Msgr. Robert F. Tucker: The Mystery of Relationships

A priest was walking down the aisle at a funeral and realized as he approached the coffin that he couldn’t remember the name of the person in the coffin, or even their gender. He needed to know this information, both for the prayers said at the funeral mass and for the homily.

Thinking quickly as he approached the coffin, he nodded to one of the pallbearers whom he knew to be a relative of the deceased and asked, “Male or female?” The bearer replied, “Cousin.”

Life has many mysteries. Science tries to solve many of them, and it’s interesting that as we understand some mysteries, we discover even more. Understanding or knowing is not easy! Relationships are even more difficult, not just gender, but name, personality, job, interests, etc. Yet, without relationships in our lives, life would be unbearable and impossible.

Our relationships unite us to others and yet we know that we are separate from them. We are one with them, but we have our own individual lives and identity as a person, girl or boy, husband or wife, cousin or brother-in-law and it goes on and on.

What is the place of the Trinity here? In the Trinity, there are three people! They are in such intense relations with each other that although they are distinct persons, they are perfectly united in every way; they are One. There are no boundaries; there is nothing that separates them, except that they are not the same person. There is no mine or yours in this relationship!

Jesus says so clearly in today’s Gospel: “All that the Father has is mine. The Holy Spirit will take what belongs to Christ and declare it to his disciples. Everything that belongs to one belongs to the other, but each is not identical to the other.

The only exception, it seems, is that the Second Person of the Trinity has taken on a human nature, but it is a mystery to contemplate and pray to as we try to imitate Him. To add to the mystery, Jesus while in a human body also remained Divine. So that in this sense he was two distinct persons, both in his relationship as part of the Trinity and as the human Godhead.

It is love, joy, peace and care that fills all relationships. This joy is so abundant that it overflows; it overflows to such an extent that God wants to share God’s joy with us. God invites us to participate in this relationship of Father, Son and Spirit. The love of God overflows in us as we share the gifts of creation, love and the spirit of forgiveness and peace, all words that represent the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Perhaps our challenge is to do this with such faith, hope and love that it doesn’t matter who we are, but we are the Trinity in action.

As Catholics, we always make the sign of the cross, and often we seem to do it in a sloppy or habitual way. Take the time this week to reflect on what you are doing before making the sign of the cross, so that the deep meaning of this relationship grows within you. Thus, may the gifts of creation, sanctification and salvation of the Father, the Holy Spirit and the Son grow in each of us and in our mystery of relationship with each other.

One of the main mysteries of our faith is that of the Eucharist, where Jesus tells us that when we take communion, he indeed becomes one with us and we because of the same Eucharist become one with each other. Faith, indeed, holds many mysteries of a relationship of love, compassion, peace and forgiveness.

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