By Father Anthony F. Raso
Last month, I experienced the first Mothers’ Day of my life as an “orphan.” My father passed away in 1986, and last January, my mother went home to Heaven to join him and her own mother and all of those whom she had loved so dearly in this world. It was surely a happy Mothers’ Day for her.
For me, it was a day of mixed emotions. Did I miss her, especially on that day? You bet I did. On the other hand, her last two years were a time of great suffering for her, and when the Father in Heaven called her home on Jan. 26, that Good Friday ended for her and her Easter Sunday began. I’m sad for me, but I’m happy for her. Also, I’ll see her again someday, and that is a wonderful thought.
When you have been raised in a family, as my brother and I were, that was united by love, you will never be truly alone That experience of family love leaves its mark on your heart, and nothing can ever erase it.
After you lose someone you love, you are still a member of a family, you on earth and your family in Heaven. That is a comforting thought now and a beautiful thought for the future. You never “were” loved; you are loved for all eternity.
It is just this wonderful reality that we are celebrating today on this Feast of the Most Holy Trinity. From the very beginning of time, as our First Reading from the Book of Proverbs tells us, God was always there, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, preparing a place for us here and a better place yet for us in Heaven.
Both of these places are ready for us as soon as we are conceived because, through the love of the Holy Trinity, we too have become members of the Family that created us: “When the Lord established the Heavens, I – the Holy Spirit – “was there. Then was I beside Him as His craftsman … and I found delight in the human race.”
From the very beginning of time, the Holy Spirit of God was beside us, not merely protecting us but “delighting” in us like a mother playing with her newborn daughter or son. The image we are presented with today is unmistakably that of a God Who loves us. We were His own from the first beat of our hearts and always will be because once we are loved, especially by God, there I no force on earth or in the Heavens that can change that love. The first Word of God that we hear today reminds us of that and we will never lose that love. It is eternal.
That is what Jesus is telling us in the Gospel of John today. The Apostles are not quite ready to understand all of His teachings – they will be soon but not quite yet – but He will be sending His Holy Spirit to them soon, and they will then be enlightened in His truth and ready to proclaim that truth to all the nations.
Pentecost will make them ready to shine the light on all people who need that light so much: “He will not speak on His own but He will speak what He hears … He will glorify Me because He will take from what is Mine and declare it to you.”
That will happen, not because the apostles are perfect: They will never be perfect, and a large part of their greatness will lie in the fact that in all humility they know that truth, but they will be ready to do their best because they will have realized how much God, Father, Son and Spirit, has loved them, and that love will be the wind at their backs and the fire in their minds always – not just on Pentecost Sunday, but always.
This is no less true for us: If we realize, accept and rejoice in the fact that God loves us and believes in us unconditionally, there is no good work that we cannot do. A loving mother and father believe in their children because they love them so much. If this is true of them, how much more is it true of God?
Of course, even children who come from the most loving of families will still have moments of sadness: The little boy who scrapes his knee and runs home to his mother. The young girl who is unlucky in her first love and needs the support, understanding and sympathy of her parents; the young couple who lose a child and seek the solace of their own parents because they have lost a grandchild too now.
If we are good Christians and serve the most Holy Trinity with all of our efforts, some of those efforts may sometimes seem too weak.
However, even then God will be there, right at our side. As St. Paul tells the Church in Rome today: “We can boast of our affliction, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance character and… character hope, and hope does not disappoint.”
The world may disappoint us and we will certainly disappoint ourselves, but God will never disappoint us. The Family of the Trinity has always loved us and always will love us. When we place our hope in that love, we are the wisest people in the world because we are remembering that we too are members of the blessed Family.
Readings for the Feast Of the Most Holy Trinity
Proverbs 8: 22-31
Psalm 8: 1-9
Romans 5: 1-5
John 16: 12-15
Father Raso is a parochial vicar at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Dyker Heights.