(Saint John Fisher Church, Tarragindi: Saturday 6:00pm)
14 June 2014
(Readings: Exodus 34:4-6, 8-9; Dan 3:52-56; 2 Cor 13:11-13; Jn 3:16-18)
Of all the feast days of the Church year, the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity is quite unique. Unlike Christmas Day, Easter Sunday, the Ascension and Pentecost, we are not celebrating an “event” in this feast of the Trinity. This feast day, also, was not known to the early Church. In fact it didn’t arise until the year 1323, by which time the Church had taken centuries to reflect on the nature of God.
It’s also no accident that the feast is celebrated today, the Sunday after Pentecost. The Easter season is the high-point of the Church year. From Easter day until Pentecost Sunday we reflect on the central mysteries of our faith … the saving death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the acceptable sacrifice which brought peace and life to the world; his ascension into heaven, and the sending of the Holy Spirit, bringing to birth the community of the Church, a community charged with the task of continuing the mission of God in the world until the end of time.
Having celebrated all of that, on today’s feast we step back for a moment, and ask the question: who is the God who did all this? We needn’t be worried if we struggle to answer that question quickly and neatly, because it took the Church centuries to be able to articulate it. Only in sustained contemplation, prayer, and reflection are we able to put the pieces together. Today all of us are invited, just for a moment, to be theologians and contemplatives, as we reflect on: who is the God who has done all this for us?
Saint John tells us that this God is the God who loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life. “On the Cross [of Jesus] we see the Holy Trinity for what it is” (1). There we see the Son’s sacrificial love; his complete obedience to His Father; offering his life to the very end for the salvation of the world, the purpose for which he was sent, out of the Father’s goodness and mercy. We see the Son’s offering received, and the Father raises His Son from death to life and glory.
But then, we see the power of Christ’s sacrifice being poured on the disciples of Jesus in the first Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit – that is, the love of the Father and the Son, is given to the Church coming to birth, a loving power which is ceaselessly made available to the Church, again, until the end of the world.
The God who is “behind all this” is self-communicating, self-giving divine Love. God is Love. God is perfect relationship.
When God made human beings, they shared this perfect love. Before the fall, our ancestors knew God, and enjoyed this love. In the Garden of Eden, the enjoyment of the love of God was unspoilt. However, the first people were deceived, and used their freedom as God had told them not to, and so the enjoyment of the love of God was spoilt. The coming of God among us in Jesus Christ had as its purpose to return us to paradise; to return us to that state so that we can fully enjoy the love of God.
The Church’s mission is to help this come about – to cooperate with God the Father’s work of reconciling the world to Himself in His Son, in the love of the Holy Spirit. Our lives, having been baptized into the life, death and resurrection of Christ, our lives are to mirror the life of the Most Holy Trinity. The life of the community of disciples, the Church, is meant to be an image of the life of communion of the divine persons of the Trinity. Saint Paul urges us towards the perfection that is found in God; he says, “help one another,” “Be united; live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.”
We are called in our lives to reflect the inner life of God, “a God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in kindness and faithfulness.”
As we take a moment on this feast of the Most Holy Trinity, to reflect on the God who is behind everything we profess and believe, let’s pray that we will be more and more caught up into the divine Love of the Blessed Trinity; that the Love which is God will be the ground of our lives, and that we will be filled with that Love and share that life and love more and more with others.
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(1) Aidan Nichols, OP. Year of the Lord’s Favour, A Homiliary for the Roman Liturgy, Volume One: The Sanctoral Cycle, pp. 205-209.