Dance with My Father

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe for the Soul
Solemnity of the Blessed Trinity, 16 June 2019
Proverbs 8:22-31 >< )))*> Romans 5:1-5 >< )))*> John 16:12-15
From Google.

I know.

You must be saying our title is from a hit song by the late Luther Vandross Jr. with Richard Marx, “Dance with My Father”.

Since its release in May 2003, I have always loved that song. Like Vandross Jr., I sometimes ask God to return my father even for a while not only for me but most especially for my mother who was celebrating her birthday when he suddenly died of a heart attack in 2000.

Though my father did not dance much like Vandross Sr., one of the things I miss so much from him were how he would discuss so many things to me especially whenever I would join him in our library. And when I could not understand everything, he would always tell me, “paglaki mo maiintindihan mo rin yan, anak” (you will understand that when you grow up, son).

Eventually those words came to sound like music to me as a I grew up until later in life I realized that indeed, I have come to understand the many things we have discussed when I was still a child! Most of all, now that I am a grown up man still having a hard time comprehending many things in life, my father’s words still soothe me. Although he is no longer around, I always tell myself when facing difficult situations or questions that someday, I’m going to understand this – “paglaki ko maiintindihan ko rin yan”.

Jesus said to his disciples: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.”

John 16:12-13
Jesus during his Last Supper Discourse telling the Apostles his departure and sending of the Holy Spirit. From a depiction found on the Maesta in Siena by Duccio (1308-1311). From Google.

On this Eleventh Sunday in the continuation of our Ordinary Time after Lent and Easter, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Blessed Trinity. In the past Sundays we have been slowly introduced by the Lord in his teachings about the Holy Spirit. Today we come to full circle with this celebration of the Holy Trinity, the highest mystery in our faith that there are three Persons in One God.

For many Christians, especially Catholics, they feel that believing in One God is enough. To speak of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – matters very little for them that they fail to see what the mystery of the Trinity evokes concretely in our lives.

It is true that we cannot find an explicit statement in the whole Bible telling us there is One God in Three Persons. It is a doctrine that slowly unfolded in the Sacred Scriptures reaching its highest point of revelation in Jesus Christ’s Incarnation and sending of the Holy Spirit.

This is the essence of Christ’s farewell discourse during their Last Supper together: the Holy Spirit will not introduce anything new to them. The Holy Spirit will just enlighten and bring out to the open the many dimensions of the teachings of Jesus that were mostly found also or rooted in the Old Testament. Sometimes in life, there are so many realities already present but we do not recognize right away because of so many factors that hide them from us. But the moment we discover some new dimensions of life’s truth and reality, the more we find its beauty! That is why we have to somehow understand the Trinity to fully appreciate the beauty and wonder of God in our lives.

In the Old Testament, God did not speak about himself being a Person per se, as a full, conscious relating Being like humans. Moreover, God never spoke about his being One in Three Persons to the people at that time because they would never even feel such mystery as they were surrounded by polytheistic nations. It was enough at that time to insist on the people that there is only One God who relates personally like humans, seeking intimacy.

thus says the wisdom of God: “…then was I beside him as his craftsman, and I was his delight day by day, playing before him all the while, playing on the surface of his earth; and I found delight in the human race.”

Proverbs 8:22,30-31

In the first reading, God presents himself as a person, one who relates with others personified in wisdom juxtaposed in two images equally evocative, as an artisan or creator and as a child happy and proud to be around his parent.

Here I find Luther Vandross Jr.’s “Dance with My Father” so applicable: he was seven and a half years old when his father died of complications in diabetes. But his fondest memory of him was how he would dance with his mother at home and would always pull him to dance with them!

Isn’t that beautiful, three people dancing together like one entity?

Incidentally in theology, we also have this explanation of the Trinity as a “circle dance” called perichoresis. It is a way of seeing the Trinity as action than definition. If you ahve been to Turkey, you must have visited Cappadocia where once lived great thinkers of the Church called Cappadocian Fathers who thought of perichoresis.

According to the Cappadocian Fathers, in perichoresis, each Divine Person is like a dance partner who contributes and has a specific role in the choreography so that what they do together make up the dance. The Persons like partners in the dance pull and push against one another, not in resistance or force but in support and unity. The dance is in constant motion and the partners are not focused on themselves but on the others. Likewise as we experience in “club party”, the dance circle is never closed so that more people are invited to join in the celebration until each becomes a part of the dance, sharing in the joy and unity.

From Google.

In perichoresis, the Trinity is presented more as a relationship of Persons: the Father is the Creator, the Son is the Redeemer and the Holy Spirit is the sanctifier. Applied to us, we are all children of the Father who are brothers and sisters in Jesus as indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Blessed Trinity invites us to their dance of life and grace as we find here the gist of St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans today that through our faith in Christ, we have found the peace of God through the outpouring of so many gifts upon us by the Holy Spirit that we now have a relationship of friendship and trust in him, culminating in participation “in the glory of God” (Rom.5:2).

This Sunday, we are all invited to join in the dance of God, the dance of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. In that dance, the Father reveals to us his hidden plans for us in Christ through the Holy Spirit of how he wants us to live to the fullest in him. It is only in dancing in him and with him can we know this mystery of God, mystery of self, and mystery of life in general. Though we cannot fully understand his mystery, God slowly unfolds to us his many dimensions that little by little, we see more of him, nmore of ourselves, and more of others.

That is when we find GUIDANCE, for God-U-and-I Dance.

When there is guidance, we find direction and do not get lost.

A blessed week ahead to everyone. Amen.

Photo by Jens Johnsson on Pexels.com

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