Homily (Reflection) for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (A) (11th June, 2017) on the Gospel and the Solemnity
Ex 34:4-6.8-9;Dan 3:52-56 (R.V.52)
This solemnity is celebrated on the Sunday after Pentecost. Our aim is just to remind ourselves some of the things I believe we must have known about God.
Topic: The Triune God.
We celebrate our belief that in God there are three Persons – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Not three gods but three Persons in one God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) puts it thus, “The Trinity is One. We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons … each of them is God whole and entire: The Father is that which the Son is, the Son that which the Father is, the Father and the Son that which the Holy Spirit is, i.e. by nature one God” (CCC 253). CCC reads, “The Trinity is a mystery of faith in the strict sense, one of the ‘mysteries that are hidden in God, which can never be known unless they are revealed by God’” (CCC 237). The penny catechism explains mystery as “… a truth which is above reason, but revealed by God” (n. 28). Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (2009), in a secular sense defines mystery as something “that people do not understand or cannot explain because they do not know enough about it”. In the light of these, no one can boast of having all the explanations about the solemnity that we are celebrating.
In this Trinity of Persons, the Son is begotten of the Father by an eternal generation, and the Holy Spirit proceeds by an eternal procession from the Father and the Son. Nevertheless, all the Persons are uncreated and omnipotent. This, the Church teaches, is the revelation regarding God's nature which Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came upon earth to deliver to the world: and which she proposes to man as the foundation of her whole dogmatic system.
And “The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the ‘hierarchy of the truths of faith’” (CCC234). Saint Caesarius of Arles in The Catechism of the Catholic Church attests, “The faith of all Christians rests on the Trinity” (n.232). Hence, every Christian is baptized in the name of the Trinity as instructed by Christ, cf. Matt 28:19. Note also that “Christians are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: not in their names, for there is only one God, the almighty Father, his only Son and the Holy Spirit: the Most Holy Trinity” (CCC 233).
The word “Trinity” which is a translation of the word trias cannot be found in the scriptures. It was first found in the writing of Theophilus of Antioch about A.D. 180. Other ancient writers like Tertullian and Origen among others also used the word in their writings. Although neither the word Trinity nor any other word that stands for the three Persons in One God can be found in the bible, we have ample evidence in the bible that supports this (cf. Matt 28:19; 1Cor 12:4-6).
Today’s gospel reads, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” (Jn 3:16). CCC also reads: “Everyone who glorifies the Father does so through the Son in the Holy Spirit; everyone who follows Christ does so because the Father draws him and the Spirit moves him” (n.259, cf. Jn 6:44; Rom 8:14). Therefore one cannot know or love one Person of the Trinity without the other. Note “… the Father is wholly in the Son and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Son wholly in the Father and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is wholly in the Father and wholly in the Son” (n.255, cf. Jn 10:38; 14:10, 11). As we celebrate God who is love, may God be made manifest in our relationships with others, (cf. 1Jn 4:8, 16,20).
Let us conclude with a story in Gerard Fuller’s book Stories for all Seasons. It is about a little girl in an orphanage whom the headmistress saw as a problem child. One day, the headmistress saw this girl crossed the main gate that was forbidden and went and tied a piece of paper to a tree. The headmistress rushed and picked the piece of paper but behold on it was written: “To whoever finds this, I love you”. And I add: how do you think the headmistress would react to this? Gerard concludes with this: “Loving relationships form the essence of the Trinity. Does it ‘in-form’ our family and community relationships? How?”
Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
Bible Reading: Gen 1:26; 3:22; Matt 28:16-20; 1Cor 12:4-6; Eph 4:1-6.
Thought for today: Do you manifest the Most Holy Trinity in your life?
Let us pray: May the celebration of the Most Holy Trinity re-awaken in us the three powers in our souls – memory, understanding, and will – Amen (cf. CCD 30).
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