Most Holy Trinity Sunday MMVI (Google Earth Homily)

Homily — Trinity Sunday                       June 11, 2006

Google Earth

         There is a fascinating, but not that well known, program on the Internet called Google Earth.   Most people are familiar with Google Earth’s big brother, Google search engine.  Even if you are computer illiterate you probably know they are making billions of dollars, and that if you want to look up something on the web, you go to Google and type in the thing you are looking for.
             Well, Google’s kid sister, Google Earth, is somewhat different.  It’s a free program that you have to download from Google’s Website in order to use it.   Once you’ve downloaded it (which takes only about 5 minutes), you are now ready to see the world from where you are sitting.
             Start by typing in your home address, street city state and country.  In seconds, you will be staring at a photograph of your home taken by an airplane at 1000 ft altitude in the Fall of 2000.   By using the arrow keys on the keyboard, or by dragging the mouse, you can follow the road you live on all the way to Church, or you can just type in 1200 Mendon Rd, and there St. Joseph’s is from 1000 ft above.  There’s the Rectory.  You can even see Father Blain’s old Blue Grand Marquis, and Fr. Moe’s Toyota.  There’s Kay’s Restarant, Chipman’s Corner.
            But here’s comes the real fun part:  take the little wheel that’s on your mouse and slowly turn it.  The Church gets smaller and smaller as you begin to go higher and higher in altitude.  You now see all of Woonsocket and Blackstone Valley, then the familiar shape of Cape Cod, all of Narraganset Bay, and all of North and then South America as the aerial photos become satellite photos.
            Finally, you reach the stratosphere and beyond, and there’s the earth from 37,000 miles away from you.  You’ve just gone from 1000 ft altitude to 195 million feet altitude in 10 seconds with the wonders of computer technology.  It would be great if they come out with a deluxe version that allows you to turn the mouse wheel back even more, so that you see the galaxy from a distance and even the universe from a distance.

            The Feast the Church celebrates today, Trinity Sunday, is kind of like a spiritual version of Google Earth — we might call it “Google Heaven”.   We start with looking at a man, soon we are rising to look at God the Father.  But then, we rise higher and see God the Son, then on an even higher plane we see God the Holy Spirit, and finally we get as high as one can metaphysically go, and there we gaze upon the Most Blessed Trinity:  One God in Three Persons.
            Now, with Google Earth, you can start any place on earth, and begin your ascent into outer space.  But there’s only one place a person can start if he or she wishes to end at the heights of the Blessed Trinity.  We must start our journey to God with the man named Jesus Christthe Way, the Truth, and the Life.
            It is only through the Humanity of Jesus — His words, His actions, His teaching and His Seven Sacraments — that we come to know God the Father.  Noone comes to the Father except through Me.
            Through the humanity of Jesus, we come to know fully the One who Moses spoke of in the first reading, when Moses said to the Israelites “ask generations past, look through the history of humankind, ask from one end of the sky to the other, Did anything so great ever happen before?  Is there any God better than the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?  The LORD is God of all, there is no other.”
            The Old Testament gives us a taste of God’s goodness and greatness;  Jesus in the New Testament affirms these words of Moses and shows us how the Lord is even greater and holier still.
            But as the early disciples came to know God the Father more deeply through Jesus, they also began to see that Jesus was more than just a man.  Jesus was also God!  Jesus said The Father and I are One . . . .The Father is in me and I am in the Father.  These are either words of a mad man or a God man.  And if that wasn’t enough, the Father Himself at Jesus’ Baptism and again at His Transfiguration says This is my beloved Son, listen to Him.
            It was crystal clear to the early disciples that God the Father and God the Son were two persons, yet one God.  They couldn’t understand it, but they without a doubt believed it.   But Jesus takes us higher and deeper still into the mystery of the inner life of God:  He reveals to us a Third Person:  God the Holy Spirit.
            Jesus said If you love me you will keep my commandments.  And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of Truth. . . . Amen, Amen, It is better for you that I go, for if I do not go, the Advocate will not come.
             Jesus doesn’t say that the Father will come to us.  He doesn’t say that the Father will send the Son back to us to be our Advocate.  No, the Father will send another Advocate:  the Spirit.
            And since it’s better that Jesus goes so that the Advocate comes, the Spirit must also be God, because it wouldn’t be better for us if God left earth and something less than God was sent as a substitute.
            And so too, from the beginning of the Church at Pentecost, Christians have emphatically acknowledged Three Persons to be God:  the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Yet they just as emphatically proclaimed only One God.
            And so, high high above our starting point here on earth with Jesus of Nazareth, we have arrived at the heights of Mystery:  we gaze by faith upon the Most Blessed Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Divine Communion of Persons.
            A mystery not meant to baffle us, but to ennoble and enrich us.


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