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.
Deuteronomy 4:32-34. 39-40
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 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 by responding to the leadership of the Holy Spirit……a Kingdom in process …….an ongoing work in action! 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. Here we need to pause for a moment in deep reflection about the Holy Spirit urging us to move forward. Let’s look at the Second Reading, where it says, ‘Everyone moved by the Spirit is a son and daughter of God’. Now, in order to focus in, let’s look at the Greek translation in order to have a deeper appreciation of what is being said….For as many as by (the) Spirit of God are led these sons(siblings) of God are….. It seems to me that in the process of people being moved, we know it is the Spirit that does the nudging. Question: We are we being moved to? It seems that we get the answer in what happened to Jesus in Luke 4:1. In the Greek translation is says, ‘Now Jesus, full of (the) Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was being led by the Spirit in the Desert.’ Here it is clear that Jesus was fully aware of the Spirit’s presence within Him and that he was being led by that same Spirit.. In short, the Apostles and Mary at the time of Pentecost where aware that they too were experiencing the fullness of the Spirit, and it was the same Spirit which led them out of the closed room, flung open wide the doors in loving boldness, to speak the one language of God’s irresistible loving kindness. In other words, the movement of the Holy Spirit in its drive was :- ‘Go and tell my people that I love them, Go and show them that I love them and gather them and bring them back to me.’
The being and the doing of this activity becomes ‘sacred’ ‘holy’ ‘sanctifying experiences happen 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, most be noted: because in the process of taking off the sandals, it is not like kicking off one’s 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.)
Hence, while undoing his sandals, someone could have attacked him from behind. Therefore, this action for Moses becomes an action of trust in the messenger. 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, because of those precious invitations and responses. So with all that in mind let’s have a further look at our mission! In terms of allowing oneself to be moved; to be led by the Spirit it must be built on a foundation of TRUST!
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 and leads us on the 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, leading 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. Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. As we pray so frequently….
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, and we would probably look like Death, warmed up!
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!