Sometimes my homily has three parts to it; and today is one of those days. I want to talk about the First Creation, the Second Creation and the New Creation.
In the beginning, when God made the heavens and the earth, the main actors were the voice of God, the hands of God and the Spirit of God. Let’s begin with the voice. The voice of God was saying, “Let there be light, let there be dry land, let the earth bring forth vegetation.”
Meanwhile, the hands of God were picking up clay and forming it into birds and animals and human beings.
And the Spirit of God was moving over the waters. The Spirit was giving life and breath to every creature.
Today we look back at that story from Genesis and we say that the world was created by the Most Holy Trinity. The Spirit of God is the Holy Spirit and the voice of God is God the Son; and the hands of God belong to the Father, our loving creator.
But in those days, they didn’t say it that way. They did not have the dogma of the Trinity to help interpret what they were experiencing. So much for the First Creation.
Let’s turn to the Second Creation. The Second Creation took place many centuries later, during the time of Moses, when the Hebrew people were living in slavery in the land of Egypt.
During the Second Creation the Hebrew slaves were recreated. They were rescued from slavery; they were liberated and they became the People of God. Once again, the main actors were the hands of God, the voice of God and the Spirit of God.
Moses heard the voice of God in the Burning Bush. The voice said, “Set my people free. I want these slaves to become a new people with great dignity. I want them to become my people.” Moses listened carefully to that voice and told the people, “At night, under the cover of darkness, we will run to freedom. We will run to the Red Sea.” That very night they followed the pillar of fire, which was the Spirit of God. And when they came to the shore of the Red Sea, the hands of God parted the waters, and they passed through on dry land. Thus, they were able to escape from the Pharaoh and they became the People of God.
With help from the voice of God, the hand of God and the Spirit of God, the Hebrew slaves were recreated. They became the People of God.
Now it’s time to look at the New Creation.
The New Creation took place twelve centuries later in the time of Christ. For the New Creation, the voice of God was Jesus of Nazareth. His voice was calling people to love their enemies and serve those in need.
The leaders of the people did not like his message and they registered their protest by nailing him to the cross. Just before he died Jesus said, “Father, I place my life into your hands.” Then the hands of the Father lifted him up and gave him a new life….A New Life in that place where there is no more suffering, no more tears and no more sadness. And fifty days later, on Pentecost Sunday, the Spirit of God came to the followers of Jesus in the wind and in the fire.
In the First Creation, the Spirit was in the wind; in the Second Creation the Spirit was in the fire. And in the New Creation, the Spirit was in both the wind and the fire.
Now it’s time to ask, “What is this New Creation?” St. Paul says that it is the Body of Christ. The head of the body is our Risen Savior. And the members of the body are all those who have been baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Today’s Gospel is about baptism. Jesus says to his disciples, “Go forth and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Jesus wants his family to include people of all nations. He is hoping that everyone will be baptized in His name and in the name of His Father and His Spirit.
Why? Why does Jesus have this wish? Because he wants everyone to become a part of the New Creation. Jesus wants everyone to have access to that beautiful eternal life which the Father has sent him to bring into the world. Jesus wants all people to believe in him and to be baptized. Baptism means that we become part of the New Creation and we become agents for the voice of God, the hands of God and the Spirit of God in the world in which we live.
In one of her most famous quotes, St. Teresa of Avila said, (and I quote) “ We are the hands of God, the feet of God and the eyes of God in this universe. God has no body on earth but ours.” (end of quote)
We are the hands of God creating one family on this earth - one family with no divisions. One family which includes all people of all nations. We are the voice of God calling all people to set aside the weapons of destruction and work for peace instead.
Perhaps you know this already, but I’m one of those people who very seldom goes to movies. However, I do read about them in the newspapers. And I notice that many of them have revenge in the title or the main character in the movie is seeking revenge against someone. I can’t help but notice how frequently the word revenge is used in the movie world.
But revenge is not part of the Christian world. It doesn’t sound like us. We are not motivated by revenge. Instead, we are the voice that calls people to turn away from hatred and retaliation and work for harmony instead. We also carry the Holy Spirit into our world today. We are called to bring the spirit of hope to the people that we meet.
While some people are pessimistic about the future, we bring a ray of sunshine onto the scene because the Holy Spirit reveals to us that the future will be brimming over with love and grace. We believe that good things will happen in the future because it contains God’s love and mercy.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus says that God does not want to condemn us but to save us. The future is filled with salvation, not condemnation.
I will close with a quick summary. In the First Creation, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit gave life to our world. In the Second Creation, the Hebrew people became the People of God. and in the New Creation, we are baptized, and we become members of the Body of Christ……… the new Israel, the new People of God. And all of this has implications for us. It means that we are called to work on behalf of the Most Holy Trinity. We are called to be the hands of God. And we are called to be the voice of God. And we are called to bring the Spirit of God into our world today.
We pray now for the grace we need to be active agents of the most Holy Trinity in our world today.