Sitting at Mass and looking around on Pentecost Sunday , it was apparent that we are a very “mixed bag”. All ages, all sizes, all colours, races and cultures were together, united by a shared faith. We are indeed a “mixed bag”. Yet our very presence in this community speaks of a shared commitment and connection to this Church, this community of faith. We are united as disciples of Jesus, the Christ.
The two feasts of the Trinity and of the Body and Blood of the Lord, help us to recognize what it is that allows us to stand as a community of disciples. At the core of our faith stands this mystery of the Trinity, three persons in one God. Not an easy thing to explain, but perhaps that is not the point. Perhaps it is more important that we come to recognize what it means for us.
What does it mean to hold a belief in God as three persons in one? Can we recognize that for the Christian, God is all about a loving relationship - of Father, Son and Holy Spirit? It is this God who pours out love upon all creation. It is this God who, in an expression of love for all humanity, sent the Son to share our humanity and live among us in Jesus.
Christian faith tells us we are created in God’s image. As the Trinity is an expression of God’s love, so we are the reflection of our loving God in the midst of creation. Discipleship to Jesus calls us to live and share this image. The Risen Jesus called his disciples: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matt 28:19)
Our Church is a community of disciples, our faith in the loving relationship that is our God has been passed to us by generations of Christian communities before us. They have spoken and acted and lived in loving relationships for us. They have been the image of God for us.
As our diocese experiences realignment in order to revitalize it will be important to recognize that like our ancestors we are called to reveal our loving God in our own time and place. This calls for a generosity of spirit as we come together. It demands a readiness to see who we are and express it in our willingness to live and act as communities of Christians.
The early Christians made their mark on the world of their time and place by being the image of the loving Father, Son and Spirit. The 3rd century writer Tertullian urged his fellow Christians to be examples of loving communities. Their world should be able to remark: “See how they love one another.”
Tertullian was simply telling them to live what Jesus told his disciples: “Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35). Will it be said of us, the Catholics of our own time and place, that we reveal God’s image by the way we live our love for one another?