Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Coming Sunday: The Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity - Death of a Fellow Novice

Trinity Sunday (Year “A”) – June 19, 2011 THE DEEPEST MYSTERY OF OUR FAITH [Texts: Exodus 34:4b-6,8-9 [Daniel 3]; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; John 3:16-18]

The Faith of the Catholic Church: Answering Your Questions About Your Faith is a synthesis popularizing the Catechism of the Catholic Church, edited by Bishop David Konstant of Leeds, England (Ottawa: Novalis, 2001). It describes the Trinity as “the deepest mystery of our faith” and says that in revealing Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, God teaches us something about His nature.

“The Catholic faith consists in the veneration of the one God in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity, without confusion of person or division of substance. There are three distinct Persons in God: the Person of the Father, the Person of the Son, and the Person of the Holy Spirit. However, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are one God, equal in glory, and coeternal in majesty” (#17,p. 23).

What this vademecum of Catholic belief summarizes in answer to the question “Who is God?”, the liturgy of today's solemnity addresses in prayers and praise.

The preface for today's Mass declares, “we joyfully proclaim our faith in the mystery of Your Godhead. You have revealed Your glory as the glory also of Your Son and of the Holy Spirit: three Persons equal in majesty, undivided in splendour, yet one Lord, one God, ever to be adored in Your everlasting glory”.

The opening prayer praises God the Father who sent His Word “to bring us truth and your Spirit to make us holy...through them we come to know the mystery of your life”. It then begs God to "help us worship you, one God in three Persons, by proclaiming and living our faith in you”.

Today's scriptural readings give hints of what the Church came to understand about God in the first four centuries of its existence. These credal formulations came about as church councils—bearing the famous names of Chalcedon, Ephesus, Nicaea—met to answer inadequate assertions about the God whose life Christians shared.

For example, Paul's closing words in his second epistle to the Corinthians, which serve as an opening formula at Mass, tell of the life of God as it is experienced in Christian life and worship. His blessing-greeting invokes on believers a renewal of God's favour first encountered in the proclamation of the Good News concerning Jesus Christ (“the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ”).

This messenger from heaven, God's Son, revealed the Father's compassion for all who dwell in the world. For it was God's care and concern for mortals (“the love of God”) which sent him to carry out his ministry.

Finally, those who accept Jesus' message are brought to share in fellowship with others and to experience, in the church community on earth, the bond which the Holy Spirit represents in God's own life (“the communion of the Holy Spirit”).

This union among believers is to become manifest in concrete actions: “put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace...greet one another with a holy kiss”. Paul regularly associates God with peace and reconciliation. This, he says, must overflow into harmonious relations among believers.

In the churches he served, Paul adapted a social convention that became known as the “holy kiss”—like the greeting of peace used in church life today—(cf. 1 Thessalonians 5.26; Romans 16.16). The values of the ancient family, namely solidarity, mutual trust, emotional identification and self-sacrifice in pursuit of common interests, are appropriate virtues for the community that models its interior life on the harmony of the Trinity.

The reading from Exodus reveals God's compassionate nature, offering a glimpse of what Moses came to know of God's inner life. On Mount Sinai, Moses learned that God's essence was compassion, “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness”. God is loyal, putting up with a great deal, even Israel and the Church's reneging on commitments to live as God's holy people.

Jesus' words to Nicodemus have long been recognized as a summary of the divine salvific plan, so that “John 3:16” on billboards or bumper-stickers has become a shorthand expression of the fundamental truth concerning God: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life”.

* * * * * *


(November 24, 1924-June 15, 2011)

When my novitiate classmates gathered for a festive dinner in Toronto in April to mark our golden jubilee in the Jesuit Order, our lone brother novice companion was not able to be present due to physical infirmity. 

Yesterday, Brother Gerald Horan passed away at the Jesuit Infirmary in Pickering. We scholastic novices--candidates for the priesthood--were all teenagers when we entered the Order; Brother Gerry was in his mid-thirties.

Born in Montreal on November 24, 1924, Gerald Horan entered the Jesuits on February 15, 1961.

After first vows in 1963, he attended the Brothers' Juniorate programme in Milford, Ohio and two years later was assigned to Guelph where he was a mechanic and carpenter.

Before being assigned to Regis College in Toronto, he completed his last year of training, Tertianship, in the Detroit Jesuit Province.

After Regis he was sent to Longlac, Espanola and then to Thunder Bay to work among the First Nations Apostolate. It was while in Longlac that Br. Gerry took his final vows.

In 1984 he was moved to Hevey Residence in Toronto where he worked until he was assigned to Pickering, Ontario in 1990.  He often led the retreatants at Manresa Retreat House in the Way of the Cross and the rosary (see photo above). 

The wake will be at Manresa Retreat House on Sunday, June 19 from 7-9PM and the funeral on Monday, June 20 at St. Ignatius Chapel of Manresa Retreat House at 10:30 PM and burial at the Jesuit Cemetery, Guelph at 2:30PM.


1 comment:

  1. Brother Gerry was a dear friend of mine while we were both stationed at Loyola College in Guelph as Brother Novices. May he rest in peace! May you always keep Brother Gerry's memory close to your hearts. God bless.
    Peter Geary
    St.John's, NL