Sunday, May 22, 2016

Divine Habitat

Solemnity of The Most Holy Trinity (C)

Picture: cc Sandia Labs

My dear friends, have you ever heard of Habitat for Humanity? Those who have will know that it’s a non-governmental organisation, an NGO. Whose main activity is to build houses for the poor and needy. According to its website, Habitat envisions a world where everyone has a decent place to live. It seeks to put God’s love into action by bringing people together to build homes, communities, and hope. Home-builders. That’s what they are. Except that they do it not for profit, but for love.

And they do it in a very particular way. They don’t just build houses and hand them out free of charge. Instead, through volunteer labour and donations of money and materials, they help their beneficiary families, whom they call partners, to build their own homes. Habitat then sells these homes to their partners at cost, and financed by affordable, not-for-profit loans. The monthly mortgage payments are in turn used to build more Habitat houses. And the process goes on.

So Habitat plays a triple role. It is, at once, developer and architect and engineer. It conceives the project. It designs the houses. And it provides the tools and materials. But the labour comes from the community. Its beneficiaries and its volunteers. In other words, Habitat builds homes by empowering people.

I wonder if this is not similar to what we are celebrating today. On this solemn feast of the Most Holy Trinity. Today, we celebrate God. Whom we believe to be one in three persons. Father, Son, and Spirit. Which is something we cannot fully understand. But that’s okay. For even if we can’t grasp the Trinity mathematically, our readings give us a good picture of what God is like. How God operates. And what our response to God should be.

In the first reading, we find a description of some of God’s activities at the dawn of creation. Mention is made of the fixing of the heavens. The founding of the earth. The settling of the mountains. The thickening of the clouds. And so on. The impression is given of a busy developer God. A God who appears to have one concern: To construct a home fit for human life. A suitable habitat for humanity. A place where people can survive and thrive. Grow and flourish.

But it’s important for us to see that this home-building project is not just a physical one. For although humanity lives on the earth, this is not exactly our final destination. The earth only provides a conducive setting for us to find our true home. Not on earth. But in God. This is why, the whole reading is focused not so much on the creation of the earth. But on the birth of Wisdom.

As you know, in the Old Testament, the Wisdom of God is a gift, specially prepared by God, for those who strive to live according to God’s wishes. Those who put God first in all things. Such God-fearing people receive the Wisdom of God.Which enables them  to find what they are looking for. To find God. To experience God. To make their home in God. Even while still living on this earth. This is God’s purpose. This is God’s vision and mission. From the very beginning. Like Habitat for Humanity, God is a home-builder. God’s plan is to help human beings to live on this earth in ways that will enable them to find and make their home in God.

The other readings show us how this is done. Like any other building project, it involves not just a developer, but also an architect and an engineer. One who draws up the plan. And  another who provides the power to execute it. To translate the plan into reality.

In the second reading, St. Paul helps us to better appreciate both the plan and the architect. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, he writes, by faith we are judged righteous and at peace with God, since it is by faith and through Jesus that we have entered this state of grace…

To be judged righteous and at peace with God. To live in a state of grace. Isn’t this what it means to find our home in God? To be able to find peace, even as we struggle to face the challenges of this earthly existence of ours. To be able to glory not just in our triumphs. But also in our defeats. To be able to boast not just about our comforts. But also about our sufferings. Seeing these defeats and sufferings as opportunities to draw closer to the Crucified and Risen Christ. To enter more deeply into the embrace of God. This is what it means to be at home in God. And we do this by following the plan drawn up for us. By imitating the example set for us. By following the way marked out for us. The Way of Christ Jesus our Lord. Who laid down his life out of love for his undeserving friends. Laid down his life out of love for you and for me.

Self-sacrificing love. This is the plan. And Christ is the architect. And no prizes for guessing who the engineer is. In the words of St. Paul, the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given to us. It is the Spirit who provides us with the tools and materials, the energy and the motivation, to translate the masterplan of Christ’s Life, Death and Resurrection, into the ordinary reality of our own lives.

This is, of course, not an easy thing to do. For Christ may have given us the plan. But we still have to figure out the exact details for ourselves. Details which are often revealed to us only gradually. In the concrete situations of our daily lives. And it is the Spirit who helps us to do this. Much like how an engineer would oversee the actual construction of a home. As Jesus tells his disciples in the gospel, When the Spirit of truth comes, he will lead you to the complete truth. The Spirit helps us to do what it takes to find and make our home in God.

But, my dear friends, do we really need a God like this? A God who is at once developer and architect and engineer? A home-builder God? After all, we are not homeless, are we? We live in a highly developed country. We belong to a wealthy parish. We all have homes of our own. Some of us even live in mansions fit for a king. And yet, isn’t it true that, however large or comfortable our houses may be, at least from time to time, we still can’t help but feel homeless? However cosy the pillows on which we lay our heads, we still yearn for a warm place to rest our hearts. We thirst for the peace that the world cannot give. We long to make our true home in God, and God alone. A home that we find only when we learn to surrender our hearts and our lives to God. Only when we are willing to reach out to help others to find a home.

I’m reminded of these lines from an old hymn we used to sing:
Lose yourself in me, and you will find yourself.Lose yourself in me, and you will find new life.Lose yourself in me, and you will find yourself.And you will live, yes you will live, in my love…
Sisters and brothers, today we celebrate the Holy Trinity. Father, Son and Spirit. A God who delights in building a habitat for humanity. A true home for you, for me, for all.

What must we do to keep losing ourselves in God today?

1 comment:

  1. O Lord,
    in this life full of distractions (people and situations) that often (subtly) draw me AWAY from YOU;
    Keep me ever close to You and lead me always to walk on Your paths - guide me along Your Way.
    Grant me O Lord, the courage to dare to enter through the Narrow Doorway (shaped in the form of a cross (+) that leads to You, Life Eternal.

    Lead me to Come HOME to you,



    Seeing IS Believing
    22 May 2016 -Trinity Sunday