Trinity Sunday Homily by Fr. Guerric Heckel
7 June 2020
The representation of the 15th century icon, Trinity, created by Andrei Rublev hanging at the front of the Church today in many ways is “the icon of icons” doing what icons do best attempting to point beyond itself, inviting in its viewers a sense of both the beyond and the communion that exists in our midst.
The artist’s intention was to tell the story from Genesis 18: 1- 8 where Abraham and Sarah saw the presence of the Holy One in the three visitors, depicted as angels, who came to visit them announcing the child to born to them in their old age. Their first instinct was one of invitation and hospitality – to create a space of food and drink for them. But down through the ages this icon has been seen as a depiction of the Trinity.
In this time of struggle with massive immoral inequalities and reprehensible actions on so many levels, we need such an image that portrays the divine inclusivity – all are welcome, all belong. There is no pyramid with one on top and others below.
This icon influenced Richard Rohr very much as he wrote his book on the Trinity, The Divine Dance. In some of the research he did on this icon, there appears to be on the front of the holy icon a place where a mirror may well have been placed. It is stunning when you think about it – there was room at this table for a fourth, the observer, You!
It is clear from the icon what is important are relationships. The figures seem to be communicating with one another, speaking and listening, seated around a table which is always a symbol of intimacy and unity.
This notion of relationship finds a very tender and beautiful expression in our first reading today from Exodus 34. The Lord reveals himself to Moses on Mount Sinai and Moses begs the Lord, “If I find favor with you, O Lord, do come along in our company.” It is a very touching moment of invitation from Moses. The rest of the Scriptures tell us that the Lord does indeed “come along” with the nation.
Now, on this Holy Trinity Sunday we still celebrate the presence of the Lord among us. We celebrate that presence as a Triune God as Creator God, Jesus, our brother and the Spirit, our advocate. As we celebrate the presence of that Lord who has come along with us as a nation, we ask that Triune God not – what are we to do? but who are we to become? as we deal with pandemic upon pandemic.
We hear in our Gospel John 3:16 -18 today, “God so loved the world that he gave us his only Son.” Love does so much as to give us Jesus who in turn sends his own Spirit because of love. We are bound to God in this relationship of love. We are part of it. Nothing we can ever say or do can break this bond.
Martin Luther King says, “We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. When we discover that we will be able to make the old world a new world.”
Love is the only way. Our mission is to continue to spread the love of the Trinity in our personal lives and beyond. There is no other way through these troubling and desperate times on a perilous journey and we don’t know where, or when it will end.
Fr Bryan Masingale a brilliant black theologian was asked on an interview this past week, “What will Catholics be returning to when they go back to Church this weekend?” He said, “It is the feast of the Holy Trinity. We profess and believe in a God in whom one finds diversity without subordination and distinction without separation or division. We teach the Trinity as a model for human society and for advocating justice.”
I shared with our communal lectio group yesterday that because of the protective environment I live in, I have not felt the brunt of coronavirus. I don’t feel the violence against persons of color or the panic of unemployment. For the past several weeks I have been a consumer of the news and not a participant in the news. In other words, I have found it hard to lean into the pain and sorrow of others enough to allow it to break my heart and stir within me a grief strong enough to break me apart and rebuild me as a human person.
As I read the news today I am profoundly grateful for the ones who have been changed by the events of the day – the tens of thousands peacefully demonstrating in DC and in large and small cities around the country. I am touched by the thousands who are marching across the globe in solidarity with the protesters in this country. Leaders of other countries kneeling to honor George Floyd whose cry “I can’t breathe” has been heard around the world.
I would like for you to consider with me that this might be the work of the Spirit being poured out in our day. Is this not the grace of the Holy Trinity at work before our very eyes? The dying words of George Floyd have been the catalyst drawing people of all ages , classes, cultures, and countries to confront the racist virus within ourselves, our nation, our Church and our global family and to begin healing the trauma caused by this egregious wound to humanity.