A myHT Fortress

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit's Day: A Homily on Matthew 28

Matthew 28:16-20

Feast of the Holy Trinity

19 June 2011

St. John's, Chicago, IL

In the Name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Word of God proceeded from the Father, and the Spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters. Did you ever stop and think about that? All three--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were involved at Creation. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, all three there from eternity, and all three playing their part in creating this world.

Just as the Holy Trinity was involved in the creation, with His Word and the Spirit over the waters, so also the Spirit joins the waters of Holy Baptism, and re-creates, giving new and everlasting birth.

And that is where our Lord focuses our attention on this festival--baptism. The Holy Gospel for today takes us to the final moments before Jesus ascended. There, in Jesus' words, God reveals Himself clearly as the only true and Triune God. He speaks directly about Holy Baptism, where we are drawn into the family of the Lord God as He gives new birth.

Christ our Lord speaks of making disciples--forming Christians. He declares two gifts that go hand-in-hand: Baptism and Teaching [His Gospel.] Yet how often are you treasuring these gifts? Do you think of your baptism as something long ago, with little meaning on day to day life? Do you think that since you are baptized you can act however you please, and God will have to forgive you? Are your thoughts, words, and deeds as filthy as those around you, and you have no intention of changing?

Well, stop! You are despising God's precious gift! Baptism is an ongoing reality. Just as your physical birth from your mother continues to be important to you, in that you are a living, breathing human, so also your new birth through Baptism has the ongoing reality of you being spiritually alive. Unless, of course, you reject the Lord and His gift, and let that faith shrivel and die.

If the fish bites down on that hook and is taken from the water, he doesn't have long before he will die. You are like that fish. If you are removed from the environment of your baptismal waters, you could dry up and die.

You see, you can refrain from hearing the preaching and teaching of His Word, and faith weakens. The Spirit delivers Christ through His Word, and ushers you into your relationship with the Father. Without that ongoing nurturing in that Word, the faith born from your Baptism can die.

Do not let your faith die. Do not "despise preaching and His Word." Do not turn your back on the Lord's gifts.

But you do. Just like everyone else, you do not hold your Baptism in the highest regard.

So the Lord keeps on pouring out His forgiveness. He keeps on lavishing His love through these gifts of His Word and Baptism. He multiplies His mercy and gives His grace. Father, Son, and Spirit gush forth the forgiving flood of Baptism on you, and constantly renew you.

So do not worry. Our loving, Triune God speaks tenderly to you, removing the guilt and stain of sin. He cleanses you and renews you, freeing you from the sinful feelings and attitudes that oppose Him and His Gifts. And you are blessed.

As the nation celebrates Fathers Day, many have feelings of fondness, honor, and good memories. Yet for many others it is a reminder of broken relationships or broken dreams or unfulfilled hopes of marriage and family. For them it is a day of sadness or even resentment. For everyone, though, today is a day to celebrate our heavenly Father, and His perfect and holy relationship in which He adopts us as His own. And with it also being Holy Trinity Sunday, it is a day not only to recall our Father in heaven, but also His Son and His Spirit.

You may spend this day with or remembering your father, or at the Six Corners Bar B Que,or just relaxing. But now your heavenly Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit comes in Christ's gifts of preached Gospel and His Blessed Sacrament. That is the most important thing that happens to you today. Now He has gifted you to celebrate Father, Son and Holy Spirit's Day -- Holy Trinity Sunday. Amen.

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