5.27.18. Sun. wk 8 – Ordinary Time- B
Feast of the Most Holy Trinity
Deuteronomy 4: 32 – 34, 39 – 40
Romans 8: 14 – 17
Gospel of Matthew 28: 16 – 20
The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” The Gospel of the Lord.
Homily: Fr. Mike Murphy Divine Dance of the Most Holy Trinity
Last Sunday on the Feast of Pentecost – we celebrated ‘God – the Holy Spirit’. Next weekend, on the Feast of Corpus Christi – we will honor the real Presence of ‘God the Son’ in the Eucharist. Today we celebrate the “Most Holy Trinity’; three Persons – One God. This is what defines us as Christians. It is the model for our life in Christ – united as His people in love. The Most Holy Trinity can be seen as an eternal dance – of love and relationship. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – and the divine music that they dance to – had no beginning, and it has no end. It is an eternal symphony in three movements: Creation – Redemption – Sanctification. We cannot have one without the other because they are the same substance.
Look at the instructions that Jesus gave to His apostles as we heard in the Gospel today. “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”. (Matt.28:19-20) Now I don’t know if you noticed something in what Jesus said. He does not tell them to Baptize in the names of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – plural. It is singular – Jesus used the singular form: “In the NAME of the Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit. ‘The Three – in Truth – are ONE’.
This image of the Sacred Heart (pointing to the Icon of the Sacred Heart hanging in the sanctuary) has been hanging on this wall for decades and it really speaks of the Trinity. Traditionally, Jesus has two fingers on His right hand extended, and one finger on His left hand extended and together they represent the Trinity – Father, Son and Spirit. Through this mosaic, Jesus is speaking a profound truth to us. He is saying: “The Father loves you, the Spirit loves you, and I love you”! That is the essence of the Holy Trinity – God’s love for us.
In our first Reading – Moses said to the Israelites: “Did a people ever hear the voice of God speaking in the midst of fire as you did and live? Or did any God venture to go and take a nation for Himself?” (Deut.4:33f) The Israelites could say that God did all those things for them – but we can say: “God has done more for us”, because Jesus is the complete self-revelation of God. Our God has done more for us than just speak through a symbol – like fire. The fullness of the Most Holy Trinity has walked among us. Our God has allowed us to pierce His hands and feet with nails. Our God rose from the dead with power and glory to show us what we can expect – if we remain faithful and loving. That’s what we can expect – to also rise from the dead in power and glory – never to die again.
And if that were not enough – our God shares His noble power with us through the Holy Spirit – making us adopted sons and daughters, giving us the mission to collaborate with His Son. “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”. (Matt.28:19-20)
The mission of Jesus was to reveal the glory of God to us – a Trinity of Persons – to unite us to God in a community of unbreakable unity and eternal love. And now this is our mission. Jesus has passed that mission on to us – to proclaim God’s love to all the world – the salvation of all people, to become a Community of Faith, of unbreakable unity and eternal love. Everyone can be created anew by the Father – redeemed from their sins through the Son – and sanctified for holiness by the Holy Spirit – and this is what we are to proclaim.
Now – we all know that the Trinity is a mystery – we don’t know how it works – so how can we possibly proclaim this to the world? Let me give you an idea of how to simplify it; how to teach it to other people who don’t understand.
First: tell them the Father is not a distant, angry, vindictive God. Like a Father He wants to be close to us, and He promises to watch over us till the end. He loves you as if you were the only one to love. That is the power of His love!
And the Son. When God came to earth as the Son, it was not in power and majesty – Jesus was born into poverty – in a stable in Bethlehem – wrapped in swaddling clothes. God the Son – “emptied Himself” to be one like us. He became a brother and a friend – to take our yoke upon His shoulders. And He established a new Kingdom, not by force and not by violence – but by simple, sacrificial love. Isaiah prophesied this about Jesus: “Not crying out, not shouting, not making His voice heard in the street. A bruised reed He shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench”. (Is.42:2-3)
And God did not disappear when Jesus ascended into heaven, He became even closer to us – in fact – He is closer to us than we are to ourselves – because God dwells in our heart through the Holy Spirit. He is always with us – He is always pouring His life, His love into us whether we feel it or not. The Holy Spirit gives us the grace we need so that we can become like God – holy as He is Holy.
That’s how you explain the Trinity to those who don’t understand – Father, Son and Spirit. Assure them that God is always with them – He never leaves them alone – even in the most desperate and darkest moments of our lives – He never leaves us alone.
Our God feeds us with His Word and Sacrament. Our God forms us into one family – calling us all to be part of the Divine Dance – of Father, Son and Spirit. He wants us to be part of that dance. And we can become the perfect image of the Most Holy Trinity through faith in God and love of one another – because “nothing can separate us from the love of God. (Rom.8:39) So trust in what Jesus has promised us. If you do not think you can teach the mystery of the Trinity to others, simply repeat this promise of †Jesus:
(Fr. Mike then portrays for us – the message of the Icon of the Sacred Heart – as he repeats the words…)
“The Father loves you! The Spirit loves you! And I love you!”
In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.