Monday, May 19, 2008

Trinity Sunday 2007

June 3rd 2007 will always be a very special day for me. This is the date of my very first mass! As it happens this was the solemnity of the Most Blessed Trinity. I can hardly believe its been a year! Since this past Sunday we celebrated this solemnity, and I had the honor to preach again, here is the text of the very first homily I preached at St Michael's almost a year ago.


As you well know by know two weeks ago I had the very humbling honor to stand in front of our bishop, Cardinal William H. Keeler along with 8 other men to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. To me the most moving part of the ceremony was the imposition of hands by the bishop. This part of the rite comes directly from apostolic times; in fact the book of Acts describes how the apostles laid hands on the very first 7 deacons of the church, before sending them to minister to the first Christian community.
4 years ago I started the formation process to become a Deacon. And, throughout this time the prayers and good wishes of many of you, my brothers and sisters, have been with me. There have been times during this process that because of these prayers for my family and me, the words of today’s Gospel have been true in my life. I have felt how the Spirit of the Lord was guiding me. This is why I would like to share with you something that happened to me during my ordination.
Like I mentioned before, there is a part of the ceremony in which the Cardinal imposes his hands over each one of the candidates, while praying silently. I must admit I was expecting a different feeling from the hands of this 76 years old man, a man that has met 5 different popes, a man that a few minutes before had recalled how he remembered being present when the bishops of the second Vatican council had discussed and agreed to reinstate the permanent diaconate in our church.
As I was on my knees, I was expecting a gentle and fragile touch instead I was surprised by how young and strong His hands felt on my head. As I was walking to my seat I kept thinking about where have I felt these hands before? You see my dad used to be a construction worker, he has used his hands all his life, his hands know very well the mark tools and hard labor. But most importantly, I have been in the receiving end of those hands before! So I can recognize the hands of a working man.
It was in this moment as I was taking my seat with the other Deacons that the impact of what has just happened hit me.
The hands that had touch me were not the hands of “a prince of the church” they were the hands of a laborer, they were hard, strong hands, used sweat and to hard work. At this moment I realized in my heart that the hands that touched me, the hands that were ordaining me, were the hands of a carpenter.
Why am I telling you this? Well, today is the one Sunday in the liturgical year in which the homily is supposed to center on the Most Blessed Trinity and the nature of our Triune God. As I was preparing for this day I was torn between spending my time in a long theological explanation aiming at making you understand that; which can not be understood by any human means… or I could share with you how this same God that we profess, Father, Son and Holy Spirit have touched my life in a profound way during my ordination.
The choice was a simple one. You see, we live in a world where skepticism is a badge of honor. We are conditioned to understand before we can believe. In this Sunday, God comes to us and says “I want you to believe before you can understand”. This is what Paul means when he says by our faith we are justified. God doesn’t want us to understand him but to believe in him; only them can we enter into an intimate relationship with Him.

The hands of the Carpenter of Nazareth want to touch each one of us today. For this to happen we need to abandon our own skepticism. We need to realize that we are spiritual beings, that there is a spiritual dimension to each one of us and that spiritual reality is at the very core of our beings. It is in this core where our Triune God resides. It is in this interior world that if we allow it, we can experience the grace of The father, the love of The Son and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
Let me put it this way: There is not one person in this church young or old, that has never felt un-loved, or lonely, or even abandoned, and there is not one person in this church that at one time or another have not felt the consolation that comes from being a child of God. Think about it, it does not have to be a life changing experience, because our God acts in mysterious ways… A word of encouragement from a friend. A song on the radio, even the smile of some unknown person, all these things can reach deep into our souls and open the doors of that place in which our God is waiting to enter and dwell within us to provide the hope and the consolation that is free to us because of our Trinitarian baptism, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
To feel the hands of the carpenter of Nazareth, we just need to leave our skepticism behind and recognize his presence in our lives.
Again I would like to thank you for your prayers and good wishes during the last four years. I know that some of you might be thinking “What is this guy talking about I have never seen him before in my life”. But you are part of the body of Christ, your presence in this church is the reason why our Lord called me to serve you. I’m grateful for the opportunity I have been given by our God. And pray that through the grace of our Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we can get to know each other, and participate together in the community of love that is the Body of Christ.