If pigs could fly and fish could walk

Tom Bartolomeo
Most Holy Trinity Sunday C 2013
Proverbs 8, 22-31; Psalm 8;
Romans 5, 1-5; John 16, 12-15
Reproduced with Permission

If pigs could fly and fish could walk. Our lives are more surreal than we realize. Why do we dream unless there is another reality? Do we sleep so we can dream? We know that without sleep - we would die in 72 hours. In our unconscious dream-state we sort out all kinds of things, real and imagined. We could not, however, imagine, awake or dreaming, the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is beyond our ordinary comprehension, yet we believe. Our faith is truly supernatural. It took God born a man to reveal this to us, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is a mystery greater than anything we could choose to believe, three persons in one God. "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio," said Shakespeare,"than are dreamt of in your philosophy." ( Hamlet , 1.5.166-7). Perhaps, there is no one who testified more dramatically this experience in God than Paul the Apostle who said:

I know a person in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven - whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows. And I know that such a person - whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows - was caught up into Paradise and heard things that are not to be told, that no mortal is permitted to repeat. (2 Corinthians 12:2-4)

Some would be skeptical. I hope no one here. How else would we explain the life of Saint Paul, Apostle to the world. We read his letters about Christ. We hear Christ's Gospel and believe as the majority of people in the world who call themselves Christian. Our lives go well beyond the concrete and material, what we can see, hear and touch. Our physical beings are limited but not our spiritual persons. Consider the phenomenon of memory, invisible, colorless and weightless, but how it defines our personalities, our memories, for instance, of someone who served in the military. Memorial Day is a spiritual exercise, my three uncles, for instance, who took part in the Normandy Landing in the Second World War. One uncle mailed me, a seven year old, a battle scarred German helmet. How much of our lives do we remember as children or adults? What lies hidden in our memory, perhaps, suppressed in our memories. Our memory of Jesus Christ began with our parents and their parents before them or some spiritually charged personal experience. Originally, Jesus told us, "Do this in memory of me", and here we are. Who first heard at Jesus' baptism the Father say, "This is my beloved Son, listen to him!"? (Mark 9, 7). Once we say Son we acknowledge there is a Father. Can we conceive of any person without a father? Can we conceive of any family, father and mother without a child at least potentially, some binding relationship of spirit. In fact, spiritual reality dominates our lives whether we recognize it or not. Even in death the spirits of others are among us. And the hope of all is bound in one, "Do this in memory of me"; and, again, why you are here. At what cost did Jesus instill this memory in us?

Imagine the perplexity of a child growing into adulthood in this material world separated from his father in another world. No different, I suppose, than an orphan separated from his father where only the reality of the son's death as in Christ' case, would re-unite them. In a manner of speaking, Jesus for a while was an orphan from heaven, his spirit in our material corruptible world rather than in heaven. I would find that confusing being in such two different places, two states of mind at one time. For Christ the man it was clearly difficult. While in the flesh, that he not forget, he prayed frequently long into the night. When Jesus in a human body and soul prepared his Apostles for his departure and ascent into heaven he told them only what they could "bear" to accept at the time, but they would understand later when the Advocate would come. (cf John 16, 12ff). They were not living in two worlds. After Jesus' resurrection they slowly came to understand what they could not comprehend before, "what this rising from the dead meant." (Mark 9, 10 ). After the coming of the Advocate sent by the Father they fully understood and lived and walked in the Holy Spirit of God achieving what before was impossible for them, to preach the gospel effectively and to perform 'mighty works', miraclees in the name of Jesus.

I imagine we - if we believe and live what we profess - can achieve what the saints have achieved in this world, God's "will be done on earth as it is in heaven". Have you ever had the experience of preparing for a journey, making all the arrangements while settling all your affairs at home then driving to and parking your car at the airport, finding your gate and flight and boarding the plane. And after the plane's door is locked and the plane taxies onto the runway and you sit back, exhale, close your eyes and relax -- you find your spirit transported to a new place and experience to come. The very thing Jesus imparted to his Apostles on their first meeting after his resurrection, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." (John 20, 19-21). The last book of the Bible, The Book of Revelation, imparts this experience, what we can only bear to know now in this world, "through a mirror dimly", as the Apostle related, "but then face to face." (1 Corinthians 13, 12). That face, we are told in Revelations, is the face of Jesus as a bridegroom:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away. [And] Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; 4 they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever" in the company of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.