Bottom line: We discover our roots in the Trinity and connect with those glorious persons by baptism, by faith and by following what Jesus teaches.
Last week we compared the Holy Spirit to a rhizome: a continuously growing underground stem that sends up shoots at different points. You can see the rhizome at work if you visit Bambooland - between Monroe and Sultan. Those groves of bamboo are not independent plants; rather they together depend on the unseen stem. Likewise as Christians we depend on the Holy Spirit. Our gifts of service, the ministries we exercise and the sacraments that sustain us are like shoots coming from him. Through him we Christians are connected one to another. We have our roots in him.
This Sunday we take the idea of roots a step further. The Bible reveals our roots as the Trinity itself. Moses says that God speaks "from the midst of fire". This refers to the burning bush but it also applies to creation. In the beginning the Spirit broods over the deep and God the Creator speaks a word: Let there be light. This verse has an intriguing parallel in the Big Bang theory that says the universe began with an explosion of energy - fire.*
You may have heard that the father of the Big Bang theory was a Catholic priest - Fr. Georges LeMaitre. He didn't set out with the idea of proving God's existence. Still, before him most scientists - including Albert Einstein - thought the universe existed eternally. LeMaitre's theory indicates that time, space and matter do not eternally exist but had a starting point - about 14 billion years ago. That is a long time, but for God no time at all. For him the big bang is just as much "now" as is today or for that matter tomorrow. For us who live in time our existence connects back to that initial burst of light - and to God himself.
Now I'm not here to promote the Big Bang theory. Yet many aspects do fit with our faith. Fr Robert Spitzer, himself a Jesuit priest like Fr. LeMaitre has some powerful videos on that subject - the relation of faith and physics.
What ultimately matters is not a scientific theory but what the Bible tells us about our origins. We are rooted in the Trinity: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Father speaks an eternal Word; he begets his only Son Jesus who is God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God. The love between Father and Son is a third distinct person: the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and Son. He is the Lord and Giver of Life. From the dynamism of the Holy Trinity comes our existence.
A few years ago my brother did a DNA Ancestry Test. It was interesting to see the batch of different gene pools that we came out of. Those roots go way back and show that we are interconnected even on a genetic level.
Some scientists say you only have to go back a couple thousand years to find a common ancestor for all humans alive today and of course going further we have many common ancestors. We are all mutts. For sure heritage and culture matter but genetically we are mongrels. There is no pure race, only the human race.
The great thing about America is that we do not say blood binds us. What binds us is our creed. We'll hear more about that during Fourth of July week. We want our children to love America with all her faults.**
But even more we want them to understand how our roots go back to Adam and Eve. Through our first parents we receive the image of God - the basis for equality among us. Along with that great good we inherit something bad - a primeval stain that distorts God's image, a shame that separates us from God and each other, an arrogance that make us reject our true roots.
So our task is to rediscover our true roots - the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus enables us reconnect to our roots:
"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."
We discover our roots in the Trinity and connect with those glorious persons by baptism, by faith and by following what Jesus teaches. Next Sunday we will see a vital, recurring element in this new life. What the Vatican Council calls "the Source and Summit." Today let's rejoice that we have received through Jesus the Spirit of Adoption who enables us to say, "Abba, Father."
*Here's an Encyclopedia Britannica article to make your head spin (at least mine)
**"The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults." (Alexis de Tocqueville)
Trinity Sunday Homilies:
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)
Take the Plunge Bible Study (audio resources) *New episodes for Easter Season 2018*
Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.
Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron
Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)
Parish Picture Album
Divine Mercy Novena (print ready in English & Spanish)
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru