While on my priest retreat this year, during my downtime, I watched a few movies. The first one I watched was called, “Of Gods and Men.” It was about nine Trappist monks who lived in a small town in Algeria. They prayed, raised their garden, and interacted with the Muslim people of the village. One of the monks was a doctor so he treated the poor people of the village. They were there in a time of unrest and at times the monks’ lives were even threatened, but they choose to stay out of love of God. Seven were eventually killed for a reason that still has not been discovered. My point in telling this story is that the monks lived on day by day knowing that doom was upon them, yet they lived in such love and tenderness towards each other and the people they served. As each was able to come to terms with their most likely death, their peace increased. How does this story mean something for this Sunday? It means something for me because of the nature of the Trinity. The Trinity is a relationship of Love. They drew their strength to love outside of the Trinity because of their interior love within the Trinity.
The readings today are beautiful and make different statements about God, but they all talk about God coming and being with His people who are a stiff necked people who don’t accept Him. I was once celebrating Mass in a parish and I was hurt at what was being used to celebrate Mass. The chalices were dirty and in ill repair; they were tarnished and corroded inside. They were something that no one would use in their personal homes. I have never witnessed camping gear that was so bad. It was so bad that tears formed in my eyes that our Lord was so poorly loved and we had to put Him in this filthy junk. I questioned whether or not I should celebrate Mass. In my meditation, the Lord spoke to me on how He comes to me, a filthy and sinful person, and if I weep for this dishonour of the Lord, shouldn’t I weep for all the times I have put Him into something even more filthy – myself - full of sin myself, full of distractions myself, full of judgement myself, totally unprepared for such a great mystery? It is amazing to me that our Lord just doesn’t stay in heaven and cut Himself off from us. It is though He almost can’t help Himself for His great love of us, for His undeserving people, makes Him choose to love us. Isn’t it so amazing how much God loves us, how He desires for us to know and experience His love here and now and not only does He want us to love Him, He also wants us to choose to love one another.
In today’s Second Reading, St Paul said to greet each other with a holy kiss. Isn’t that beautiful? It, of course, is not happening, but it would if we first accepted the love of the Holy Trinity. Then, like the Holy Trinity, we could love others as the Trinity love others, not because they deserve it, but because they need it and we too would desire what is good for each other. Our Church would become a haven of transformation if each of us here did two things. First if we choose to accept the love of the Trinity and daily embraced that reality. Second, if, after we accepted that love, we choose to love others here and people who come would say, “See how they love one another.” Love is a gift from God that we must first receive. They would see the incarnation, the love of the Trinity in our lives and they would want to come here. Sinners would have hope here because there would be the love they were looking for in sin and they could live without regret. Love is something that you and I will choose to accept and choose to give. It is not an impulse such as, “I want to be with this person because they make me happy.” That is not love for that has to do with self. Love is dying. Jesus says that whoever chooses to die will live and whoever chooses to live will die. This is what love is - it is a death. The more we die, the more we will live. For instance, if you choose not to forgive those who hurt you, you are trying to live but you are dead because the person has control over your life, over your misery. If you choose to die, then you will live because the person no longer has power over you. No one whips a dead horse. Forgiveness is a death that leads to life. Unforgiveness is a life that leads to death. We must start choosing today to accept God’s love and then choosing to love one another. Look around the Church - do we love these brothers and sisters here? Do we even know them? We must start.
During the retreat I received a strong message from God. He repeated Himself three times. I have thought about it often and felt I should do something but I was too much of a chicken. But, since God told me three times, I will now be leaving the Church open so that people can have more access to the Blessed Sacrament. I encourage you to stop by and see Him and sit in the presence of the Love of the Most Holy Trinity. The Holy Trinity wants to share their love with you so that you and I can start loving each other and draw more of God’s people back to Him.