Sunday, June 3, 2012
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19)
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19)
An English teacher of a 21-sophomore high school class put a small chalk dot on the blackboard. He then asked the class what it was. A few seconds passed and then someone said, "That is a chalk dot on the blackboard." The rest of the class seemed relieved that the obvious had been stated, and no one else had anything to say. "I'm surprised at you," the teacher told the class. "I did the same exercise yesterday with a group of kindergartners and they thought of 50 different things the chalk mark could be: an owl's eye, a cigar butt, the top of a telephone pole, a star, a pebble, a squashed bug, a rotten egg, a bird's eye, and so on." The older students had learned how to find a right answer, but had lost the ability to look for more than one right answer. The Holy Spirit helps us, in his wonderful Wisdom, to see more than we might have seen by ourselves. The Spirit's vision allows us wonderful options for expansion and new possibilities. It is the Spirit's Wisdom that reveals the Word to us. It is the Wisdom of the Spirit which shows us our sin, which guides us, which instructs us, which leads us in the way everlasting.
Today’s feast invites us to live in the awareness of the presence of the Triune God within us: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This feast dates back to the 13th century when Pope John XXII fixed it on the Sunday after Pentecost. It’s a day we celebrate the great mystery of our faith that, “There is one God, who has three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each person is God, yet there is still only one God” (C.C.C. #234, #253-256). We have the Father who is the creator, Son the redeemer and Holy Spirit the sanctifier and the counselor. All the official prayers of the Church, including the Holy Mass and the sacraments, begin with an address to the Holy Trinity: “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” We are baptised, absolved of our sins and anointed in the name of the Blessed Trinity. Throughout the world, church bells can ring three times a day inviting Christians to pray to God the Father (the Provider); God the Son (the Saviour); and God the Holy Spirit (the Sanctifier). We bless ourselves with the sign of the cross invoking the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and we conclude our prayers glorifying the Holy Trinity, saying “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.”
Today’s readings convey the fundamental mystery that the Triune God reaches out to people in love, seeking the deepest communion. The first reading, tells us that God is deeply involved in the world from its beginning, showing Fatherly care for His people by redeeming them from slavery and bringing them into the freedom of their own land. In the second reading, Paul describes the role of God the Holy Spirit in making us true children of God the Father and brothers and sisters of God the Son, Jesus. It is the Spirit which enables us to rise to the challenge of our call to be comfortable with differences and diversity, knowing deep in our hearts that there is an underlying fundamental and basic unity. Today’s gospel describes Jesus’ final apparition to his apostles just before his ascension into heaven. At that moment, He commissioned them to make disciples of all nations, and commanded them to baptise those who came to believe, “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
Our conviction of the presence of the Triune God within us should help us to esteem ourselves as God’s holy dwelling place, behave well in His holy presence, and lead purer and holier lives, practicing acts of justice and charity. This Triune Presence should also encourage us to respect and honor others because everyone is the temple of the Holy Spirit where all the three Persons of the Holy Trinity abide. Let us have the firm conviction that the Trinitarian God abides in us and that He is the source of our hope, courage and strength and is our final destination.
When a parishioner was asked what the Holy Trinity meant to her, she replied, “The Trinitarian God is a lot like our pastor. I don’t see him through the week and I don’t understand him on Sunday.” But we believe in this mystery because Jesus who is God taught it clearly, the evangelists recorded it, the Fathers of the Church tried to explain it and the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople defined it as a dogma of Christian faith.
St. Francis Xavier’s favourite prayer was: “Most Holy Trinity, who lives in me, I praise you, I worship you, I adore you and I love you.” Let the Son lead us to the Father through the Spirit, to live with the Triune God forever and ever. Amen.
“Most Holy Trinity, help me experience your divine love and abundant life more each day, and help me spread this love and warmth wherever I go.”