Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Words from Fr Ed (From June 3rd, 2012 Bulletin)

Trinity Sunday

When they all saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.
The first Sunday after Pentecost is Trinity Sunday. Our Gospel returns to the Ascension scene, where Jesus is giving his last instructions to the disciples. Here in Matthew 28:16, the eleven (the apostles without Judas, before choosing Matthias), are depicted as going to Galilee to a mountain that Jesus indicated. It’s not clear if this is Mt. Tabor or perhaps a mountain on the road to Galilee, even on the outskirts of Jerusalem. What’s more important is their reaction to the presence of Jesus.

It says, as I quote above, "…they worshiped, but they doubted." Can we see ourselves in this? "They worshiped" means they had a belief in Jesus, yet it wasn’t complete, it lacked certitude. Their virtue of faith was somehow compromised and diluted. Typically Jesus is quick in other scenes to rebuke any lack of faith. But here He moves straight to His authority. "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me." Has He learned in His humanity that His rebukes aren’t as effective as a positive word? Or is He simply shoring up the exact area of doubt? Has the Resurrection not cured these men of the scandal of the cross? The Resurrection alone has not been enough to make these disciples fully confident in their faith.

Jesus goes on to give them the Great Commission, to "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." He says all this knowing that they will need the Holy Spirit, about to be given at Pentecost, to carry out this heroic mission. They need a Divine Person to fulfill a Divine act.

This Holy Spirit, which we celebrated last week at Pentecost, will, as Jesus said, lead us into all truth. He will remind us of all that Jesus taught us, including His relationship with the Father. This would be crucial for Christians to be Christians. Belief that Jesus is the Divine Son of God is unique to Christians. All other faiths may honor Him as a prophet or a holy man, or a Buddha, an enlightened one. Only Christians say that Jesus is God.

Going further, we believe that there are three Persons in our One God. I know that is hard to understand. We can’t grasp it with our reason alone. It takes a real gift and virtue of faith to accept this reality. It takes the revelation of Jesus Christ. Do we believe Jesus when He says, "I am in the Father and the Father is in me"? (Jn 14:10) Jesus often refers to the Father as a unique person. It is not a semantic mind game that Jesus is playing here. When Jesus prays to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane He is really praying to the Father, the God He is simultaneously united with, all the while united with His own humanity.

Jesus’ Divinity is key to belief in the Trinity. If there are two persons in the Godhead, then what is to stop us from believing that there are three? Jesus said, "Before Abraham was, I AM." (Jn 8:58) The radicality of this statement can be seen in the Jew's reaction, "So they took up stones to throw at him." To know Jesus fully is to know Him as Divine. This takes intimacy.

Strangely, the route to Jesus’ Divinity is His humanity. It is through His humanity that we best get a glimpse of the one who was and is and ever will be one with the Father. He is also the one who with the Father sends the Holy Spirit. Because of Jesus, we can know the Father and the Holy Spirit. It is primarily in Jesus, the Son that we can know more fully the reality and indwelling of the Holy Trinity. It is considered a sign of great holiness for a saint to receive a profound insight into the presence and inner life of the Trinity. Let us pray for that great grace.

New Stephens Ministers Commissioned at 8:30am Mass

We are receiving 8 new Stephen Ministers this weekend who will be serving our community after a rigorous training course that includes grief counseling, listening skills, and formation in pastoral care. We welcome ________. They join ________________Thanks to all who so generously give their time and talent for others. If you would like to know more about Stephens Ministry, please contact Deacon Marshall Denby at 253-631-1940, ext. 103.

Viva Cristo Rey! - "For Greater Glory" Coming Soon

"For Greater Glory" is opening June 1st in theaters, hopefully near us. It depicts the Cristeros war for the freedom of the Church in Mexico. Few are aware of how the Church was persecuted in the late 1920s in Mexico. It became illegal for the Church to function freely. Priests were hunted down and executed. Catholic schools were forbidden, monasteries were closed, foreign clerics and religious were expelled. Before 1926 there were 4500 priests in Mexico. In 1934, there were only 334 for 15 million people. In the state of Chihuahua there was only one priest for the whole state. In other states there were none and all churches were closed by the government. This caused a popular uprising amongst the peasants and landowners alike who cherished their faith. The Cristeros, as they were called, shouted, "Viva, Cristo Rey" as their battle cry. Eventually the U.S. government with the advocacy of the Knights of Columbus recognized their cause. See for more information.

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