In the movie The Lion King, one of the more moving scenes finds Simba mourning the death of his father, Mufasa. In his grief, Simba has abandoned his homeland. Raifiki, the priest-figure, approaches the frightened Simba. Raifiki sings a song to him that Simba’s dad, Mufasa had sung to him in his childhood. The song, entitled, He Lives in You, speaks of the presence of all of Simba’s ancestors in him. It says, in effect, that we are the amalgamation of all of those who have gone before us, and that we have access to their strength and to their wisdom. In his heart-ache, Simba is strengthened by the reminder that not only do his ancient ancestors live in him, but so does his dad, Mufasa himself.
Today’s scriptures and Feast speak of that deep connection. It is the feast of the Trinity which invites us to see that the heart of God is relationship. God is a community of love. God is all about relationship. Aside from saying “God is Love”, it is perhaps the most deeply true thing we can say about God.
And you and I? We, who are made in the image of God – we are made for community. We ARE bonded one to another when we realize it and when we don’t. As is true of all relationship, this deep connection goes beyond the confines of time and space.
(Pick up chalice) Every time I celebrate mass here, I use this chalice. It was given to me by my uncle, Fr. Wally Boul. It is a physical reminder of a towering spiritual presence in my life. And when I am struggling in a decision about the parish, when I am not so sure of the way forward, when my priesthood is weighing heavily on my shoulders, my Uncle Wally is a part of me as well. I turn to him and ask him to pray for me.
St. Paul speaks of this power that lives in us: He says: “The love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” God has been poured into our hearts; the very love of God living in you and me that connects us to one another and to God. But, like in The Lion King, this pouring out is not simply from some disembodied, ethereal divine presence, but rather, this pouring out does in fact happen through the Body of Christ. It is through the very real people of our lives: Those who have taught us, fed us, coached us, and cheered for us from the sidelines; those who have cleaned our skinned knees; laughed and sang and danced with us and wept with us at the graveside of a loved one. They live in us. If Trinity Sunday says anything, it proclaims that God works in relationship, in and through Father, Son and Spirit, and in and through us all.
And just like in The Lion King, this awareness of our connection one to another and with God is to embolden us, to remind us of our power and our courage, to recall the strength that we have been given and for which we are responsible. The love of God is poured out into us not simply to console us but to strengthen us for the building of God’s Kingdom. Simba’s awareness that his father “lives in him” gave him the courage to return and face his mortal enemy. God’s love has been poured into us so that we have the courage and strength to do what is right and what is needed.
Do you ever experience that love, that power, that presence in you? If not, then on this Trinity Sunday when we celebrate the divine relationship at the center of all things—and at the center of ourselves— pray for that experience – let it open your heart. Let it fill you. And then ask yourself: “Where might I need to remember that God’s love has been poured into me so that I have the courage and strength to do what is right? Where in my life right now is God asking me to harness this great spirit of Love, and put it to good use?
You see, my uncle Wally lives in me, as does my father, as do you, my parish family, and all the people I have been graced to meet on this journey of life. The Love of God has been poured into our hearts. What a gift that Trinitarian life is…