(Please click HERE for Fr. John’s Homily 
                                 “Thoughts on the deaths of two good young mothers.”
                                                                Sunday 14th May 2017.)

                                 Fr. Bernard’s Homily for 
                                            Sunday 11th June

Trinity A

John 3: 16-18
 
Today is a day for trying to do the impossible – namely to talk about God; impossible because there are no words that are adequate to describe God. As soon as we use words, we are limiting God to what those words mean. The only words that are nearest we can come are those ascribed to God himself, in response to Moses, where he said his name is: I AM.  
That means he is everything we understand by existence.
 
However imperfect our words, we can but try, not only to know about God but especially to know God. 
It helps to hear how others come to know God. 
 
St Augustine came to know God through the beauty of the natural world. 
He gazed at the sky on a cloudless night, that awesome sight of the stars and the moon; he looked at the ocean, the mountains from which the rivers came that fertilised the land and provided drinking water. 
Their sheer beauty and magnificence captivated him. 
Each of them seemed to say to him: ‘God is the one who made us.’
 
Some of you may remember when the astronauts first arrived at the moon and took a picture of earth, our planet, revealing this astonishingly beautiful blue planet  in the dark sky
 
St Augustine also looked at the harvest in autumn: he remembered the tiny seed thrown into the ground in the previous spring by the farmer who could then only watch and wait. 

Gradually the seed was nourished by the natural elements of the earth, the manure, the rain, the sun, growing into a plant, finally ripening and producing the food – the potato, the vegetable, the wheat – all our food . 
He described the process as the annual miracle, - it happens outside us and beyond us, and is something that we should never take for granted.
 
We remember this annual miracle every time we offer Mass. 
We bring bread and wine to be offered to God as our recognition that all food and drink comes from the bountiful and beautiful natural world, his wonderful creation – fruit of the earth and work of human hands.
 
 
Others recognise God in the goodness of people they encounter. It is not that all people are good, but many are, and even the most unlikely are capable of surprising acts of generosity and kindness. 
And there are those exceptional people who seem to be goodness personified.
 
Every good act indicates the presence of God’s image in that person. 

Is it a coincidence, I wonder that in the English language the words God and Good are so close?
 
St Thomas Aquinas described God as the one in whom is the perfection of all goodness. 

If you could imagine a being in whom is every virtue, every aspect of everything that we understand as good, and to a perfect degree, that is as near as we
 can get to God.  
 
I find this a most helpful way of knowing and recognising God, not because I can picture what God is like, but because in every act of kindness, of thoughtfulness,of generosity, I recognise the image of God in that person. 
In this way, God is always near, is always real.
 
 
But probably the most helpful way of knowing God is through the one God himself has given us, namely his Son, Jesus, the man Jesus about whom we can read in the Gospels. We can identify with the man. In all his actions and dealings with people, we recognise something authentic, something real, something good – yet never intimidating, never beyond what we could imagine our better self doing.
 
He told us about his Father and encourages us to think about God in that way, as the good and loving parent, always there for us even when we are less than deserving.
 
Last week we celebrated how Jesus promised that he would always be with us in his Holy Spirit – his continuing presence in each person of faith, in each community of faith, a presence of inspiration and of inner strength.
 
And so today we celebrate the Holy Trinity, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; the Creator, Jesus the man, God’s continuing abiding presence in us and among us.
 
And if we find all the speculating too heavy, we remind ourselves of what the famous psychiatrist Jung said when asked if he believed there is a God.  He replied, ‘I do not believe; I KNOW there is a God.’  Likewise, just as two people know they are in love, even if they do not feel the need to prove it scientifically, so too we KNOW there is God.
 
And we can always whisper into the darkness of the unknowing, ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’
 

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