THE MOST HOLY TRINITY(B) May 27, 2018
Deut 4: 32-34, 39-40; Psalm 33; Romans 8: 14-17; Matthew 28: 16-20
by Jude Siciliano, OP
Today we celebrate the feast of the Most Holy Trinity. Our God is an infinite mystery and never to be contained, or comprehended, no matter how much time and energy we exert in our pursuit; no matter how many creative and poetic images we use. It is a waste of our time to try to figure out how three goes into one. While we are not able to sum up our understanding of the Trinity, still, we can enter in and experience the relationship we have with our triune God.
We learn through our experience who our God is. The Scriptures guide and nourish that relationship which we are constantly discovering anew. They help us know about our God and God’s will for humanity, indeed for all creation. So, we turn to the word of God for insight and power to guide us, we who are made in God’s image and likeness.
I find the first reading from Deuteronomy irresistible. Today’s text is called a high point of the whole book. In it our Jewish ancestors remind us that we have seen the face of God revealed through God’s powerful deeds. Deuteronomy is the last of the five books of the Pentateuch. The name means "second law." It is a law book and its purpose is to regulate life by law. Deuteronomy captures the message of the prophets and directs the faithful to do as God does – care for widows, orphans and strangers in the land.
Note: before Deuteronomy lays down laws of behavior, it reminds the people, in exodus-tinged language, of the nature of their God. God had performed mighty deeds on their behalf and then, after reminding them that they have been privileged recipients of God’s goodness and liberating gifts, the faithful are called to respond in obedience, surrender and faithfulness. God revealed God’s self through powerful deeds for the benefit of the people. We can imagine them saying, "Since God has done so much for us, what response can we make to such a loving and powerful God?" As Moses puts it, "You must keep God’s statutes and commandments that I enjoin on you today…." The people do not have to keep the commandments to earn God’s pleasure. Moses reminds them that God has been pleased to choose and rescue them. The book of Deuteronomy will lay out a plan for their behavior, how to acknowledge and act according to the will of their loving God.
Once again the disciples are with Jesus on a mountain. They are back in Galilee where it all began for them, the call by Jesus to follow him. But a lot has happened since they accepted his invitation. Things hadn’t turned out the way they expected. The last time Peter, James and John were on a mountain with Jesus, he was transfigured before them. They were excited by what they experienced, but Jesus hinted to them about his coming death and resurrection. Of course, they didn’t understand what he meant.
Now all the disciples are with Jesus on another mountain, all, that is, except Judas. A lot has happened since the Transfiguration. They traveled with Jesus to Jerusalem and watched him get rejected by the religious authorities and killed by the Romans. Could things have gotten any worse? Even one of his intimates betrayed him to a torturous death? But the story didn’t end there. Jesus was resurrected from the dead.
Today’s selection from Matthew closes his gospel. On the mount of Transfiguration Jesus touched his disciples and told them, "Do not be afraid." The gospel closes with Jesus consecrating the disciples to go out into the very world that rejected and killed him, preach the Gospel and baptize people "in the name of Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Jesus also promises to be with them, "always until the end of time." They need not fear because Jesus, who has been given "all power in heaven and on earth" will be with them.
We are disciples of Jesus. So, the power Jesus had for those whom he first commissioned, he also has for us. Through all the stages of our lives, from childhood into adulthood and then into old age, we are called to witness to the new life Jesus has given us and to trust that, at each stage, as we face new and unique challenges to our faith, Jesus’ words are true and reliable, "I am with you always until the end of the age."
Jesus remains with us in his Spirit, the personal representative of Christ, who makes him present to each of us in every age. God has chosen to be intimately involved in our world. What we see and experience of God here on earth, through the Spirit, is the same God who is "in heaven."
As we entered church today we dipped our fingers into the holy water and signed ourselves with the sign of the cross. That water reminds us we were baptized into the life, death and resurrection of Christ. The words and gesture also remind us that we are recommitting ourselves to live what we profess: we are made in the image and likeness of God and are committed agents of our loving God in all we do, dying to self, so that through us, God’s love will be evident to everyone.
On this feast of the Most Blessed Trinity we must be modest in our claim of human knowledge about God. God is mystery. Still we try to give our best expression, through words and symbols, about who our God is and how God has been made known to us. To know God as Father/Creator means we keep our eyes open to see God’s power and wisdom towards all creatures. This is the God in whom we live, and move and have our being.
We profess faith in the Son, the mystery of God-with-us in Jesus Christ. We identify closely with his life, words, attitudes and actions. We participate in his dying and rising through our baptism. Through the Son we experience an intimate relationship with God and we come to know God-with-us always. We are servants called to serve one another by the Christ we have heard and are called to imitate.
We profess faith in the Spirit, who stirs the divine life of Christ within us. Through the Spirit we come to perceive and experience the grace-filled works of our God and we are moved to respond. The Spirit raises our spirits above fear and hesitancy and energizes us to do what Jesus tells us to do in today’s gospel, "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you."
Click here for a link to this Sunday’s readings:http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/052718.cfm
|We do not
think about the Trinity as much as experience it. Only then do we
understand. And here is the paradox, that we understand the Trinity
most when we realize that we do not understand.
—Herbert O’Driscoll, "Prayers for the Breaking of Bread
JUSTICE BULLETIN BOARD
Did anything so great ever happen before?
Have you ever taken the time to contemplate that as we journey from Old Testament to New that it becomes more and more apparent that God chooses to run the world through humans? God must have great faith in us!
Pope Francis states in his Angelus of 5/22/2016, regarding the Trinity, "God is a ‘family’ of three Persons who love each other so much as to form into one." Furthermore, as the Pope told the pilgrims in St. Peter's Square, "Our being created in the image and likeness of God, communion calls us to understand ourselves as beings-in-relation, and to live interpersonal relationships in solidarity and reciprocal love." God’s faith in each of us is as a member of a beloved family.
In an earlier Angelus (10/25/15), Pope Francis uses the inspired words of the prophet Jeremiah to describe authentic human community that again speaks to family. "[The Lord’s] ‘dream’, forever and always, is that of forming a people, of gathering it, of guiding it toward the land of liberty and peace. And this people is made up of families: there are ‘the woman with child and those in labor’(31:8); it is a people that while walking, sends life forth, with God’s blessing. It is a people that does not exclude the poor and underprivileged, but instead, includes them. The Prophet says: ‘among them the blind and the lame’(ibid). It is a family of families, in which one who toils is not marginalized, left behind, but manages to stay in step with the others, because this people walks in step with the least; as is done in families, and as we are taught by the Lord, who made himself poor with the poor, little with the little ones, last with the least. He did not do so in order to exclude the wealthy, the great and first, but because this is the only way to save even them, to save everyone: to go with the least, with the excluded, with the lowliest." This is also the meaning of seeking the "common good."
While continually freeing us, our Triune God models Beloved Community for us as a loving extended family and also asks us to serve in the building of this Beloved Community in the here-and-now--a community where no one is left behind.
Help make this happen by joining one of our social justice ministries atwww.raleighcathedral.org > parish> social justice
---Barbara Molinari Quinby, MPS
Director of Social Justice Ministries
Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral, Raleigh, NC
Mini-reflections on the Sunday scripture readings designed for persons on the run. "Faith Book" is also brief enough to be posted in the Sunday parish bulletins people take home.
From today’s Gospel reading:
[Jesus said to his disciples]
"And behold, I am with you always until the end of the age."
The power Jesus had for those whom he first commissioned, he also has for us. Through all the stages of our lives, from childhood into adulthood and then into old age, we are called to witness to the new life Jesus has given us and to trust that, as we face new and unique challenges to our faith, Jesus’ words are true and reliable, "I am with you always until the end of the age."
So, we ask ourselves:
POSTCARDS TO DEATH ROW INMATES
"One has to strongly affirm that condemnation to the death
penalty is an inhuman measure that humiliates personal dignity, in whatever form
it is carried out."
Inmates on death row are the most forgotten people in the prison system. Each week I post in this space several inmates’ names and addresses. I invite you to write a postcard to one or more of them to let them know we have not forgotten them. If you like, tell them you heard about them through North Carolina’s, "People of Faith Against the Death Penalty." If the inmate responds you might consider becoming pen pals.
Please write to:
---Central Prison, 4285 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-4285
For more information on the Catholic position on the death penalty go to the Catholic Mobilizing Network:http://catholicsmobilizing.org/resources/cacp/
Also, check the interfaith page for People of Faith Against the Death Penalty:http://www.pfadp.org/
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St. Albert the Great Priory of Texas
3150 Vince Hagan Drive
Irving, Texas 75062-4736