“I’m going to Disneyworld!” Commercials for years featured this answer to questions: ‘You just won the Super Bowl, you just achieved X, Y, and Z, what are you going to do?” Celebrities and all kinds of people would announce that their destination was Orlando, going to the “Happiest Place on Earth!” Other than the tremendous expense, travel, waiting in lines, and occasional controversies, most people are (and were) willing to make huge sacrifices for their children and families in order to go to a former south Florida, mosquito-filled, swamp land transformed by the Gospel of Mickey. People go to Disney because they want to believe in magic. They want to be happy. They want to believe.
These same good, normal people often struggle with faith. How do we know God exists? Is Jesus really God? Is the Church a human institution? Are there reasons to have faith in the supernatural revelation of Christianity? Why are we here? Is there a purpose to our lives?
It always seems fascinating that people who have tremendous educations, work extremely hard to pay of their student loans and pay their mortgages, who confidently trust in skepticism, hold sometimes conflicting world views: I believe in science, and I believe in the magic of Disney.
Do people believe that Mickey is God, or rose from the dead? Of course not. But serious skeptics are looking for magic, for hope, for dreams. They want to believe in something.
This week’s Mass readings talk about the greatest mystery ever revealed: the heart of Christianity is the mystery of the Trinity. It is not Trinity Sunday, that comes later this summer. However, Jesus speaks to us today about the fact that at the heart of the Gospel is not a solitary God, but a communion of Divine Persons. Jesus comes to us amidst trial, fears, stress, worries, loneliness, to reveal the One God, the Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who are always working in our lives to draw us into communion with God.
Can we believe in things we can’t see? Isn’t that superstitious or unscientific? We believe in wind, we believe in justice and love: these are all things we cannot see. We know they are real because we experience their effects. God, too, works in our lives, and we experience His effects on us, through the gift of grace. Just as when we walk into businesses, malls, and airports, and look for a Wi-Fi signal, so to we connect with the invisible God through the gift of grace. We can’t the internet, the World Wide Web with our bodily eyes. But we connect through invisible connections and networks to a greater reality. How can we be open to the supernatural reality of grace? Through the gift of the Holy Spirit. As we continue in these final weeks of the Easter Season, the Scripture readings at Mass are inviting us to call on the Holy Spirit. Why? Because He is the change agent, so to speak.
The Holy Spirit transforms us and makes the reality of God’s Divine Life present within us through the gift of grace. Is this hard to grasp, understand, and believe? Absolutely. Do you have a headache yet? I do! I don’t know how the internet, or wind, or human love, or grace works. Smarter, wiser people have reflected on these things for centuries. The Risen Lord makes this possible, and simple. We believe in the historical witness of people who saw the Risen Jesus, whose followers have worked miracles through 2,000 years, and the Church which has survived every human scandal and failure. Let’s call on the Lord to help us open to and receive this gift of Faith.
In Our Lady's Immaculate Heart,
Rev. Bjorn C. Lundberg,