Message: Do not be afraid to trust Jesus and invite others to faith.
At the Monroe prison one of the guards asked me, "Father, what's the verse for the day?" It took me a moment to figure out the guard was asking for a Bible verse. Others were standing around and I felt put on the spot. Still, realizing I had a small audience, I decided to give my best shot. "God so loved the world," I said, "that he gave his only son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."
It felt good to give a simple witness - and an invitation. Now, it wasn't an invitation to dinner or an outing, but something more important. As we celebrate Trinity Sunday, I'd like to break the invitation into parts:
First, God. For many people God is only a word, but let's look at the reality: God is the Being from who all beings comes: all the galaxies, every quark and photon, all living beings. Apart from God everything (including you & me) would dissolve into nothing. God is the Fact on which every fact rests. So, first God.
Second, his Son. God has a Son. Jesus revealed himself as God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God. As we say in the Creed "consubstantial" with the Father. Same substance - like water and ice. Like a father and a son. God so loved the world he gave his only son.
Third: Believe. God gave his only Son that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life. Remember: eternal life is nothing more - and nothing less - than a relationship with Jesus. Belief means more than "oh, ya, I know that." Belief means trust. So important for us to say, "Jesus, I trust in you." When trials come, when darkness overwhelms, when - as sometimes happens - paralysis sets in, say, "Jesus, I trust in you."
So these three: God, his Son, believe. Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid to trust Jesus - and to invite others to faith. About ten days ago Archbishop Sartain ordained a new bishop to serve in Western Washington. Our new auxiliary bishop - like Archbishop Sartain - comes from part of our country where people are more open about their faith - what Jesus has done for them. In the Northwest we tend to be reticent and cold.
Archbishop Sartain reminded Bishop Mueggenborg what God said to St. Paul when he felt like pulling back. In a vision God said this: "Do not be afraid. Go on speaking and do not be silent for I am with you. No one will attack and harm you, for I have many people in this city."
Even in Seattle God has many people. For sure he has many people in this Valley. Do not be afraid to trust Jesus and invite others to faith. You and I want to do our part for Jesus' mission: "Go, make disciples of all nations baptizing them them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all I have commanded you."
Or as we say in our parish mission statement: Lift up Jesus! Love one another! Make disciples!
Life in Christ - that daily walk with Jesus - involves listening to Jesus, answering his invitation and inviting others to become disciples. None of us are here by accident. Jesus desires salvation for all, but he depends on you and me to make an invitation to life in him.
Next weekend - as we celebrate Father's Day - we have the final homily in this ten week series. We will see how Life in Christ has its high point in the Eucharist - the Body and Blood of Jesus. Today I ask you to hold this verse in your heart:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life." Amen.
From the Archives (Trinity Sunday, Year A):
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)
Take the Plunge Bible Study (audio resources)
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Fr. Brad's Homilies
Fr. Jim's Homilies
Fr. Michael White's Homilies ("messages")
Bulletin (St. Mary's Parish)
Parish Picture Album
Bulletin (St. Mary's Parish)
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru