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One early morning my father called to tell me that my mother took a turn for the worst, and I should come to see her. When I got to the nursing home, Dad told me that he was going home to wash up and come back. I understood at the time that this could be the last conversation I would have with my mother. I was right. She passed that same day. So how do you say goodbye to your mother, your life-long friend, your teacher, your hero, and role model? What do you say after years of gratitude to God for such a gift? I opened my mouth, and I talked about shopping. What! Couldn’t I talk about something a bit more profound? Why shopping? Because this is what we did together.
I said, “Mom, do you remember the time you wanted me to get some flowers for the garden. We ended up going to the Cape, driving by hundreds of nurseries. When we got there we bought one plant. You said ‘While we are here we might as well stop at the beach and eat lunch at the Clam Shack.’ And remember the time a band came to perform at the nursing home and you asked me to sneak you out so we could go shopping. I said “How am I going to sneak you out? You’re in the front row!’ And remember when you wanted to go shopping and there was a massive blizzard. Traffic was at a crawl. When we finally got to the mall, We found out that Kohl’s was having a Christmas sale and every parking place was filled. I had to push your wheelchair a quarter of a mile through the snow. Once there, we encountered large crowds and long lines. It was a disaster, but you said you had a really good time. “We did.” Yes, we talked about shopping because that is what we did together. My last conversation with mom was a good one.
I say all this because each year we celebrate Trinity Sunday. What does the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit do together? In order to answer this question, we have to revisit Jesus’ last conversation with his disciples. Jesus is about to ascend into heaven. Before departing, he gave some instructions to his disciples. This was the farewell address, the goodbye speech. If I was elected to be the Lord’s speech writer, I know what I would prepared. I would take the best of what Jesus talked about before he died. I would have written, “Remember, I am the Resurrection and the Life. So, death is not an end; it is a door.” I would have written, “Love one another as I have loved you.” And again I would have mentioned in the speech that we would have to suffer and carry the cross but remember the promise that our reward will be great in heaven. Jesus would have discarded my offering because he does not mention any of that in his last speech to his disciples. He tells them to “go to all the nations and baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” What? Why is baptism so important? In order to understand why Jesus was so adamant about baptism in his final speech to his disciples, we have to go back to Jesus’ baptism.
After Jesus was baptized he came out of the water. At once the sky split and the Holy Spirit came and descended on Jesus. At the same time, there was a loud voice out of the sky that said, “This is my beloved son.” For the first time in all of Scripture, we are given to see the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all together on the same stage working together as a unified team. The only one time did they all appear in this way and it was during a baptism. And this is what the Trinity does together. When we are baptized, Christ pulls us out of the waters of death through his Resurrection. The Holy Spirit descends on us, and the Father is glorified, this is my beloved son. All this happens so we can be a part of the royal and divine family. The Trinity makes a family by making children of God.
I look out the window in my room and I see a building across the street during the winter. That is because I live in the city. Since then, however, the tree in front burst into leaves this spring. Now I look out the window, and I feel like I am in the middle of the forest. What happened? A few warm sunshiny days transformed the tree. I have a completely new perspective. That is what the Trinity does. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit transform us into a family member.Back to All Homilies