A Homily for the First Sunday after Trinity
2 June 2013
Holy Apostles Anglican Church, Pewaukee, WI
Mr. Zachary Braddock, Seminarian
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Eastertide has ended. Christ has risen and ascended, trampling down death by death and rising up into Heaven. He has sent the Holy Ghost upon us, and we have celebrated the Feasts of the Most Holy Trinity and Corpus Christi. We come now to the long green season of Trinity-tide, which will last until Advent Sunday. Trinity Sunday marks a transition of sorts, where we shift from recounting the history of the Life of Christ and re-presenting the events of Holy Scripture to a time of focusing on Life after Pentecost. This is the Life of the Church, a life into which we have been baptized and which we must live out. In a way, you could argue that from Advent to Pentecost, we learn what to believe, and from Trinity to Advent, we learn how to live what we believe, and celebrate the various mysteries of our faith.
So. Having seen that God has loved us and has therefore taken on our flesh… has lived among us… has died in our place, like a common thief… and, still loving us, has resurrected his Son from the dead, sent the Holy Spirit, empowering us to live as Christians and to utilize the sacraments, principally among them, Baptism and the Eucharist. In Baptism we die with Christ and we rise with Him. Through Baptism we are broken off from the world and grafted onto the Body of Christ. What a gift of Grace… Likewise in the Eucharist, we are drawn ever closer and strengthened as we receive Christ under Bread and Wine. So you see a common theme of Love. The Love of God, who is himself the greatest example of Love: the Holy Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Three Persons in one Being.
We… The Baptized… The Church, being loved, must let that love flow through us. We, ourselves, as Saint John instructs in the Epistle this morning, must love. “Beloved,” he says, “Let us love one another: for love is of God: and every one that loveth is born of God, and and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” Indeed, what do we hear every Sunday?
Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ saith.
THOU shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.
Love of God…. Charity towards one’s neighbor. And my neighbor is not just the person who lives on either side of me, but every soul with whom I come into contact. And so we see that Christianity is, at its core, about Love and Charity.
Should we therefore love our neighbor? Yes, of course. But loving our neighbor does mean throwing the church’s understanding of Sin out the narthex door. Loving our neighbor does not mean that we no longer acknowledge that the Father of Lies, Satan himself, wants to pull as many of us down with him into Hell as he can. Satan has already lost. He lost at the Incarnation and Resurrection. He knows that. Taking us with him into the pit is all he has left!
My brothers and sisters, DO NOT LET THE DEVIL CONVINCE YOU THAT HE ISNT REAL. He is very real, and so is Hell. Steel yourselves against the enemy. Fortify yourself. It is possible to separate yourself from God for eternity, as we see in the reading from St. Luke. No matter how much we try to relativize sin, no matter how much we tell ourselves that sin doesn’t matter… it does. When we sin, we put our souls in danger. Sin does not go away just because it is politically incorrect, it adds up, and it adds up, and it gets in the way of our relationship with God. It blinds us, and it makes it harder and harder for us to see God working and harder for us to follow Him, and yet it makes it easier and easier to fall to temptation, to succumb to sloth, greed, lust, envy and every other sin. Even more sinister, as Sin adds up, it becomes harder to recognize as Sin. Sometimes we even begin to like and to enjoy sin. Sin corrupts us.
In college, I constantly ran into people who argued that because God is love and because we should love one another, it was wrong to tell someone that they shouldn’t do something or that what they were doing was not acceptable. Turn on the news or read the newspaper, and you will see calls for “tolerance”, “acceptance”, and “love” for any number of things that are not compatible with Christian morals. But the very reason that they are not compatible with Christian morality is because they are intrinsically harmful to the person committing the action. Sin is not “progress.” Normalizing sin will not lead to a utopia in which all is peaceful and everyone is perfect. Progress… The modern idea of the “super-man” towards which we are supposedly moving, an “enlightened” version of man who has no need for God, but only his own bootstraps, will get us nowhere. Only Christ can redeem us. We can not and will not be able to “go it alone.”
So why do we evangelize? We evangelize in order to bring souls into the loving embrace of the Father; because in loving our neighbor, sometimes we have to tell them that there is a better way. Often times we have to tell ourselves that there is a better way.
Never forget that in order to convert the world, we have to convert ourselves. Never forget that in order the get the speck of dust in our neighbor’s eye, we have to get the log out of ours first. Please, make use of the sacraments. Make your confession. Receive Christ in the Eucharist as often as possible; and immerse yourself in Prayer and in the Word of God. The Prayer Book has a system for reading the Bible. There are four lessons and a selection from the psalms which you can use every day and read most of the Bible each year. Do half of it, and read the Bible every two years. Either way, please use it. You can say the Offices of Morning and Evening Prayer on your own, or with each other. If you cannot say the full offices, there are short forms in the back of the Prayer Book. Interject prayer into the little moments of life. Interject it into every moment of life. Pray, as Saint Paul instructs the Thessalonians, Pray without ceasing. Again and again and again, turn to Christ, our King and our God.
Then take what you receive through the sacraments and take it out into the world. Love your neighbor as yourself. Love your neighbor… as yourself. Show Christ through yourself, to all. Take Christ from this place, this outpost of the Kingdom, and cast the light of Christ into every corner. Plant the seeds of the Kingdom all over your neighborhoods and this neighborhood. Our work is not ended until every single person within reach of this parish knows the love of Jesus Christ.
I appeal to you, therefore, my brothers and sisters, as we proceed into this long, green, season of Trinity-tide, do not grow bored. Do not take for granted the time that you have to grow in Christ; do not take for granted what we may learn and how we may grow from simply going to Mass, saying Morning and Evening Prayer, praying on our own, and letting these form and shape our lives. Like Mary, the virgin-mother of Our Lord, let us with faith follow the path which has been set before us, trusting in God’s Will, not ours. With Peter and Paul, the Apostles, let step forward in faith, ready to be witnesses for Christ in all that we do. Alongside John the Evangelist, may we with Joy and Peace tell all those who do not know Jesus who he is and what he does.
As John Paul II once said,
“Do not be afraid to go out on the streets and into public places, like the first Apostles who preached Christ and the Good News of salvation in the squares of cities, towns and villages. This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel (cf. Rom 1:16). It is the time to preach it from the rooftops. The Gospel must not be kept hidden because of fear or indifference. It was never meant to be hidden away in private. It has to be put on a stand so that people may see its light and give praise to our heavenly Father (cf. Mt 5:15-16).”
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.