As I Have Loved You Week 6 - Why God Delights in Us

(June 12, 2022)

Bottom line: As the Second Person of the Trinity Jesus is the Wisdom of God who delights in the human race. We have the capacity of insight that enables us to have a sense of humor and get immersed in stories. And you and I are part of God's story.

Last weekend - Pentecost Sunday - we saw Jesus' greatest gift: the Holy Spirit. He is the substantial love between Father and Son. You can understand this love in the teaching about the Trinity.

Trinity comes from the Latin "trinitas" that mean threeness. A triangle has threeness - three sides and three angles. A shamrock has trinity of leaves as St Patrick pointed out. Similarly, we know from the New Testament that God has a threeness: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. But there are not three gods, but only one God. That's why our Profession of Faith begins "I believe in One God". Then it goes on to speak of "the Father almighty" and his Only Begotten Son" Jesus who is "God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God...consubstantial with the Father".

"Consubstantial" means having the same substance. Ice and steam are distinct but they have the same substance - water. The Father and Son likewise are distinct but have the same substance - deity or divinity. And the Holy Spirit "proceeds from the Father and the Son". Him we likewise worship as God. The Holy Spirit is the substantial love between Father and Son. That's our teaching on the Trinity.

What does this teaching have to do with us? We get a clue in the first reading from Proverbs. It says this about the "wisdom of God": "from of old I was poured forth, at the first, before the earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth". The "wisdom of God" is Jesus. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul refers to Jesus as "the power of God and the wisdom of God." Proverbs then says this about the wisdom of God: "before the mountains were settled into place, before the hills, I (the wisdom of God) was brought forth". "I was his delight day by day, playing before him all the while, playing on the surface of his earth; and I found delight in the human race".

The wisdom of God is almost like a child at play. A child doesn't have to make a sand castle, but he does. God didn't have to make the universe, but he did. Physicists say that in the first instance of the Big Bang the universe was fine-tuned to produce galaxies, then eventually a planet suitable for creatures that would give him special delight. As Proverbs says, "I found delight in the human race."

Why does God delight in us? Other animals have greater agility and strength, yet only we can receive wisdom. We have a power of insight that other animals don't have. For example, we can get a joke. A Far Side cartoon shows a cow grazing in front of a house. In the next frame the cow gets up on the porch and uses her hoof to ring the doorbell. By the time the owner opens the door the cow is back innocently eating grass. The joke itself is funny because we can't a imagine a real cow playing a practical joke.

The cartoon made me chuckle, but if I showed it to Rosie she wouldn't make sense of the drawings. Now, Rosie is one of the smartest dogs ever, but the best she could do is sniff the paper. If I wanted to share the joke, I'd have to look for a fellow human. Even the dullest human, even a small child could be amused by the idea of a cow ringing a doorbell.

So God delights in the human race. Unlike other animals, we can laugh at a joke and we can also enjoy a good story. The ancient Greeks could spend three days listening to a bard recite the Iliad or the Odyssey. They would keep coming back year after year, each time enjoying it more. I envy them.

Like the ancient Greeks, we also have the capacity to get immersed in stories. One of my friends is a political junkie. He can get immersed in all details of elections and elected officials. Many people are sports fans. They know the stories about different games and sports heroes. Other people love to watch soap operas. Some of you remember Carl Sagan's series on The Cosmos. He told the story of our universe in a way that rivetted viewers.

Stories help us make sense of our world and our lives. Chesterton said, "I had always felt life first as a story: and if there is a story there is a story-teller."

Through homilies and through our faith formation program, I want to introduce our children and young people to the great Story Teller. He tells his story in the Bible and in the lives of saints. The story is about his Son Jesus - and his total self-giving. We'll see a great example next week as we celebrate Corpus Christi - the Body and Blood of Jesus.

Today we celebrate the Trinity - the threeness of the Father who eternally begets the Son, and then the Holy Spirit who is the substantial love between Father and Son. As the Second Person of the Trinity Jesus is the Wisdom of God who delights in the human race. We have the capacity of insight that enables us to have a sense of humor and get immersed in stories. And you and I are part of God's story.


From Archives (Trinity Sunday - Year C):

2021 (Year B) Calling God by His Right Name
2020 (Year A) What is Heaven?
2019 (Year C) We Want to Know
2018 (Year B) Roots
2017 (Year A): Life in Christ Week 9: Invitation
2016 (Year C)Levels of Happiness
2015 (Year B): Disciple Makers Week 9: The Final Goal
2014 (Year A): Who Look Into the Depths
2013 (Year C): The Desire to be Known
2012 (Year B): Ultimate Freedom
2011 (Year A): Origin and Goal
2010 (Year C): I Have Much More to Tell You
2009 (Year B): Purpose of Our Existence
2008 (Year A): Family as Origin and Goal
2007 (Year C): Hope Does Not Disappoint
2006 (Year B): Back to the Basics
2005 (Year A): Alone Again
2004 (Year C): I Was There
2003 (Year B): The Name
2002 (Year A): An Excellent Question
2001 (Year C): The Image Within
2000 (Year B): Out of the Midst of Fire
1999 (Year A): A Capacity for God
1998 (Year C): Foundation of the Universe

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)

Take the Plunge Bible Study (audio resources) *New episodes for Easter Season 2018*

Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.

Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron

Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)

Parish Picture Album


Divine Mercy Novena (print ready in English & Spanish)

MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru


We are drawing to the conclusion of our homily series "As I Have Loved You" We've followed Jesus on his appearances to his disciples after he rose from the dead. He gives them convincing proof that he is not a ghost, but that he continues to have a physical body. For example, he tells Thomas to touch the wounds in his hands and side. And he actually takes a baked fish and eats it in front of them. 

Jesus prepares the disciples for his departure and promises them great gifts. in fact, he gives them both a spiritual and a physical gift: one gift that is invisible to our human eyes and another that we can see, touch and taste. The invisible gift is the Holy Spirit. At the first Pentecost the Holy Spirit showed himself as tongues of flame, but normally he comes as a force or power. The fact that the Holy Spirit is invisible does not mean he is unreal. Some of the most powerful things we experience are invisible: honor, mercy and love. The Holy Spirit is the substantial love between the Father and Son.

Jesus gives us another gift and this one is visible: the Eucharist, the bread and wine that become his very Body and Blood. I think I can illustrate these two gifts by making a comparison. And it is appropriate for Father's Day. The comparison I would like to make involves my brother who died on May 10. He left two gifts for his wife and sons. One gift is physical, the other spiritual.

The physical gift involves the inheritance. Greg worked hard at Boeing and generally was frugal and a sound investor. When Marianne uses the different rooms in the home, when she drives her car, does her shopping, she knows these things speak of Greg's continued care for her. Those physical gifts are pretty obvious.

Greg also left a spiritual inheritance. My nephews could speak more to that than I could, but I will give one example. Even though Greg was a quiet, somewhat introverted man, he gave the gift of his presence to his sons and to his grandchildren. That's a huge gift. People often quote Woody Allen: "Showing up is 80 percent of life. Sometimes it's easier to hide at home in bed. I've done both."

Well, at enormous cost Jesus gives us his ongoing presence in the Eucharist. This Sunday we celebrate that presence by our Corpus Christi procession.

Now, if Jesus sacrificed everything, if Jesus went through unimaginable suffering so he could nourish us with own Body and Blood, what should be our response? Our first and most important response is simply our presence. I am asking our parishioners and families to make Sunday a day dedicated to the Lord. In the morning attend Mass and participate in faith formation. Then in the afternoon have family activities or activities aimed at personal renewal such as gardening, reading, listening to podcasts, taking a walk, etc. When we keep holy the Lord's Day, we grow in spiritual and emotional health - and the other days of the week fall into their proper perspective. 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church has a section on the Third Commandment: Keep holy the Lord's Day. Catechism 2180 The precept of the Church specifies the law of the Lord more precisely: "On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass." "The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day."

It continues:  Just as God "rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done," human life has a rhythm of work and rest. The institution of the Lord's Day helps everyone enjoy adequate rest and leisure to cultivate their familial, cultural, social, and religious lives. (#2184)

Keeping the Lord's Day is an essential part of following Jesus. More next week when we hear Jesus' invitation, "Follow me."

Jesus shows his love by the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the Eucharist - his real presence.  In return one of the greatest gifts you and I can give is our presence at Sunday worship and Sunday faith formation.   As I Have love you...