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Home / Weekly Message / Weekly Message 08-30-09: Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost
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08-30-09:  Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost

Twelfth Sunday

A wealthy, therefore, we can infer, a somewhat intelligent, but most limited young man approaches our Saviour today. He inquires, we assume in a serious way how he can possess everlasting life. In other words what he wants to know is how he can participate in the grace of the eternal and blessed Trinity.

So we see that the remarkable and splendid gifts that our Creator bestows on us as baptized human beings. They are individually and personally imparted that our human dignity might better be grasped, appreciated and understood. The lesson our Saviour wishes to impart is not simply for the inquiring individual, but for all who are serious and sincere about salvation.

Since salvation has its source and comes only by Creator God, Jesus Christ, not Buddha, or Mohammed or the idols so many set up for themselves, we are called into communion with him. He invites us and inspires to participate with him in divine life, eternal life, glorious life in the Holy Trinity.

As a result, our individuality is enhanced and even given glorious stature in his sight because we are all to live a community life with one another, with the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit because that is the reality of God's existence itself. What Christ is doing today is inviting us into the fullness of our eternal vocation, life in the Holy Trinity. Our heavenly Father lives in perfect harmony with the Son and the Holy Spirit. There is fullness, totality and completion among them.

There is absolute order in the Blessed Trinity and we are called to live harmonious and orderly lives in imitation of the Blessed Trinity. The life of the believing Christian is the life of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, not in contrast or opposition, enjoying the intimacy that union with the fullness and totality of God initiates and produces.

Just as it is true there is no difference in nature among what our God has created in human beings, there is no difference between Father, Son and Holy Spirit in their essential divine nature. There is, however, a difference in function and the ways they relate to one another. In the Trinity, the Father alone is the "source of divinity." The Son is the expression of the Father and is subject to him as they are united in thought, vocation and action. The Holy Spirit is of the same essence and fully equal to Father and Son.

The three divine persons are perfectly equal, but they are not the same and there is an ordered relation between them in which there are priorities in being and acting which not only do not destroy the perfection and unity of the Godhead, but even allow it and make it perfect and divine. It is the Trinitarian life of our God which is the archtype and example and pattern for the being and activity of the male and female human being within the order of God's creation.

Just as there is no separation of being in the Trinity, there is no separation or division among believers, as followers of Christ. Unity is our most essential characteristic since we are called to unity in belief and oneness of faith with our Creator as well. Even interestingly, the word "Trinity" means "tri-unity," the oneness of three. Varied Orthodox saints have explained this tri-unity of God by using a common example from human existence. As we look upon three human beings, we ask, "What are they?" "They are human beings," we respond. Each is human, possessing the same humanity and the same nature defined in a particular way: created, temporal, physical, rational, etc. In what they are, they are one, human beings, but in who they are, they are three, absolutely unique and distinct from each other. Each human being in his own unique way is distinctly a human being, with distinct gifts and descriptive talents.

One human being is not the other even though they have all created human things in common. Turing to our God, we may ask, "What is it?" In reply we are bound to say it is God defined as absolute perfection who has being at his own initiative. We then ask, "Who is it?" and we answer "it is the Blessed Trinity; Father, Son and Holy Spirit."

And so, as we look upon human beings, we may once again ask, "What is it?" "It is a human being," but when we ask, "Who is it?" we can answer, "it is a male or female human being." As we look at each other, we see only the perceivable, the physical, the frail flesh, but we also know this visible portion encases the far more important spiritual dimension of man: his soul. And we know man is not man without a soul. These two dimensions elements are drawn together to make up human beings, awesome prize creation in the sight of our God.

 

So this is the dimension of life our Saviour is inviting the young man to espouse, embrace and enter into. It is the life which he accounted too expensive, too prohibitive, too challenging for a man whose pockets were full of earthly treasure, but whose heart was so impoverished it could not accept, nor understand the heavenly wisdom which Christ shares with him. He wants perfection, he desires sanctity on his own terms, according to his own definition. He is willing to pay the price for earthly treasure, but

spiritual values do not have the same meaning or challenge for him. He does not understand he cannot save himself, but needs the grace of Jesus Christ.

 

All the glorified saints of the Church, of the Body of and Bride of Christ teach that a most necessary element is part of our creation and sanctity: the Holy Spirit. For us to be what our God expects us to be, to which vocation our baptismal grace calls us, we must have the Holy Spirit in us. Only in the Holy Spirit can we realize the fullness of our humanity; only then are we children of God, likened to him who is only-begotten, who gave his life us on the cross and then triumphantly rose from the dead to restore us to what were before the fall in paradise.

 

Sadly the young man rejects the cost of the cross in his own life and in so doing, voids out the value of resurrection for himself, forgetting the admonition of the Lord, "With God all things are possible."

 

No wonder our Lord sheds tears when this man with tremendous potential chooses to become a loser.

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