Feast of the Holy Trinity
The Book of Deuteronomy is the source of this feast’s first reading. Deuteronomy is the fifth book in sequence, in the Old Testament. It is one of the five books that form, for Jews, the basic revelation by God.
This reading describes an instruction given by Moses to the Hebrew people as they wandered across the Sinai Peninsula, fleeing Egypt, where they had been slaves, and in search of the land God had promised them.
In this reading, Moses is quoted as having told the people that God created all. God had spoken to them. God is in heaven. Finally, Moses said that the people must obey God’s commandments. At the time, these words were extraordinarily powerful. They revealed God. Moreover, they were God’s own revelation. They marked the path toward genuine life with God. They were the ways to peace and joy in human existence.
For the second reading this weekend, the Church presents a passage from the Epistle to the Romans. By the time St. Paul wrote this letter to the Christians of Rome, a community had formed, convinced of the identity of Christ as Savior. Still, much more needed to be pondered and learned, if the full measure of life with God, in Christ, was to be attained.
Therefore, profoundly, Paul explained that faithful Christians share the divine life. They are more than creatures of God. They are God’s children. Indeed, disciples are encouraged to address God as “Father,” indeed as “Abba,” an ancient term for fathers that was a particularly gentle and loving endearment.
As children of God, the faithful are heirs to the eternal life of God. All this, of course, is accomplished in and through the individual Christian’s bond with the Lord Jesus.
St. Matthew’s Gospel supplies the last reading. It is a Resurrection narrative, clear and compelling. The risen Lord appears before the 11 surviving Apostles on a mountain, speaking to them in words that they understood.
For future generations, Jesus gave them all authority on earth and in heaven, sending them into the entire world, telling them to bring all whom they would meet into the one body, “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” In other words, Jesus ordered them to unite all people with God.
What is this feast all about? It tells us about God. God lives, and we hear that God loves us. In loving us, God communicates with us, meets us in our world, speaks in terms we can comprehend, provides for our needs and gives us eternal life.
God loves us so much that He gave to us, and sent to us, the Lord Jesus — the Son of God — as our redeemer and teacher.
God loves us by having given us the Apostles. They were more than humans who simply met Jesus and watched Jesus. They loved Jesus. Jesus called them individually and then sent them into the world, to us, to give us the words of salvation and the mercy of God despite all that may beset us.
That we might better know God, Jesus revealed to us, and the Church continues to reveal, the most intimate detail of God’s own life, the reality of the Holy Trinity, three distinct persons, united in the one divinity.
The Trinity reminds us that God is love, in a way we cannot describe, too wonderful, too perfect for humans to grasp.
The feast of the Holy Trinity does not present a mystery that is academic, dry and the object of useless speculation. Instead, it proclaims God’s perfect and unqualified love for us. It is never ceasing, always willing to forgive.
This feast joyfully proclaims that God wishes us truly to live. The key is our loving God in return.
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