- The Washington Times - Monday, June 11, 2001

Excerpts from a sermon given yesterday by the Rev. Robert C. Cilinski at All Saints Catholic Church in Manassas, Va.

Today on Trinity Sunday, the Church celebrates "Gods Feast Day."
I am reminded of the story of a bishop long ago who used to ask difficult questions at confirmations. The bishop was confirming third-graders and asked, "What is the blessed Trinity?" A little girl answered, "The Father, Son and Holy Spirit." The bishop had difficulty hearing and said, "I dont understand." The little girl exclaimed, "Youre not supposed to — its a mystery."
Well, the nature of God is a deep mystery beyond human comprehension. But God let us in on the secret of His love. God chose to reveal to us who God is, a God of love. The Trinity expresses a God who creates us in love, saves us in his Son Jesus Christ, and empowers us through the Spirit to live in a community of faith and love. Yes, God is three persons but One God, a community of persons in love.
One of the great Christian mystics, Julian of Norwich, described her experience of God this way: "Completely relaxed and courteous, happiness and peace, radiating measureless love like a marvelous symphony." She describes God as smiling and relaxed. In the past, our concept of God was that of a punishing God, a God with a great recording book in which all of our sins were written. To have a distorted concept of God is to worship a false god… .
The God whom Jesus called his Father is a God who, after all of creation is finished, looks at the world and all its people and says [in Genesis 1], "It is very good." Gods original blessing and gaze of appreciation has never changed despite the tarnishment of sin and evil. In fact, God so loved the world that God sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world but to save it [John 3:16].
The image of God smiling upon the world was very much a part of the consciousness of Jesus that allowed him to proclaim the poor, the hungry and the weeping as blessed. The Trinity affirms Gods miraculous love for us. Our self-worth should be based on the knowledge that the God of the universe created us in love. We are Gods children, Gods daughters and sons, created in the image of God. The Creator knows you by name and loves you.
One powerful moment in the movie "Dead Man Walking," portraying the prison ministry of Sister Helen Prejean, came when she says to a death-row inmate facing execution, "You are a son of God." He replied, "Ive been called a son of a lot of things, but Ive never been called a son of God." He realized his worth and that of others. He asked for forgiveness from those he had hurt.
Dont let your self-worth come from your bank account, or from how tall, smart or popular you are. Let your self-worth be based on who you are — a son or daughter of God. Otherwise, you will look for other sources of worth — drugs, alcohol, unhealthy relationships — that will only leave you disappointed and unhappy. Because God loves you, God promises to be with you always in a relationship of friendship… .
Only when God is seen as a community of three divine persons does it begin to make sense that God is love. God as Trinity shapes every aspect of our faith, from the liturgy to concerns about social justice.
We have been created in Gods likeness, therefore we are to live in relationships, caring for one another, especially the poor and the oppressed.
The church itself is a grand union of persons united in Christ. You cant be a Christian in isolation. Yes, the love of God has been poured out into our hearts, a God who is for us. This is the beautiful vision of todays feast, a vision that must be kept alive, even amidst lifes hurts and disappointments. And the vision of the Trinity is this: that God is our Father, that Jesus lives and cares for us, that the Spirit of God sanctifies us, that we are Gods people. Rejoice in this mystery of love.

Next week: a sermon at a D.C. congregation.


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