s the uncertain fate of the economy and so people’s jobs and livelihoods that hang in the balance,
...and a populace and political order so divided that we can’t seem to work together for the common good.
And that’s just the current short list.
It is not like all the other sources of stress we were used to have gone away.
You know, world peace, terrorism, the enviroment and climate change, health care, retirement insecurity.
They’re all still there.
Well...at least we have our faith...right?
Turns out...that can be complicated too.
The Prophet Jeremiah is experiencing “terror” because he had been reminding Israel of their need to be faithful to the covenant and not wander away after false gods and beguiling idols
...it is often happens in such cases the message was unwelcome and the messenger was afraid for his life
...for being faithful.
In today's Gospel we hear Jesus telling the twelve not to be afraid of those who could kill the body, but not the soul.
He said so because he had just told them that he was sending them out, like lambs among wolves, to extend his own ministry of preaching, teaching and healing.
So the message is “Remain faithful, and expect to suffer for it.”
So where does that leave us?
How can our faith be a source of comfort and strength in the face of fear
...a source of peace in stressful times?
Well, our little Bakhita Bible Study group has been looking at just this question over the past couple of weeks
...and I thought I would share some perspectives that have arisen in our time together.
Turns out there is no silver bullet quick fix, no magic potion or secret sauce in Christianity that will effortlessly provide us with peace, calm our fears and worries or wipe away stress.
Getting there takes both grace and spiritual effort
...to make our own certain attitudes and perspectives and habits.
There are three that I would share with you.
The first is to learn to trust more in God’s Providence.
We considered the Lord’s own words in Luke’s Gospel calling on us to stop worrying about what we are to eat, and wear
...symbolizing all of our material concerns and appetites.
These can be a roadblock to attaining peace.
We need to realize that even bigger piles and bigger barns do not equal more peace and less stress.
To have less worry and to be more free we need to develop a certain level of detachment from our desires for things.
This is a hard thing to do for us as we live in a culture that revolves around materialism and consumerism.
But we need to work on it.
The second is that we need to hope more in the eternal and less in passing things.
Being a Christian doesn't get us a pass from "suffering' and hardship are an inevitable part of life
..part of what we fear and worry about.
But Christians understand that we never suffer alone.
Through the incarnation of Jesus Christ, becoming one like us, God bonded to this human suffering and conquered it, transcending it, in the resurrection.
This is the destiny offered to us as well, and the source of our ultimate hope.
So we see our sufferings in Christ’s and vice-versa
...sharing this passing reality in the hope of eternal glory.
This is a vision that offers us inner peace
...that can help free us from the fear and anxiety that keeps us from loving one another as Christ calls us
..and all that implies about what we need to be doing with our time here and now, helping to bring "the kingdom come" such as evangelizing, serving, justice and the rest.
Finally, naturally for Christians, there is love
...and the practice of it and what builds it.
Trusting more in God than things, uniting ourselves to the hope of the resurrection
... we hopefully gain greater inner peace and freedom to live out the love that the Lord calls us to in all its various ways
...forgiveness, compassion, gentleness, patience...bearing with one another.
All of these build on and magnify the work of inner peace growing from this greater trust in God and hope in eternity.
So being “not afraid” and “finding peace” relies on greater trust
...the eternal hope we have been offered
...and the love we are called to.
We know these things.
Being not afraid, finding peace, means working on them.