by Fr. Tommy Lane
We like to belong. We like to belong to a family, to a parish, to a community. No one is an island and we need the love, support and friendship of others in our family and community. Not only do we like to belong, we need to belong. It is not good to be alone. It is for our good to belong. When people move into a town you would hear them say that the people made them welcome or you might hear them say that they joined all the clubs and societies to try to get know the people and they still felt as outsiders. No one wants to feel as an outsider. We all want to belong. Above all we want and need to belong to our family. When we grow up in a happy family we are well set up for life. If the family environment is less than happy it may leave a scar but those scars can be healed. If they are not all healed before marriage can you be such a loving husband or wife that you can help to heal those scars?
Before the time of Jesus people called God “Yahweh” because Yahweh is the name given to God very often in the Old Testament. It goes back to when Moses saw the bush burning and asked God his name. “I am who I am” was the name God gave himself (Ex 3:14) which became “Yahweh.” In the first reading (Deut 4) Moses reminds the people that they belong to God. What God did for them by leading out of the slavery of Egypt with many miracles, God did not do for any other people. Therefore Moses asks them to always remember that the Lord is God and to keep his commandments.
Then Jesus came and we knew that there were two persons in God. Before Jesus ascended he promised the Holy Spirit who came at Pentecost and then we knew there were three persons in God. God is a Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is the happiest of families. They are totally united in love for each other. The Father loves the Son, and the Son loves the Father. We call this love of the Father for the Son, and the love of the Son for the Father, the Holy Spirit.
Jesus taught us about his Father. He called his Father, “Abba.” (Mark 14:36) In the language of Palestine at the time of Jesus (Aramaic), that means, “Daddy.” The Father is Jesus’ Daddy. In the second reading today, (Rom 8:14-17) Paul also refers to the Father as Abba, Daddy.
Jesus also taught us about the Holy Spirit. He called the Holy Spirit the Counselor or Paraclete (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7); in other words the Holy Spirit is interceding or mediating for us. The Holy Spirit is for us. In the second reading today, (Rom 8:14-17) Paul said the Spirit we received is not a spirit of slavery but a Spirit assuring us that we are sons and daughters of God. It is a Spirit that makes us call our heavenly Father, “Abba.”
Because God’s family is such a happy family, God wants to share the happiness of that family with us. God invites us to belong and we enter God’s family when we are baptized. That is why in the Gospel we heard Jesus commanding that all be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Matt 28:19). God wishes that all belong to his family. When we were baptized we became sons and daughters of God. That can roll off the tongue so easily, “sons and daughters of God,” but it would be good to stop and think about it. Imagine, you are sons and daughters of God! You were adopted as God’s son or daughter on the day you were baptized. We belong to God. Jesus is the Son of God, and you are also a son or daughter of God. What does that mean? It means Jesus is your brother! We belong. Imagine, since the day you were baptized Jesus is now your brother. His father is also your father, Abba, your Daddy. Since your baptism you belong to the family of the Trinity. As I have said to you previously, we do not think of each other often enough as sons and daughters of God, and as brothers and sisters. There is one exception to this, that is the Legion of Mary who call their members “brother” or “sister” during their meetings. It is a beautiful reflection of the spiritual reality that we are in fact all brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of the one Father, Abba. We belong.
If you are the son or daughter of a rich father you would expect your father to leave you something in his will. You would then be called an heir and we would say you inherited from your father. We are all sons and daughters of a rich father. He is the richest of fathers. He is a multi-billionaire. He is Abba, our Father in heaven. There is no end to the riches he has. Because you are his son or daughter since baptism you will inherit his riches. You are an heir to God’s riches. The second reading today states, “And if we are children we are heirs as well: heirs of God and coheirs with Christ…” (Rom 8:17) Jesus inherits from the Father but since you are Jesus’ brother or sister, and you are a son or daughter of Abba, you too will inherit. That is why Paul in the second reading today says we are co-heirs with Christ. What will we inherit? We will inherit riches so unimaginable that will make all the riches of this world put together seem like nothing. The riches of heaven will show that all the materialism of our culture is foolishness. We think this is important (holding up money) but instead this is what is really important (holding up baptism cert), our baptism cert. The baptism cert is a copy what the Pastor wrote in the Register of Baptisms on the day you were baptized. This (money) is worth only £20, but this (baptism cert) is priceless. It shows you belong to the family of the Trinity.
We like to belong to our family, our parish, our community. Not only that, we need to belong. We make great efforts to belong. Since the day you were baptized you belong to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. How privileged you are to grow up in such a beautiful family. Turn to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in prayer every day. You belong to their family.
Glory be to the Father,
More homilies for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
Related Homilies: The Most Holy Trinity: Abba, Emmanuel, Helper