FEASTING ON THE WORD
"If you meditate on the Scriptures it will appear to you in its brilliant splendor." ―St. Pio of Pietrelcina
Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity ( B )
Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40 | Psalm 33:4-5, 6, 9, 18-19, 20, 22 | Romans 8:14-17 | Matthew 28:16-20
There’s a story about Phillip, a young boy who goes and climbs up a mountain in what is now Turkey. He meets Evagrius of Pontus, a Greek monk of the 4th century. And the boy wakes the monk up because the monk is half asleep. And the monk says, “What can I do for you, young man?” And he says, “I want you to explain God for me.” And the monk smiles and he says, “God cannot be grasped by the mind. If God could be grasped, he is not a God that you should worship.” And he smiled and went back to sleep.
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, the central mystery of the Christian faith and of Christian life” (CCC, 234). Trinity is one God in three persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. It’s not three gods. It’s not three qualities of God. It’s not three phases of God. It's not three forms of God. There is one God in three persons. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are fully distinct from the other, but at the same time, fully and completely God. Each person, at the same time is fully united to the other and in their union they are completely God. One God, three persons. Maybe hard to understand completely, but not impossible to understand in part.
A friend asks, "Do you know Christopher de Leon?" You say yes. But what you really mean is that you know of him, and know a little bit about him. But you've never met him, never spoken to him, and you don't have a relationship with him. But if you asked his wife of 40 years, Sandy Andolong that same question, she'd say, "Of course I know him. I'm married to him." That's the difference between knowing about God, and really knowing Him!
God desires to be encountered. He seeks to have a personal relationship with you and me. In our first reading taken from Deuteronomy, we hear that God’s desire for relationship with Israel is unrelenting. Moses asks: "Has any nation ever heard the voice of God speaking from fire—as you did—and survived? Has any other god dared to take a nation for himself out of another nation...?" If there's one thing people need to hear over and over again, it's this: God loves you. He may not like everything you do, but He's never going to stop loving you. Let that truth settle into your heart for a moment. God's greatest desire is for his children to walk in the fullness of relationship available to them. Note that this relationship also has a basic expectation: a lived covenant. The greatest thing you can do is get up every single day and love God in return. Living in obedience to him in all things is a great way to show your love and respect for him.
Saint Teresa of Avila Parish was hosting their monthly Parish Renewal Experience seminar (PREX). On Friday night the lead couple preached a message about repentance and the need to return to the Lord. During special time for prayer, a man came down the aisle saying “Fill me Lord, fill me.” On Saturday night the lead couple challenged the participants with the need to totally surrender their lives to Christ in complete obedience. Again a special time for prayer was extended; like the night before the same man came down the aisle saying “Fill me Lord, fill me.” On Sunday morning, the lead couple warned the participants of the evils of sin and urged them to live lives of holiness. Again at the invitation was made to give one’s life to Christ, the same man came up the aisle saying “Fill me Lord, fill me.” To which someone in the back of the church yelled; “Don’t do it Lord, He leaks!” The truth of the matter is we all leak from time to time. We all lose our way, we tend to lose our first love or we wade in the pool of the lukewarm.
In the second reading of today, Paul reminds the people of the Father’s love, the grace that comes through Jesus Christ, and the fellowship or the unifying power of the Holy Spirit. We are all led by the Spirit and therefore we are the children of God. It is the Spirit that enables us to cry out with spiritual longing, "Daddy" , and the Holy Spirit does this because we have been made the children of God by the incarnation of Jesus the Son of God. We are no longer slaves. We are no longer under death-sentence. Paul suggests that we are now “heirs” with Christ. In other words, all that the Son shares with the Father (peace, life, righteousness) has now been gifted to us as well.
10-year old Althea Denise was apprehensive about her first airplane ride. Her mom, eager to hear how it went, asked if she enjoyed the flight. “Well,” commented Althea Denise, “it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be, but I’ll tell you this. I never did put all my weight down!”
I just love today’s Gospel passage. The disciples met Jesus up on a Galilean mountain and it was a joyful reunion. Then Jesus gave them marching orders to go out into the world and make
disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Matthew tells us, “When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.”They worshiped. And at least some of them doubted. Wait. What? Doubted? Why do you think Matthew puts that in there? To doubt is not the same as to deny. They came with their uncertainties, their hesitations. In a way, it is a response that says this is too good to be true. It is also part of the human condition and even those who were closest to Jesus were not spared. The death and the resurrection of Jesus will always challenge and test the faith of those who believe. In this episode, Matthew is reminding us that doubt is an integral part of faith. Room for doubt makes trusting possible. Doubt makes us vulnerable to grace. Doubt opens us up to the possibility that there is someone we can trust, and trusting in the face of our doubt is what faith really means. Trusting in the face of our doubt is what following Jesus really means. When we gather, there will always be some of us who will doubt. We will all have times when we are feeling pulled apart and unsure but Jesus will meet us in our doubts in worship. The Blessed Trinity has room for our doubts, room for us to not understand and yet still be a part of the community. And despite our doubt, Jesus gives us all —the doubtful and the faithful — the same task. “Go!” in mission, says Jesus, even if you doubt. “Make disciples!” says Jesus, even if you doubt. “Remember, I am with you!” says Jesus, even if you doubt. <enrique,ofs>
Jeff Jacinto, PhD, DHum