Sunday – 30 May 2020 – Bible Readings for Mass: I: Deuteronomy 4:32-34,39-40; Responsorial: Psalm 33; II: Romans 8:14-17; Gospel: Matthew 28:16-20
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. To understand, explain or illustrate what is one of the most sublime mysteries of our Christian faith is always a study of contrasts. On the one hand we have GOD, Holy Spirit, Son and Father. On the other hand we have our humanity with our futile efforts to try to confine and organize GOD into our comfortable little God boxes.
We form our God boxes with the materials we have at hand. Our traditions, our upbringing as children, our teachings of religion, faith, spirituality or whatever words we find fluent for our soul. As Catholics, we have the Holy Scriptures and the Traditions of the Church. Our Catechisms provide a wealth of materials that help us form what we believe and what we think of GOD. We also have centuries of sacred art and music that bring us rich, beautiful, if not always accurate images of our Heavenly Father, His Son, our Redeemer, and the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit. While the concept isn’t sacred the forming of our God boxes is rather like going to a big box home improvement store and finding those materials with which we may build, remodel, enlarge or repair our perceptions of God. We often will also use other materials in working on our understandings. We might use soul wounds, fears, politics, or specific causes and agendas that emphasize or compliment our beliefs.
And we become very comfortable and secure in our beliefs. We can develop great security and peace of mind. Our faith matures and solidifies into a strong dwelling place. In so many ways this is the intent and desire of GOD, that we are able to stand strong throughout the storms of life. The Psalmist said it well when he spoke of GOD as a stronghold to which we come in the trials of life. It is also from those strong places we are able to share the light of hope and peace GOD brings, even in the storms of life.
But our little God boxes are not meant to be where we are to live or grow, for eternity. If we seek to confine GOD only to those places of our understanding and design, those places where we are especially comfortable we would cripple our faith and our relationship with GOD. We are called not to be comfortable, but disciples. And it is especially with our Triune God, the Most Holy Trinity, we can realize the infinite holy joy to which God would welcome us to share in and with GOD, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The Gospel for this Mass shares with us the commission from our Lord given to His followers to “Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always, until the end of the age.” [Matthew 28:16-20]. The sacred formula for the Rite of Baptism is here given to the Church. The Divine Commission to teach and make disciples is also established. But Jesus never intended that His Words become just sacred liturgical trim in our God boxes. If we listen carefully we can hear from Jesus an invitation to share and grow in dynamic relations with each other and GOD as together we would journey in love and faith.
We are called to GO and MAKE DISCIPLES! Jesus is telling us we are to not just hide away in fear and worry but to go out and make disciples. This, especially when seen in the light of the Book of Acts, is about going and meeting people where they are, in their lives and then sharing a faith-filled relationship with GOD that will help them follow in the way of Jesus to the Father, through the graces of the Holy Spirit. This might mean doing focused work as missioners to places and peoples as we may be sent by God. But it is especially about going to family, friends, and even enemies and simply sharing the forgiveness, the mercy, the hope we find only in GOD. This may be done in words. It is always done in and through our life.
It is as we go and make disciples we are told by Jesus to baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus would tell us that we are to immerse each other in the Name, the Presence of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Rite of Baptism is normally done by a priest or deacon. But the rite is always shared by parents, sponsors, God Parents, and members of the community of the faithful. We are all called, together, to share in the ongoing immersing of each other into the infinite graces and joys of GOD. Perhaps in prayer, perhaps in learning to cook a family meal, perhaps in sharing in forgiveness for failings, perhaps but always to grow deeper into all GOD would be.
Great minds and saints have spoken and written well on the mysteries of the Holy Trinity. I could, would, never presume to explain GOD. I believe I can only share that which I have experienced. I do not understand GOD. I continue to realize my little God boxes are, at best, humorous attempts to confine GOD. But what I also continue to realize is that we are not called to understand the Holy Trinity. We are called to know, to grow in our relationship with GOD, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God who is pure and holy would cleanse and forgive our sins through the atonement of Christ, welcoming us into the healing embrace of our Heavenly Father to grow empowered by the Holy Spirit for the good of souls and the glory of God.
It is as we grow in God we then can grow in what I have increasingly sensed is one of the most powerful and holy moments of the Mass. In the closing Doxology of the Eucharistic Prayer we pray and share in a distinct sacred threshold of grace:
“Through Him, and with him, and in him, O God, almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, for ever and ever. Amen”.
[Yes I am aware I have shared this point in other reflections. But I also sense it is so very urgently needed in our lives and Church.]
This day, and always, as we celebrate the Most Holy Trinity may each of you grow, in the love of God the Father, the mercy and peace of Jesus His Son, and the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Amen.