Exodus 34:4b-6, 8-9; Daniel 3:52-55; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; John 3:16-18
These few Sundays after Pentecost present for us two major teachings of our faith. Theologically, we call them dogmas. Catechesis is the explanation of what these major elements mean. Especially in the Gospel of St. John we learn more about these three persons. Human language is not able to give a complete explanation of these divine realities yet we can understand some things. The rest is a faith belief of their reality.
In St. John 14:16, Jesus said: "I will ask the Father and He will give you another Paraclete to be with you always: the Spirit of Truth." Jesus said in St. John 15:26 "When the Paraclete comes, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father — and whom I myself will send from the Father – He will bear witness on My behalf." Jesus taught us to pray in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4, the Lord’s Prayer: "Our Father, Who are in heaven…."
So what do we conclude from the Bible? Basically God, the Father, was working in the Old Testament. Because of all the sins of humanity, the Father had to send his Son into our world to speak to each of us as a human person. Jesus healed and taught thousands. The apostles were his disciples learning from the master and "protecting" him as it were, as his bodyguards. Jesus died to forgive the sins of the human race and went back to heaven. He was only physically here on earth for 33 years. Since Pentecost, the Holy Spirit is in charge of the church. He is the orchestra leader or choirmaster, if you will. But the key is: do we know each person of the Trinity? And will we submit our will to follow God’s plan for our salvation and that of others? In an historical time sequence this is easy to understand.
A simple theological explanation of the Trinity is this. In God, the creator and sustainer of all life and things, there is only one nature. Yet there are three distinct persons in that one nature: the Father, the Son who proceeds from the Father by generation, and the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son by spiration. The three Divine Persons are coequal, coeternal and consubstantial. They deserve coequal glory and adoration (worship). All life begins in the Trinity, comes from the Trinity and is destined to end in the Trinity, forever in heaven.
Every liturgical action begins "in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" and is accompanied by one or other Trinitarian doxologies, such as "glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit…." It is because the faithful are baptized in this formula, that we can celebrate the Covenant by virtue of our universal priesthood. With Jesus we are a priestly, prophetic and royal people. So by God’s grace we enter into the life of the three persons.
The liturgy of the heavenly Jerusalem, in which the earthly liturgy really shares, is the perfect insertion of the Church, the Spouse and Body of Christ, into the life of the Son, begotten by the Father in the Holy Spirit. And this spiritual life flows back to the Father in His Spirit. This is the circle of divine love. The more we understand, the more we can open ourselves to allow this circle of love to continue and renew us, those around us and the entire world.
Trinity Sunday is celebrated each year the first Sunday after Pentecost. This solemn feast evolved from a special Office and Mass of the Holy Trinity around the 8th century. Eventually it was picked for its celebration in the 12th century with the consecration of St. Thomas Becket as the Archbishop of Canterbury. By the 14th century it was extended to the entire Church. Is that simple enough?
Happy and blessed Father’s Day to all fathers. Father’s have a special role in God’s plan of salvation as the "servant leaders" of the family. Man and woman are drawn together to form a new and permanent unit in which God can place His children to be nurtured. A couple needs the sacrament, divine power, to come from two different backgrounds to form a new loving unit built from their uniqueness. It takes a lifetime to "create" that new unit, as Marriage Encounter shares. It is not easy to give up a lot of the past to become something new. Fatherhood is modeled throughout our Scriptures. The father needs to be the guardian, provider, protector and mentor of the family unit and needs a lot of God’s grace.
In his prison ministry, Chuck Colson found that most men in prison came out of "fatherless families." They were never mentored into manhood by a present loving father. Much healing is needed there. This cultural situation is one of satan’s major attacks against the human race. Let us pray for God’s power to remedy this situation. Happy Father’s Day.
(© 2014 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)