The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity: Year B.
Commentary Theme for this Sunday:
“In What Kind Of God Do We Believe?”
The First Reading tells us that the God of the Bible is different from the gods of the pagans and from the ones worshipped by other religions; our God is never far, but always close to his people; he takes an interest in our problems; he is ready to intervene to help us in life.
The Second Reading teaches us to call God: “Abba, Father!” The Spirit gives witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
The Gospel speaks of the family of God, a family open to receive ‘all persons’. They will be attracted to it by the “power” found in the Resurrection of Christ.
All three readings have something to teach us about what God is to us. They point directly to our relationship with God.
It is recommended that the actual readings are first studied and then meditated upon with a prayer to the Holy Spirit to grant you the gift of ‘wisdom’ to understand the meaning of the messages of Love, Forgiveness and the Offer of Salvation that the Lord has for each one of us in the Holy Bible.
These commentaries, which have been extracted and summarised for our meditation are from the published works of priests who have by their Divine inspiration become acclaimed scholars of the Scriptures and generally reflect the Church’s understanding of the readings.
These commentaries are not meant to replace the Sunday Homily at Holy Mass but are provided as an additional guide to assist and further enhance our understanding of the Sunday Liturgical Readings.
‘Daily Reflections’ and a Prayer are included to enable us to ‘Live the Word’ during the week following the Sunday Mass. We will begin to understand the meaning of gratuitous love and our life’s true purpose. Through His Word we will follow the Light to help fulfil the mission that has been given to each one of us by our Creator.
“Ignorance of the Scriptures is ‘Ignorance of Christ’.”
Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40.
The first reading gives us the basic rules for fostering a ‘right relationship’ with God our Creator: we must “keep his statutes and his commandments”. Doing so ensures “your own well-being and that of your descendants after you”, as the reading says. The religion of the nations that surrounded ancient Israel was characterized by idolatry and polytheism. Our passage celebrates the superiority of the God of Israel. He was unique; he had not only created the world; God had chosen a people for himself. All Christians worship the God of Jesus Christ, but if anyone asked us to tell them about our God, to describe what he does, are we sure we would know how and what to reply? We would probably describe a ‘god’ not very different from the God of the Moslems, or a ‘god’ of the pagans or of other religions. The readings of today have been chosen to help us delete from our minds and hearts the wrong images of God that we have created and accept as true.
The Book of Deuteronomy is written as Moses’ last sermon. He delivers it before Israel will follow Joshua across the border to the Promised Land. Moses is not going. After forty years of carrying these people, he is about to lay his burden down and be gathered by the Lord. The people have been led out of Egypt, out of slavery and out of ignorance. Exodus means the ‘road out’. They have a new home stretched our before them, a new freedom, and a Law to teach them God’s will. They have seen the signs of wonders. They have been delivered. Very soon the people of the Exodus will forget their God, their Law and their history. They will choose the ‘road back in’, the one that returns to slavery and idolatry. They will lose their home and be sent off into exile. Moses’ final exhortation will become, along with the Book of Psalms, the favourite text for centuries to come.
This sermon was to be an aid to console the exiled Jews in Babylon and help them to reflect on God’s ways. The author invites them to go over the great events of their history to nourish and keep up their hope of salvation; he asks them to compare the deeds of YHWH with what other people say what their ‘gods’ did for them. The conclusion – he says – can only be: nobody has ever heard in the whole world of a God who intervened so powerfully to free his people, as YHWH did for the people of Israel.
No god ever spoke to as he did to Abraham, to the patriarchs and to Moses in the burning bush; no god was ever heard to have done such extraordinary things as YHWH did to save and give happiness to his people. Since they know that they have a God who loves them and protects them so much, who takes interest in the problems and sufferings of his people, Israel, held prisoner in Babylon, should not despair, because he will certainly come to free them as he did in the past.
The image that the Bible gives us of God is not that of a divinity like the ‘gods’ of the pagans, but of a benevolent God who follows closely the events in the life of every person, and takes an interest in his/her problems, and intervenes in his/her favour. This revelation of God, friend and protector of people should be a source of joy, peace and serenity for those who believe in him. Amidst all the difficulties and misfortunes of life, we must learn, like Israel in Babylon, never to feel lonely and abandoned.
We are tempted at times to shift our trust to other ‘gods’ that seem more reasonable, that do not demand a change of heart, and allow us to exercise our self-interest at the expense of others, to be wicked, to keep grudges, to take revenge on those who do us harm, to behave in a corrupt manner, and to be dishonest. It is very dangerous for a person to follow such gods. There is only one God who can give freedom, life and happiness. All others are “false gods” that can only deceive and mislead: they promise freedom and joy, but provide only slavery, misery and self-destruction.
Psalm 33:4-6, 9, 18-20, 22.
The Psalm echoes this picture of God. God is praised for his creation effected through his word (Jn.1:1). He is faithful and loving (Ex. 34:6). He keeps alive in famine (Lk. 11:3). He delivers from evil (Mt 6:13).
Paul describes for us, in moving words, our condition after baptism. We are no longer simple creatures or slaves that serve a master hoping to get a reward or afraid of being punished. We are sons and daughters who share in Christ’s own life. The Spirit that was given to us urges us to cry out to God and call to him in joy and trust: “Dear Father!”
This is why God has been revealed to us not as a single entity but as a united family. He did not reveal the secret mystery of ‘three persons’ in ‘One’ God only to test us with a riddle. He spoke to us about himself to tell us that we are his sons and daughters, the brothers and sisters of Christ, transformed by the force of the Spirit.
Can a religion based on the fear of their ‘god’s’ punishment, a religion founded on people’s quest for merit, one that prays to a distant divinity who is never close can ever be comparable with the profession of faith in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Jesus, in very clear terms, commissions us thus: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
How do these three readings help us deepen our relationship with one another? It is because through baptism, we are all children of the triune God. We must strive to come to a deeper love and respect for one another. This includes those who are not baptised, for we are sent to them also. They, too, irrespective of their culture, creed and race are made in God’s image and love making us all brothers and sisters bonded by ‘Trinitarian love’. Every human being has immense potential. To help others explore and develop this potential is a privilege and a challenge. When we are given the opportunity we must pursue it diligently, with love and humility.
Jesus promised to be with us always. Jesus’ disciples are invited to observe what Jesus had taught them, the love of God and neighbour. For many, the following of his word, would lead to baptism as a sign that they had entered into the family of God their Father. Being baptized “into the name” of Jesus takes on a special meaning. It confers on the person a special relationship with Jesus himself. The formula used in Mt 28:19 reflects the baptismal practice at the time the Gospel was written (around 85 A.D.) and the conviction that all the baptized share in a communion of life with a God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And we call him ‘Abba/Daddy’ it is not out of a lack of respect, but a sign of the complete trust and love that exists between God and each of his children.
Because of their communion with God, the baptized should live in communion with each other. To be baptized in the name of Jesus into the family of God is a tremendous privilege. Does it appear to others that we treat each other as children of the same Father? The feast of the Most Holy Trinity invites us to expect more and to do better than that. It is in God’s presence and power that we are baptised … absolved … sent in mission at the end of Mass. Beginning any action under the ‘Sign of the Cross’ invokes the divine presence and power.
We celebrate a many-sided, infinitely good and gracious God. He gives us life, he watches over us, comforts us and enjoys us. He has great plans for us. He also worries about us, and challenges us. Does that sound like an ideal parent? Yes. That’s why Jesus, our brother, calls him Father; and he gives us the Spirit to help us to know him as he really is and to respond to his loving care.
The Trinity is about a God, who lives as a blessing for the poor and outcast, confronted the power of evil, entered with compassion into the world of human suffering, broke down the barriers between human sin and divine holiness and reconciled enemies.
The pattern of Jesus’ life manifests the Triune God who is “with us” until the end of the age uniting us with the Father and one another. Love begins in the Father; is manifested to us in the Son; and poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.
The power to live as children of God in love is available to us because of the presence of the Holy Spirit … an inner spring welling up to eternal life.
‘Acknowledgement and Thanks’ to ‘Recommended Source Material’ by:
Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Fr. Fernando Armellini SCI, Peter Edmonds SJ, Richard Baawobr M.Afr, Joseph A. Slattery Ph.D, Adelmo Spagnolo MCCJ, Silvester O’Flynn OFM Cap, J.E. Spicer CSsR, John R. Donahue SJ and Alice Camille – Master’s degree in Divinity.
Reflections for each day this Week to lead us in the ‘Way, the Truth and the Life’:
Almighty God and Father, on the … of the week following Holy Trinity Sunday Year B, we reflect on …
Sun. …Meditate on the thought of having to explain to someone our God, the ‘God’ that Christians worship. Go through the explanation process in your mind, it may bring you to a greater understanding of God, yourself and your faith.
Mon. …We have all been ‘metaphorically’ led out of Egypt, from slavery and ignorance by God’s grace. Will we be like the people of the Exodus and eventually forget our God and follow the ‘road back in’, the one that leads to false gods and slavery to sin?
Tues. …When we are tempted to shift our trust to ‘other gods and idols’ that seem to be less demanding by offering flexible guidelines and not Commandments, offer more personal benefits, pleasure, self-gratification, power and riches. Let us reflect upon the truth contained in the Holy Scriptures, our ‘Salvation History’ that there is only one ‘God’ who can give freedom, life and happiness. All other false gods deceive; mislead us into a life of misery and final destruction. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit our forefathers have given us the ‘inspired word’. Would it not be prudent to accept this ‘truth’ rather than to continue to make the same mistakes all over again?
Wed. …The mystery of ‘Three Divine Persons’ in ‘One’ God, the ‘Blessed Trinity’ has been presented to us as a family united as ‘One’ by love. Through Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross for the redemption of all humanity, we have become God’s sons and daughters, the brothers and sisters of Christ, transformed by the Holy Spirit at our baptism. Have we fully accepted Christ’s invitation to be part of God’s family?
Thurs. … Can a religion based on fear of their ‘god’s’ punishment, a religion based on a quest for merit and personal gain, directed to a divinity that is
inanimate, distant and unloving ever be comparable to our ‘Triune God’ who is ‘alive and infinite’ and whose Law is based on love for each other? A Christian’s communion with God is a communion based on love, the same communion of love that Christians have for each other. It is this love that makes us all part of the same family of God.
Frid. … Through baptism, we are all children of the ‘Triune God’. We must strive to come to a deeper love and respect for one another. This includes those who are not baptised, for we are sent to them also. They, too, irrespective of their culture, creed and race are made in God’s image and love, making us all brothers and sisters bonded by Trinitarian love.
Sat. …The ‘Blessed Trinity’ is about a living God, who is a blessing for the poor and outcast, who confronts the power of evil, who has compassion for all human suffering, who heals the wounds of hatred with love. As part of God’s family we must go and live the same. Every human being has immense potential. To help others explore and develop this potential is a privilege and a challenge. When we are given the opportunity we must pursue it diligently, with love and humility. Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations”.
Prayer after the Daily Reflection.
Father, You sent us Your Word to bring us Your Truth, You sent us Your Spirit, to make us holy. Through them may we come to know the mystery of Your life based on love. Help us to worship You, ‘One God’ in three Divine persons, by proclaiming and living our faith in You.
This we ask through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. Amen.
Compliments: Bible Discussion Group. Our Lady of the Wayside, Maryvale.
“Discovering the Truth through God’s living Word”.