Trinity Sunday Year B, 2012. Background to the Feast, Helpful hints in Reading God’s Word, Sunday Readings, Deep Sea Diving into God’s Word, a realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Family Prayer around God’s Word and a Blessing. Number 75

31 May

Dear One and All,

I suppose that this edition is a bit like a ‘Lite App’ for the iPhone. Seeing that the fuller version went off into space at the touch of a wrong button on the Keyboard by me, it seems a shame not to post the material that I had prepared for you…so here it is…No pics 😦

The New Testament Trinity, depicts the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit distinctly, and although far more familiar from Western models, is actually of Greek origin. Christ may be shown either as an adult, (in this case he is sitting to the right of his Father) or as an infant sitting on his Father’s knees, which is the norm in early Greek depictions. This type is also called the Paternity icon, and is found from the 11th century onwards, although it did not become widespread in Orthodox art until after the Fall of Constantinople, under Western influence, when an adult Christ is the norm.[1] The Father is painted as the Ancient of Days, a white-bearded man with a very special type of nimbus (it contains two rombic figures: one is red, another is blue, or is a triangle). The Holy Spirit is shown as a white dove with a halo of the same type as Father has. The dove may be placed between the Father and the Son (if they sit near each other at the same level), or the dove may be shown in a beam of light from the mouth of the Father, as if the Holy Spirit was just sent by Him.

It is interesting that in Russian Orthodoxy, depictions of God the Father are prohibited. However, when the movement of antitrinitrarians became strong in medieval Novgorod, a new type of iconography appeared: Spas Vethiy Denmi – The Savior Old with Days or Christ as the Ancient of Days. In this type of icon, Jesus Christ is depicted as an old white-haired man. The basis of this iconography is consubstantiality – the doctrine that Jesus and the Father are one. This very image of God the Father is used in New Testament Trinity icons; until the Great Synod of Moscow in 1667 it was a matter of theological debate whether the Ancient of Days from the Book of Daniel was Christ or God the Father. In the Western churches the Ancient of Days remains the basis and justification for depictions of God the Father, as made clear by, for example, a pronouncement by Pope Benedict XIV in 1745.[2]

The Second Council of Nicea in 787 confirmed that the depiction of Christ was allowed because he became man; the situation regarding the Father was less clear. The usual Orthodox representation of the Trinity was through the “Old Testament Trinity” of the three angels visiting Abraham – said in the text to be “the Lord” (Genesis:18.1-15). However post-Byzantine representations similar to those in the West are not uncommon in the Greek world. The subject long remained sensitive, and the Russian Orthodox Church at the Great Synod of Moscow in 1667 finally forbade depictions of the Father in human form, although other Orthodox churches sometimes do not follow this ruling. The canon is quoted in full here because it explains the Russian Orthodox theology on the subject:

Chapter 2, §44: It is most absurd and improper to depict in icons the Lord Sabaoth (that is to say, God the Father) with a grey beard and the Only-Begotten Son in His bosom with a dove between them, because no-one has seen the Father according to His Divinity, and the Father has no flesh, nor was the Son born in the flesh from the Father before the ages. And though David the prophet says, “From the womb before the morning star have I begotten Thee” (Ps.109:3), that birth was not fleshly, but unspeakable and incomprehensible. For Christ Himself says in the holy Gospel, “No man hath seen the Father, save the Son” (cf. John 6:46). And Isaiah the prophet says in his fortieth chapter: “To whom have ye likened the Lord? and with what likeness have ye made a similitude of Him? Has not the artificier of wood made an image, or the goldsmiths, having melted gold, gilt it over, and made it a similitude?”(40:18-19). In like manner the Apostle Paul says in the Acts (17:29), “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold or silver or stone, graven by art of man’s imagination.” And John Damascene says: “But furthermore, who can make a similitude of the invisible, incorporeal, uncircumscribed and undepictable God? It is, then, uttermost insanity and impiety to give a form to the Godhead” (Orthodox Faith, 4:16). In like manner St. Gregory the Dialogist prohibits this. For this reason we should only form an understanding in the mind of Sabaoth, which is the Godhead, and of that birth before the ages of the Only-Begotten-Son from the Father, but we should never, in any wise depict these in icons, for this, indeed, is impossible. And the Holy Spirit is not in essence a dove, but in essence he is God, and “No man hath seen God”, as John the Theologian and Evangelist bears witness (1:18) and this is so even though, at the Jordan at Christ’s holy Baptism the Holy Spirit appeared in the likeness of a dove. For this reason, it is fitting on this occasion only to depict the Holy Spirit in the likeness of a dove. But in any other place those who have intelligence will not depict the Holy Spirit in the likeness of a dove. For on Mount Tabor, He appeared as a cloud and, at another time, in other ways. Furthermore, Sabaoth is the name not only of the Father, but of the Holy Trinity. According to Dionysios the Areopagite, Lord Sabaoth, translated from the Jewish tongue, means “Lord of Hosts”. This Lord of Hosts is the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And although Daniel the prophet says that he beheld the Ancient of Days sitting on a throne, this should not be understood to refer to the Father, but to the Son, Who at His second coming will judge every nation at the dreadful Judgment.[3]

Modern Romanian icon of the Old Testament Trinity closely follows Rublev’s iconography

The New Testament Trinity subject may be actually introduced into any icon where the Christ is shown: for this purpose the painter needs only to add the Father and the dove at the upper side of the icon.

The New Testament Trinity is not popular in official Orthodoxy in Russia nowadays, though it was popular in Novgorod earlier. Among Popovtsy Old Believers this type of an icon is very widespread, since the New Testament Trinity is depicted above any crucifixion icon (without the Son, since he is on the Cross in this case). The New Testament Trinity also appears on the wonder-working icon of Our Lady of Kursk (also without the Son, since in this case Mary holds him on her knees).

Holy Trinity by Masaccio

One of the most important works of the Early Renaissance is the fresco of the Holy Trinity of 1426-27 by Masaccio. Clearly evident is Masaccio’s absorption and application of Brunelleschi‘s new invention of 1424 of linear perspective in the Holy Trinity. The perspective lines of the illusionistic barrel vault draw the viewer into deep space. The fully rounded figure of Christ in the Holy Trinity can be attributed to the influence of sculptor Donatello on Masaccio with his interest in classical art. Both Brunelleschi and Donatello were working contemporaneously with Masaccio in Forence at the time the Holy Trinity was executed.

Casting aside the current Gothic style of ornamentation, detail, and flat, two-dimensionality, Masaccio constructed his Holy Trinity painting with simplicty and naturalistic three-dimensionality. The Holy Trinity strongly influenced the works of later Florentine artists like Michelangelo Buonarroti and many others. Masaccio died in Rome ca. 1427(8?).

Masaccio was influrenced by Early Renaissance sculptor Donatello architect Brunelleschi and by Trecento artist, Giotto. Masaccio strongly influenced High Renaissance artist Michelangelo.


If you subscribe to this Blog, which of course is FREE, the format that arrives in your inbox is sometimes all over the place. Might I suggest to you that you use the Blog alert for you to go back to


 and view it in the way in which I originally posted it….hopefully it will appear neat and tidy. However, you might find a typo every now and then, sometimes they escape my eye, sorry.

Thanks, Fr.Kev 


Helpful hints

It is very important for us to read God’s Word slowly and reflectively. We are not reading it just to get information or answer questions; we must enable God’s Word to enter us just like liquid polish enters timber that is thirsty for nutrition. A good rule of thumb is to have a question like this in our mind……”Lord, what are you saying to ME in your Word today? Secondly, how can my life be changed, in order to allow God’s Word to find a Home in my being? Finally, as for special Feasts, Advent and Lent, the three Readings are in a sequence which has an underlying thread running through them. In Ordinary time, the First Reading, and the Gospel are bridged…so we generally look for the link. The Second Reading is continuous, and follows on to the next Sunday.

The Most Holy Trinity. Solemnity

This feast, first celebrated in monastic communities in the ninth century as an expression of praise to the triune God, was extended to the entire Western Church in the fourteenth century. It celebrates the mystery of God’s self-revelation through the experiences of the people of Israel, the disciples of Jesus, and the Christian people since Pentecost.

First Reading: Deuteronomy 4:32-34. 39-40

Moses said to the people: ‘Put this question to the ages that are past, that went before you, from the time God created man on earth: Was there ever a word so majestic, from one end of heaven to the other? Was anything ever heard? Did ever a people hear the voice of the living God speaking from the heart of the fire, as you heard it, and remain alive? Has any god ventured to take to himself one nation from the midst of another by ordeals, signs, wonders, war with mighty hand and outstretched arm, by fearsome terrors – all this that the Lord your God did for you before your eyes in Egypt?

‘Understand this today, therefore, and take it to heart: The Lord is God indeed, in heaven above as on earth beneath, he and no other. Keep his laws and commandments as I give them to you today so that you and your children may prosper and live long in the land that the Lord your God gives you for ever.’

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

(Let’s PAUSE and reflect upon this reading, and let us ask ourselves the two questions stated above. That is our PERSONAL response to the Word. This might take a few minutes, try not to rush it. The Psalm and Antiphon is the COMMUNITY response to God’s Word, a bit like a short and sweet Text Message)


Psalm: Ps 32:4-6. 9. 18-20. 22

R. Happy the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

The word of the Lord is faithful

and all his works to be trusted.

The Lord loves justice and right

and fills the earth with his love. R.

By his word the heavens were made,

by the breath of his mouth all the stars.

He spoke: and they came to be.

He commanded; they sprang into being. R.

The Lord looks on those who revere him,

on those who hope in his love,

to rescue their souls from death,

to keep them alive in famine. R.

Our soul is waiting for the Lord.

The Lord is our help and our shield.

May your love be upon us, O Lord,

as we place all our hope in you. R.


Second Reading: Romans 8:14-17

Everyone moved by the Spirit is a son of God. The spirit you received is not the spirit of slaves bringing fear into your lives again; it is the spirit of sons, and it makes us cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’ The Spirit himself and our spirit bear united witness that we are children of God. And if we are children we are heirs as well: heirs of God and coheirs with Christ, sharing his sufferings so as to share his glory.

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Let’s PAUSE again after this Reading, and reflect on it like you did after the first Reading. The Community Acclamation follows and should be sung: e.g ALLELUIA, or PRAISE TO YOU LORD JESUS CHRIST KING OF ENDLESS GLORY. When we are present at our Sunday Eucharistic Celebration, the Alleluia or Praise be to you…should always be sung. Why? It’s a bit like singing Happy Birthday! 

We never say it… 🙂

Gospel: Matthew 28:16-20

The eleven disciples set out for Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had arranged to meet them. When they saw him they fell down before him, though some hesitated. Jesus came up and spoke to them. He said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.’

The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Reflection time again……. Can you see and hear the links, connecting the First Reading, Second Reading and the Gospel? After that, we are then ready for what is to follow…..


If you have ever opened your eyes under water, or used a snorkel and face mask, or had the opportunity to use an aqualung, it is a very different world to explore isn’t it? I love snorkelling, and it is though the fish welcome you into their world. However, they need to be treated with respect, and one must be aware of ‘no-go’ zones especially where sharks are known to call that place, ‘home’ especially at meal times. So, this next section is going down into the Scriptures, which opens the pathway for us to be curious about The Word, and it will also develop an appetite in us to do this more often.

Focusing the word

Key words and phrases

All authority has been give to me.

Go make disciples of all the nations.

Was there ever a word so majestic from one end of heaven to the other?

The Spirit you received is the spirit of sons and daughters…God has no grandchildren!

We are coheirs with Christ, sharing his sufferings so as to share his glory.

Happy the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

Help us to worship you, one God in three Persons, by proclaiming and living our faith in you.

To the point

This Sunday honouring the Holy Trinity invites us to reflect on who our God is. Further, to know God is to understand who we are – those chosen to be sons and daughters (second reading) who share the power and mission of Christ (gospel). ‘Did anything so great ever happen before?’ (first reading).

Connecting the Word

to the seasons of Lent and Easter

Lent is about renewal of our identity and Easter is about handing on the mission of the risen Lord to us. On this Sunday we remember the Source of our identity and mission – our triune God.

To Catholic experience

The Trinity tends to be for most of us little more than a defined dogma. But the Trinity is central to our daily taking up Christ’s mission, proclamation of Sacred Scripture, and celebrating liturgy. It is also the basic ingredient to of missionary lives, as we proclaim the Kingdom of God, here, but not yet fully realised.

Understanding the Word

Jesus and Moses

The choice of the first reading from Deuteronomy sets up both a comparison and a contrast between Moses and Jesus. The book of Deuteronomy is presented as Moses’ great farewell speech to the Israelites. After wandering in the wilderness for forty years the Israelites, led by Moses, have come to the threshold of the Promised Land. Moses can look across the Jordan to the land they – but not he – will enter. There Moses once again takes on his greatest role as the spokesman for God who gives to the people God’s Law. The first time he had done this was at Mount Sinai when he had delivered the Ten Commandments and all the laws contained in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. Now, on the Plains of Moab, Moses repeats the Law for their instruction. This is, therefore, the second time he gives the Law: the word ‘Deuteronomy’ means ‘second law.’ Thereafter Moses ascends Mount Nebo where he dies.

In this gospel from Matthew Jesus, after his resurrection, goes ‘to the mountain’; though the exact location isn’t specified, ‘the mountain’ probably refers to the mountain of teaching in chapters 5–7 and the mountain of transfiguration/revelation in 17:1. There Jesus meets his disciples and delivers to them his farewell speech: these are the last words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. Throughout this gospel Matthew had presented Jesus as the great teacher (chs. 5–7, 10, 13, 18, 24–25) and the definitive interpreter of the Law (5:1–7:29) who is greater than Moses. In this last speech Jesus is once again the teacher as he commissions his disciples to do as he had done: to ‘make disciples’ by ‘baptizing’ and ‘teaching.’ He instructs them to teach, not the Law Moses had given, but ‘all that I have commanded you.’ Jesus is the new and greater Moses, his commands are the new and greater Law.

The gospel ends as it had begun. In the annunciation story Jesus was given the name ‘Immanuel’ (‘God with us,’ 1:23); he now assures them, ‘I am with you always.’

A realhomilie from Fr.Kev

Dear One and All,

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. With such a Feast as this one, we might be tempted to think … ‘Well, it’s all a bit of a mystery, and far too deep for me, and I’m not sure where to start in trying to understand it; so perhaps I’ll come back to it another time’. Yes! It is indeed difficult … and mysterious … having provoked some of the greatest thinkers in the world to offer explanations. In reaping the benefits of their efforts, we come to realise the immeasurable depths of our creative, redeeming and sanctifying God.

Let’s briefly look at God’s Word. The First Reading talks about the power and glory of God, who nonetheless, entered into a close and loving relationship with his people Israel and of the obligations and blessings that flow from such a relationship. This reading stresses the oneness of God.

In the Second Reading this relationship is taken deeper; we are not just members of God’s people, but related members as in God’s wider Family. We are also reminded that the Holy Spirit dwells within us, and has made us co-heirs with Jesus. This reading makes clear reference to the three persons in God.

The Gospel also makes reference to the three persons of the Blessed Trinity.  Jesus, who has total power over the whole universe, now empowers his apostles to preach the Gospel to the whole world. He also highlights for them that they, and the Church, (the new Israel) will never be left as orphans, but will be accompanied by their Risen Lord.

Now, let us look deeper into the mystery of the Trinity. By acknowledging God’s loving outreach to everyone; ‘WE’ are called through Baptism to continue the Lord’s mission, empowered by the Holy Spirit, which is given to us by the Father.

Another angle to reflect upon the celebration of our Triune God is the defining of the creative, redemptive and sanctifying God head, who in Jesus calls us to follow suit. Thus these three aspects are really the inner core of the Christian, whose mission to the world is that of God’s mission! Through the constant incorporation of the Word of God, through prayer and sacred listening, we become creative instruments in continuing to fashion the Kingdom of God here, but not complete! This is done in the simple and profound ways of being ‘in Christ’, and Christ for each other.

The human experience of salvation which is truly Sacramental, i.e., entering into the Holy Mind of God, and taking hold of those moments, which unexpectedly arise, where the Lord uses us, or we respond to the Christ in our community, within those moments; the saving hand of God is seen, felt and experienced. Possibly, the only response to those moments, is like that of Thomas himself, when he was invited to enter into the woundedness of Christ….’My Lord, and My God!’

Moments that arise daily, which often happen ‘out of the blue’ can be experiences of Salvation if we respond with spiritual curiosity to given moments, thus listening to how the Spirit urges us forward. Those times become ‘sacred’ ‘holy’ ‘sanctifying ‘experiences and it happens on holy ground. I am not saying that these events only happen in Church; no way, because wherever the Lord is, and within the creative, redeeming and sanctifying moment, the ground, the place, the people, are ‘holy’. Remember in the Book of Exodus, Chapter 3, we see that when Moses was invited to come closer to the Burning Bush, the Angel of the Lord said that it was holy ground, hence take of your sandals!  But there is more to that than meets the eye; the action of Moses taking off his sandals without someone keeping guard because in the process of taking off the sandals, it is not like kicking off one slippers or shoes…..for Moses, it would have taken some precious minutes to be fully engaged in undoing the platting of the leather thonging. (Thin strands of leather or twine which not only hold the sandal on, is connected to the leg for support.) The taking off of one’s sandals is always done as part of the hospitality ritual that an Adult would do in the presence of their host, and then the washing of the guest’s feet completes the ritual. For Moses, and the meaning behind and within this story, is that of a profound act of trust which had to be made by him as a response to the Angel of the Lord’s invitation. Hence, the conversation and the actions are in a way Sacramental and the place becomes Holy – Ground. So with all that in mind let’s have a further look at our mission!

Jesus announced that the kingdom is here within us, but not yet complete, and it is the constant love of the Father, which draws us on. Jesus’ message is life, which invites us to seek the Father. Its demands, which the Spirit makes known to us, are always new, surprising and life-giving. ‘The Spirit will guide us into all truth which comes from the Father’: John 16:13. Jesus shows us the way to the Father and the Spirit guides us on our journey.

If the Feast of the Ascension reminds us that we must take the Lord’s work into our own hands, Pentecost assures us that because the Spirit is with us, such a mission is possible. The Feast of the Blessed Trinity teaches us that we must be creative, redeeming and sanctifying in our commitment to God, and to one another. Hence, we must be mindful that our God is a God of surprises, inviting us to trust, to follow, and be daring in our Christian living and loving outreach. We must rid ourselves of doubts, which tempt us to cling on and immerse ourselves in securities, which cripple our ability to live as a truth-seeking community. We are called to proclaim with loving boldness that we can do all things through Him who gives us the strength. (St. Paul). If we cling with all our might to paltry security, how can we be in solidarity with human suffering and love? If we are not imaginative in our ways of exploring, expressing and listening to God, our spirituality and life will stagnate, and hence we become uninspiring, lacking life and totally pessimistic about most things.

Today’s Feast invites us to give thanks and praise to our God, and there is no better way of doing this than through the Celebration of the Eucharist.

Glory to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: to God who is, who was, and who is to come. Alleluia!

God Bless you and your families, and may we never forget each other in prayer. Fr.Kev


The Church reminds us especially at this time of the year that the Priestly Prayer of Jesus in John 17:21 ‘Father, May they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in you.’ Is still in the process of being answered. We must do all that we can to promote unity, firstly through prayer, flexible attitudes, and finally by openness to what unites us more than what divides us. Do try and pray this prayer around the family table each day this week.


O God, holy and eternal Trinity,

We pray for your church in the world.

Sanctify its life; renew its worship;

Empower its witness; heal its divisions;

Make visible its unity.

Lead us, with all our brothers and sisters,

Towards communion

In faith, life and witness

So that, united in one body by the one Spirit,

We may together witness

To the perfect unity of your love. AMEN.

(Prayer of the Fifth World Conference on Faith and Order 1993)


Leader: On this day as we celebrate the Holy Trinity, we are mindful that God created us to live in harmony with one another, to care for each other and to pray for each other.  Let us place our prayer before our God.

1.For harmony in the world’s most troubled place:  for peace where there is war for love where there is hate. LORD HEAR US. LORD HEAR OUR PRAYER.

2. For harmony within the Church: for dialogue among those who disagree; for those who are satisfied, and those who yearn for change. LORD HEAR US.  LORD HEAR OUR PRAYER.

3. For harmony within families and communities: for an increase in kind deeds and gently speech; for tenderness with children and affection among friends and family members. LORD HEAR US.  LORD HEAR OUR PRAYER.

4.For those living in difficult financial situations: for courage instead of fear, for confidence instead of helplessness, for mutual aid and support instead of isolation. LORD HEAR US.  LORD HEAR OUR PRAYER.

5. For those living with the unease of illness: for those who cannot be with us today, and long for companionship; for the comfort of those who are in pain. LORD HEAR US.  LORD HEAR OUR PRAYER

6. We remember those who have died especially all our loved ones mentioned in our Bulletin: May the Blessings which were part of them, grow in us. LORD HEAR US.  LORD HEAR OUR PRAYER.

7. Let’s think back over the past week, and what we have seen on the T.V News, Breaking News on our Mobile Phones and ipads….who are some of the people in our Global village or need our prayers? You might like to share some of these…………., we pray to the Lord: LORD HEAR OUR PRAYER.

Leader: O God we give you thanks for listening to our prayers, the ones that we have spoken, and the ones which lie deep in our hearts.  May we always turn to you, in thanksgiving and praise, for all that you are to us, through Christ our Lord. Amen

Blessing is taken from the Iona Abbey Sacramentary, Scotland.

Iona Abbey is located on the Isle of Iona, just off the Isle of Mull on the West Coast of Scotland. It is one of the oldest and most important religious centres in Western Europe. The abbey was a focal point for the spread of Christianity throughout Scotland and marks the foundation of a monastic community by St. Columba, when Iona was part of the Kingdom of Dál Riata.


Leader:          The Cross


The bread……………


The pain


The joy………………


The Gospel……………


The love…………


The light……………

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