Feast of the Holy Trinity
Fr. Mark Gatto
Preached: June 7, 2020
We do not understand the mystery of the Holy Trinity, we experience it in wonder and amazement. Nice explanations, though perhaps helpful, always fall short of capturing this mystery of God who is communion of life and love.
This is reflected in the prayer of St. Catherine of Siena. As one author says, “Catherine is so struck by the thought of God’s love that she is stunned into prayer.” (Murray, p. 111) Listen to the language she uses in describing this mystery in her Dialogue:
“Let our hearts explode wide open, then, as we contemplate a flame and fire of love so great that God has engrafted himself into us and us into himself! O unimaginable love!”
“O mad lover! It was not enough for you to take on our humanity, you had to die as well!”
“He gave his life with such blazing love.”
Catherine uses the image of fire to capture this passionate love of God, “blazing love”, “that the fire of his charity may warm your heart and soul”, “you are nothing but a fire of love.”, “the extravagant fire of God’s charity.”
Fr. Ron Rolheiser tells a story based on thoughts of G.K. Chesterton that leads us into this mystery.
“A man who was entirely careless of spiritual things died and went to hell. And he was much missed on earth by his old friends. His business agent went down to the gates of hell to see if there was any chance of bringing him back. But, though he pleaded for the gates to be opened, the iron bars never yielded.
His priest went also and argued: ‘He was not really a bad fellow, let him out, please!’ The gates remained stubbornly shut against all their voices.’
Finally his mother came, she did not beg for his release. Quietly, and with a strange catch in her voice, she said to Satan, ‘Let me in.’ Immediately the great doors swung open upon their hinges. For love goes down through the gates of hell and there redeems the damned.” (Rolheiser. Forgotten Among the Lilies. p. 163)
It is not that we understand the Holy Trinity, we have to surrender and fall into this communion and be embraced in passionate love. God’s love is not efficient nor practical. When experienced, it changes us and sends us out to live in connection with all creation and with all humanity. That communion of passionate love which is our God revealed in Jesus, is the mystery of the love we are called to live in our lives.
But, be ready to be set on fire, to be burned, to be led where you would never have imagined.
Feast Of The Holy Trinity
Fr. Mark Gatto
Preached: June 16, 2019
Do you believe in God? A More valuable question is, who is the God that you believe in?
When we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Trinity, there is a vision of God that is seen. This vision tells us something about God, but also tells us something very important about ourselves. For we were created in the image and likeness of God. So, our vision of God is also a vision for how we are to live as human beings.
God is a Trinity. God is one, yet a communion of persons, unity in diversity. We human beings are also very diverse. Different races, different cultures, different ages, different languages, different in many many ways. Yet, to be like God we are called to live in unity with our fellow human beings, to see ourselves as one human family.
This says something about our politics, about how we see refugees, how we see people of other countries, people who are different from us. Despite our differences, there is something deeper that unites us.
God is a Trinity. God is not another being but embraces all. God is not a distant separate being, God is near to us, among us, embraces everything. You cannot be away from God. You might feel far from God, but that does not change that you could not even breath for a moment without the presence of God.
This is the God who came among us in Jesus, suffered, loved, cried, and died. This is a God who understands intimately the suffering, the struggles, the hungers we human beings have. This is why you can always turn to God with complete honesty, cry with God, be angry with God, laugh with God.
God is a Trinity. God is a communion of persons, exists in relationship. Relationship, connection is the very reality of our universe. We as human beings are to see ourselves in relationship to everyone and everything.
It is for this reason that we necessarily must care about creation. All of creation is connected to us, from the smallest life form to the largest life form. From the smallest plant to the life in the deepest ocean. We are all connected to nature so must also care for it.
God is a Trinity. Lives as a community. So, we human beings are being most like God when we live in community, when we form family. The family is an image of God the Trinity. The Church is also called to be an image of God the Trinity.
This offers a big challenge to each of us to try to live in peace and harmony within our families, offers a big challenge to each of us to try to live within the church in peace and harmony like a family. We are to support one another.
So, who is the God you believe in? Each time we make that sign of the cross, we are expressing our vision of God. The God who is a communion of persons, unity in diversity. The God who is a communion of love. The God who exists in relationship. The God who lives in community.
This calls us human beings to be like this God. Live in unity within one human family including with those who are different from us. Live in faith, turning to this God trusting that this God is so close to you including in your suffering or struggles or joys. Live in connection and relationship with all creation, caring for our environment. Live with others in your family, in the church, always striving to be in peace and harmony.
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. This simple prayer, expresses so much about God and calls so much from us.
Feast Of The Holy Trinity 2018
Fr. Mark Gatto
Preached: May 27, 2018
Imagine the life of some young children in our world, especially in war zones or places of great poverty. Some of them at a young age are left alone, orphans, no parents nor family, homeless. Imagine now one of those children, orphaned and homeless, if someone caring and loving, who has a loving family and beautiful home was to come to them. If that person reaches out to take that child into their home and embraces them as their very own child. How wonderful that would be for that child.
In Baptism, this is what happens to us. God, the Holy Trinity, is not an individual solitary figure, but it is better to see God as a family. The very mystery of God is connection, love, relationship. In the Trinity, God is best seen as a loving home and family. A communion of life and love.
Jesus comes to take us by the hand and invite us to join this loving family and wonderful home, which is God, the Holy Trinity. We, like orphans and homeless, are invited into this wonderful home. This is why the greatest gift a parent can give to their child is to bring them for baptism, so that this child is received into the loving embrace of the Holy Trinity and enters the path to an eternal home.
The Sign of the Cross. One of the most ancient prayers we have. Each time we make this sign of the cross, we are reminded of our true home in the very heart of God. We make our prayer that prayer of Jesus, Abba. As adopted children we are not alone, we are not homeless, united to Jesus we are held in that loving home which is God the Holy Trinity. Whenever you feel alone, just slowly make that sign of the cross, and imagine yourself being held in that Trinity, which is a family of love.
Baptism, The sign of the cross, each are reminding us of our true home, an eternal home in the heart of God. Like God, Heaven is a mystery beyond our imagination. But, a good image is connected to this vision of the Holy Trinity, as a wonderful loving home.
Imagine you have left home for studies or work to a place far away. After many years living alone in this distant place, you finally return to your home. When you enter that door, it just feels right. This is where I belong, this is my home, this is my family.
Heaven will be something like that. As we enter eternal life in heaven, we will be received by Jesus. Like a beloved child we will be embraced in the mystery of love, the Holy Trinity. We will feel – I am back home, this is where I belong. There will be no desire to go back.
The Trinity reflects the incredible hospitality of God. A God who welcomes all types into their home. You could say that God has an open door policy. Welcomes all and receives them as their very own children. God really wants to receive you. Jesus came to invite us and take us by the hand into this new and wonderful home, a family of love.
So, if we are to be like God then we need to have the same hospitality in our lives. Do we welcome people or want to keep them out? Are we ready to receive all others as brothers and sisters or do we reject some?
This is a vision of a parish. A parish should in a sense have an open door policy. Ready to welcome and receive and embrace all types. That they feel welcomed and at home in this parish. The Trinity, as a loving family and home, should be the vision of a Catholic parish. This is my hope for this parish.
On this Feast of the Holy Trinity. We are reminded of our Baptism, when Jesus took us by the hand, orphaned and homeless, to enter the home and family of the Trinity. To be adopted as a beloved child and embraced in love. Each time we make that sign of the cross, we are reminded of that true home that is also our eternal home.
Our God, The Holy Trinity, is a beautiful and loving home and family with room for us all.