JUST 3 WORDS:
“HOLY, HOLY, HOLY”
The title of my homily for this 14th Saturday in Ordinary time is, “Just 3 Words: Holy, Holy, Holy”.
“Holy, Holy, Holy” are the words – that Isaiah hears – in today’s first reading. [Cf. Isaiah 6:1-]
Isaiah is in the temple – where he has a God experience. He hears the angels – praying and praising God: “Holy, Holy, Holy.”
The scene is where we get the Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus – the Holy, Holy, Holy, of our Mass.
It’s why we have all these images of angels here in our church – at the old altar, in the Mary Ikon, in the stained glass windows, up there in the ceiling and at our Holy Water fonts in the back.
Find yourself saying that 3 word prayer – “Holy, Holy, Holy” - when you are having awful experiences – that is, experiences of fullness of awe – completeness, wholeness, experiencing the Holy – experiencing God.
Put that prayer – simply saying, “Holy, Holy, Holy” into practice.
The Hebrew word for Holy – and Holiness - is “QODES” or “QADES”.
It becomes “Hagia” in Greek and it becomes “Holy” in English.
Be aware of the sounds each of us makes when we experience awe or the holy. These sounds often have an “ah” or an “oh” in them. Amen.
We often make the sound “Oh” or “Ah” or “Ooooh!” whenever we are in an awful moment.
Listen to others and to ourselves and hear the words we use when we experience something awesome – or we’re surprised. We hear, “Wow!” or “Woo!” or “Oh” or “Uooh!” or we say, “Holy” or “holy cow” “holy mackerel” or “Holy God.”
KEY INGREDIENTS OF HOLINESS ARE
The key ingredients of holiness are: fullness, completeness, awesomeness, the spectacular, beauty. Surprise!
The opposite of holiness is split, the wrong, graffiti on the sacred walls or beautiful fences, tossed garbage, broken, incomplete, sin, curses, division, the ugly.
Yet paradoxically, holiness means separate. So Sunday is a holy day – separate from the ordinary days of the week. So we wear the more beautiful in holy moments – like vestments, Sunday best, wedding attire…. So a church, a synagogue, a temple, a mosque, is a different building – a holy place.
SOME HOLY, HOLY, HOLY MOMENTS
Here are some Holy, Holy, Holy moments – moments to say those 3 words: "Holy, Holy, Holy" … when they don’t come naturally.
Make it a practice to enter churches we've we’ve never been in before. Try the door. If open, enter. Hopefully it’s a beautiful place. Stand, sit, kneel. Then, pray, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” May your prayers rise with all the prayers ever said in that holy place. Some people make their 1 wish - whenever they enter a church they have never been in before and say three Hail Mary’s. Others say 1 Hail Mary and make 3 wishes. This second practice is the one I was brought up with. Whichever way you choose, I’m suggesting, say those 3 words, “Holy, Holy, Holy.”
Whenever you go by a cemetery say, “Holy, Holy, Holy.”
At times walk through your house and stop and say those 3 words at the holy places: the kitchen table, the dining room table, your marriage bed, a screened in porch, a window that has your favorite outside spot to see, a screened in porch, a garden….
Whenever you see a funeral hearse or a wedding limo going by – say, pray, that those in those cars have a Holy, Holy, Holy moment that day.
Close your eyes – and picture all the beautiful places in the world you’ve been in: art museums, gardens filled with spectacular flowers, the Ocean, lakes, rivers, mountains, canyons, ball parks with great crowds…..
Then there are musical concerts – music of all sorts – rock concerts, folk music, rock-n-roll, orchestras, or musicals. Like last night over in Marian Hall our little kids put on an hour’s concert of the music and dance they learned and practiced in the annual PAC – Performing Arts Camp. I heard lots of clapping and “Ah” or “Oooh” moments.
Savor the taste of butter and salt on your next ear of corn – corn on the cob – or the taste of watermelon – a great beer on a hot, hot day – as well as your next ice cream cone or apple or blueberry pie – enjoying the moments with family and friends.
Then there are sunrises, sunsets, waking up to a new day, going to sleep after thinking of the 3 best moments of that day: Holy, Holy, Holy.
And on and on and on…. Holy, Holy, Holy, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
And at this Mass – this day – when we come to that prayer - let’s say that prayer with great spirit.
And may each of us have at least 3 “Holy, holy, holy” moments this day. Amen.