The Holy Trinity, Year C

We have two homilies by Father Hanly for
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Year C.
We have a recording and transcript for each homily.

Two Homilies:

The Image of God

The Image of God

Father Hanly’s very moving homily for The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Year C, builds to a beautiful conclusion.

Readings for The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Year C

  • First Reading: Acts 14:21-27
  • Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 145:8-9, 10-11, 12-13
  • Second Reading: Revelation 21:1-5
  • Gospel: John 13:31-33, 34-35

Recording

Transcript

Yesterday, I was having supper with Father Lee, or it was lunch time, and he looked at me and he said, “Tomorrow is the feast of the Holy Trinity.”

And I waited for something else, but that’s all he said.

And I realised what the other half of that is, if someone reminds you, this is the day that the priest is very hesitant to talk because this is the deepest of all mysteries.

The idea that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and yet one God, has been the teaching of the Church since the very beginning, so we know it is revealed doctrine, but if somebody asks you to explain it then it’s rather difficult.

And that’s a good thing.

There’s an old story about a man goes up to the mountain to meet the guru.

And the guru is sitting there and kind of half nodding. And he shoves him a little bit and he wakes up. And the guru says, “What can I do for you?”

And the man says, “Well, I’ve come from the United States, and I heard you are a very wise man, so what I really want to do is I want you to explain to me God, so that I will do my best to worship Him the way you do.”

And he was a very nice man and the guru says to him, “A god that you can explain is not a god that you should worship.”

And this is true.

“God dwells in inaccessible light,” says John.

And that would put us in our place. So everything that we say about God is sort of a puzzling out in a human way.

And, fortunately, God has become a human being and made it so much easier.

The wonderful thing about the Incarnation, that God looked down upon us with great love and He realised that the only way that they could begin to understand Him would be for Him to make the first move.

And so the Incarnation took place and He became man, body and soul, and experienced the life, the whole life, of humanity. And this was His Son, Jesus.

And because of that, we can say many things about God.

We call God “Father” and indeed He is our Father.

We can call God our brother and indeed He is our brother Jesus who walks with us through life.

And we call God the Holy Spirit, for Jesus says, “There is another who comes after me. This is the Spirit. And He will fill you with the understanding and knowledge of all that the Father has given to me, He will give to you.”

And so we walk in the spirit of God, the deep love of God, we walk with the Father and call him Father, we walk with the Son and call him Son, and we’re enveloped in the love that binds us all together.

Basically, the Trinity is not a doctrine to be understood. Basically, it is a way of living with the great unknown, but now revealed by Jesus, of God the Creator, God the Redeemer and God the Saviour.

There is an old story which I’ve told before. It’s a story about a gypsy man.

A gypsy man goes into a village that has a little fountain in the middle of the square. And he’s drinking heartily from the water.

And there’s a little boy watching him because, after he drinks, he keeps looking into the water and looking into the water and looking into the water as if somebody was down in the water that he was maybe talking to.

So the little boy runs over and he says, “Excuse me but who lives in the water?”

And the gypsy man smiles at him and he says, “God lives in the water.”

“Can I see him?” the little boy says.

“Sure you can.” He picks up the little boy and puts him over the well so he can look deep down into the water.

And the boy looks deep down into the water for a time and he’s waiting and, finally, he says, “I don’t see anything. I only see myself in the water.”

The gypsy man smiles and he says, “Yes, that’s where you’re going to find God, for he lives in you, yourself.”

It’s a kind of a lovely way of putting where we should be looking for the Trinity.

We’re not supposed to be looking for Him outside, or in books of philosophy, or all these wondrous explanations or attempts to try to understand the mysteries of the world.

You’ve got to look into your own heart. You are made in the image and in the likeness of God.

Think about that now. And spend the rest of your life trying to puzzle it out.

What does it mean to be made in the image of God?

Well, it doesn’t mean physically, but it does mean spiritually. It means that God has created you out of love in order that you might love Him in return. And it is indeed His love with which we love each other.

If you want to know who God is and what does He do and how He works, you must begin with love. Because as St John, the author of these gospels, himself says, “God is love.”

If you refuse to love, you will never know who He is. If you refuse to reach out in care for all His human beings around you, you will never know who He is.

Because God has come and He hides Himself in our own hearts, and the name of that hidden place is God’s love.

So today we celebrate the arrival of God’s love, for God is love, and how He swoops us up into a new understanding that when we love each other, we are loving God; and when we reach out to each other, we are welcoming God; and when we care for each other, we are caring for God.

And does God need care?

Look at the cross. There He waits, looking down. He came out of love and received a crucifixion instead. He came to bring joy and He spent His life much in tears.

And this is the real lesson of God. The real lesson is when we look at the cross and see the weakness and we see the need and we see something that moves, not our minds and understanding of what it is to be immortal, but our God on a cross seeking love.

And when we give Him that love, the only way we can give Him that love is by sharing His love with each other.

And that is the great mystery, that in some mysterious way our love for each other will dry the tears of God Himself.

So let us celebrate the Trinity, not as some obscure doctrine of two thousand years, but as the life that we must lead.

It is the giving of ourselves, it is the forgiving of God that we share with each other.

And this is what makes life with God eternal.

To be one with Him is to love each other and to experience the eternity of God’s life, one with the Father, one with the Son and filled with the Holy Spirit.


“Hooray for God!”

“Hooray for God!”

Father Hanly’s homily for The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Year C, invites us to say “Hooray for God!”

Readings for The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Year C

  • First Reading: Acts 14:21-27
  • Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 145:8-9, 10-11, 12-13
  • Second Reading: Revelation 21:1-5
  • Gospel: John 13:31-33, 34-35

Recording

Transcript

Today, as you know, we celebrate the Most Holy Trinity.

This is the one and only day — in all the Feast Days, in all the masses, everything — it’s the one day that we actually celebrate God.

It’s God’s day: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit – three persons, one God.

And so I suppose we should say, “Hooray for God!” because this is their day.

I will start with a little jingle. It’s a very old song which used to be sung in church and it’s a tribute to the Holy Trinity:

All hail, adored Trinity;
All hail, eternal Unity;
O God the Father, God the Son,
And God the Spirit, ever One.

Today is all about God. But we have to be careful, and we begin with a bit of a warning, and the warning comes from St Paul. Before we start talking about God, he quotes: “God dwells in inaccessible light.”

There’s a story of a young man who climbs up a sacred mountain and finds at the summit the aged holy man in deep meditation. Probably he’s asleep. Anyhow, he wakes him up.

“What do you want?” the holy man says.

And the boy answers, “I want you to explain God to me so that I too may learn how to worship Him properly.”

And the old man smiles and he says to the boy, “A god that can be explained is not a god that anyone should worship.”

What do you think about that? A god that can be explained is not a god that should be worshipped.

The awesome God is beyond our grasp, beyond all telling, inexplicable, incomprehensible, inaccessible.

Why?

For He is divine and we are merely human beings.

But fortunately for us all, it is also written, “God so loves the world that He offers His only Son that everyone who puts their faith in Him may have eternal life.”

Of course, this is a very special, a very, very special gift.

And the one we are talking of is God’s only Son.

Where does he live?

First we ask where does God live?

God is the hidden treasure, the hidden treasure, and there is a story that goes with it.

A gypsy man stopped at the well in the town square for a drink of water and, after he drank, he continued gazing into the well very deeply and mumbling to himself as if he was looking down and talking to somebody.

And a little boy was there and he ran over. And he saw, though the man was big and brawny, he had a kindly face, so he approached him and he asked, “Who lives down there?”

“God does. God does,” answered the gypsy man.

“Can I see Him too?” asked the little boy.

“Of course, you can,” said the gypsy man picking him up in his arms and lifting the little boy so he could look down deep into the well.

But all the little boy could see was his own reflection in the water below.

Disappointed, he turned to the gypsy man. “All I can see is me,” he said.

And the gypsy man laughed and he smiled and he said, “Ah, now you know where God lives. God lives in you.”

Blessed be God, the God of power and might, God lives in you.

In a very kind of special vocabulary we say God, the indwelling God, is a triune God.

God is Father, God is Son, God is Holy Spirit.

A caring father who creates us, a caring brother who is born for us and dies for us and lives also when he rises again for us, now and forevermore. And, of course, the third person, a Holy Spirit who inspires us, comforts us and guides us safely home.

Blessed be the Trinity, a community of love.

Blessed be God, especially today, the God of power and might, the God who loves us, the God who lives in us, the God who dwells among us and is in our hearts.

To know God is to love God, and to love God is to serve God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

And then we come to understand that it is not we who serve God, but indeed it is God who is serving us.

He is our creator, He is our Father.

God the Son who was born to us, lives with us now. He has died and risen and takes on a new life and always with us. As he himself has said to his disciples, “I am with you all days, even to the end of the world.”

And Jesus sends us God the Holy Spirit to teach us, to comfort us, to guard us and guide us safely home.

This is not a God to be admired at a distance.

And the only way to find that God is like the little boy. You must look into your own heart, and if you can’t find Him there, He doesn’t exist.

God is to be cherished and loved – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – cherished and followed all the days of our lives into eternity.

And as the saying goes, blessed is the Trinity, because the Trinity is a communion of love.

It’s all about love in the end.

And the final chapter takes place, of course, on Calvary’s Hill. On Calvary’s Hill the secret is out: God, “who dwells in inaccessible light,” wants to be, needs to be, yearns to be loved by us.

It is this vulnerability of God that we cherish most of all.

He “opens the heavens and comes down,” meeting us on our own terms, revealing Himself to us first, that we may come to know Him, and in the knowing of Him to love Him, and in the loving of Him, serve Him.

For thus it is that in the knowing and loving and serving of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – we enter the ebb and flow of the very life of God.

And so, today, the only thing we can do is praise:

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

Once a year, we say, “Hooray! Hooray for God!”

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

FAQ for Homily for The Holy Trinity, Year C

WHEN IS The Holy Trinity, Year C, IN 2019?16th June 2019
What is the next homily by Father Hanly in this Liturgical Cycle?
Corpus Christi, Year C
WHO WAS FATHER HANLY?FATHER DENIS J. HANLY WAS A MARYKNOLL MISSIONARY
HOW CAN WE FIND OTHER HOMILIES BY FATHER HANLY?BY LITURGICAL CALENDAR OR BY TOPIC OR BY TITLE

Information about Father Hanly’s homilies for The Holy Trinity, Year C

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If you would like to use our transcripts of either of these sermons (updated 2019), please contact us for permission.

Father Hanly's sermon for The Holy Trinity, Year C, "The Image of God" was delivered on 30th May 2010. Father Hanly's sermon for The Holy Trinity, Year C, "Hooray for God!" was delivered on 26th May 2013. It is sometimes hard to accurately transcribe Father Hanly's reflections, so please let us know if you think we have made a mistake in any of our transcripts, and let us have your suggestions.

We hope that Father Hanly’s homilies, always kind, always wise, always full of love, will restore you to peace and harmony through a new understanding of what is important in this world. We believe these homilies are inspiring for everyone, not only for Roman Catholics or other Christians.

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