ProLifeCorner.com – 6-5-2012 – We want to share with you a wonderful homily from a dear priest friend. We’re certain you will enjoy reading it.
Trinity Sunday Homily on the Family
“Go; make disciples of all nations, baptizing them, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
Not too long ago, every one of us lost a good friend – Mr. Fred Rogers, the host and producer of the PBS series Mister Rogers Neighborhood, who died at the age of 73. In this age of the bizarre and the manipulative that masquerades as reality TV, Mister Rogers epitomized reality TV in its purest form. For 33 years, Fred Rogers, spoke frankly about everything from death and divorce to loneliness and anger, reaching out to as many as 7 million kids and their families each week.
“The world is not always a kind place,” he said. “That’s something all children learn, whether we want them to or not, but it’s something they really need our help to understand.” He believed that even the worst fears had to be “manageable and mentionable” one way or another.
In one memorable episode, clad in his trademark cardigan sweater, Mister Rogers looked straight into the camera and calmly began talking about divorce: “Did you ever know any grown-ups who got married and then later got a divorce?” he asked. And then, after pausing to let the question sink in: “Well, it’s something people can talk about, and it’s something important. I know a little boy and a little girl whose mother and father got divorced, and those children cried and cried. And you know why? Well, one reason was that they thought it was their fault. But, of course, it wasn’t their fault.”
These were some of the messages of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: Respect your children, nurture their self-esteem, listen to their concerns, and play with them. Fred Rogers undertook his life’s work, with extraordinary integrity and grace. Despite being a minister, he never preached, but then he didn’t need to: his open demeanor and gentle drawl carried greater moral authority than a thousand pulpits. The way Mister Rogers saw it, a secure and happy childhood was one of the greatest importance not because we stay children forever, but because we don’t.
Today, the Church celebrates the solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. In today’s Gospel, as Jesus prepares to ascend into heaven, His disciples undoubtedly wonder if they will ever see or experience Him again. In today’s first reading, Moses reminds the Israelites that God did not abandon them in Egypt; likewise, in the Gospel, St. Matthew assures the disciples that Jesus will not abandon His followers. After all, Jesus is Emmanuel – which means “God is with us.” Jesus tells His disciples that He is with them always until the end of the world.
This, of course, is true in a number of special and varied ways. For instance, God is present to us in a certain way in Sacred Scripture – His Word; He is present to us in another certain way in the person of the ordained Priest; He is present to us in our souls when we are in a state of grace; He is present to us in the teachings of the Church’s Magisterium – the pope and the bishops in union with him; God is especially present to us in the Church’s sacraments, particularly His “real presence” hidden under the forms of ordinary bread and wine; He is present to us in the poorest of the poor, as Mother Therese use to say; and God is present to us when two or three are gathered in His name.
But God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, is also present to us and reflected in the family. The Catechism states that; “in our own time, in a world often alien and even hostile to faith, believing families are of primary importance as centers of living, radiant faith. For this reason the Second Vatican Council, using an ancient expression, calls the family the Domestic Church. It is in the bosom of the family that parents are “by word and example…the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children.”
Now just as the life of the Holy Spirit proceeds from the love between God the Father and God the Son, so too, does the life of a human child proceed from the love between its father and mother. The human family is a direct reflection of the most Holy Trinity. There is an unbreakable bond between the processions of the Divine Persons, which is imaged in the human marriage and family, by way of marital intimacy, and by which human intelligent life and love become personified. The human marriage is intended by God to reflect the unbreakable bond of life and love of the Most Holy Trinity. In other words, “you can’t have one (love) with the other (life).”
As a result, any intimate act which does not contain, or acts as a substitute for, the act of unitive love and procreative life, does not reflect the unbreakable bond intended to reflect the unbreakable bond of love and life of the Trinity. For instance, intimate pre-marital relations and intimate extra-marital relations lack commitment to the partner or to children and so violate the unbreakable bond of love; Artificial contraception, non-medical sterilization, in-vitro fertilization and other certain reproductive technologies, and abortion, violate the unbreakable bond of life since they are not open to life and even kill life; and same-sex acts or any other intimate act which are not capable of producing life violates the unbreakable bond of life.
Violations of the unbreakable bond of life and love in the human marriage and family are violations against the image of the Most Holy Trinity, and are serious. Since the demons in hell can’t attack the Trinity directly, they attack indirectly through these types of acts via the marriage and family. Widespread acceptance and practical use of these prohibitions against the unbreakable bond of life and love certainly contribute in a very real way to the high divorce rate in our country.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, Mister Rogers is the model of the “teacher” Christ calls His first disciples to become in today’s Gospel. His gentle, loving and respectful approach to marriage, family and children mirrors the ministry of teaching that Christ calls His Church to undertake. We have been called, as Christ’s disciples in this time and place, to teach what we have seen and heard, to pass on to others “everything Jesus has commanded us to observe” through our imitation of the Most Holy Trinity’s love and life.
On this solemnity of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, the daughter, the mother, and the spouse of God, for her prayers that may we become good teachers of the Catholic Faith, in the home – the domestic church, in the workplace, and everywhere else God commands us to go to make disciples of all the nations.
Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us!