The Most Holy Trinity. Solemnity
|One of the iconic works of Renaissance art, The Holy Trinity with the Virgin and Saint John and donors (1428) can be seen in the Dominican church of Santa Maria Novella, in Florence. Like many paintings produced during the Renaissance, it is both religious and secular: it depicts the Trinity of God the Father, Christ the Son and the Holy Ghost (symbolized by a white dove), and also functions as a commercial portrait of the donor or patron. The work is believed to have been commissioned by Domenico Lenzi and his wife, as a mural painting for the family remembrance chapel at Santa Maria Novella. However, the feature that makes it one of the greatest Renaissance paintings of the 15th century, is its use of single-point linear perspective to organize its composition. Its 27-year old creator Tommaso di Giovanni Masaccio (1401-28) was to Early Renaissance painting what Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446) was to architecture, and Donatello (1386-1466) to sculpture.
This feast, was 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.
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THE LITURGY OF THE WORD.
It is very important for us to read God’s Word slowly and reflectively. We are not reading it just to get information or to answer questions; we must enable God’s Word to enter into us just like liquid polish enters timber flooring which 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, Lent, and Solemnities 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.
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
- 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 and daughter 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…..
DEEP SEA DIVING INTO THE SCRIPTURES
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’ and 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.
A realhomilie from Fr.Kev
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. The Trinity as such, is a very helpful way in understanding the complexity of God. Let’s look at the helpfulness of the Trinity, and not get bogged down in the mystery, to the point of saying…as I said earlier, “let’s put it in the too hard basket!” No, it is absolutely necessary as with all parts of Scripture and Theology, to be as equally curious about the Trinity, as we are about the Incarnation. We need to have the daringness and curiosity of Explorers who, in going to any part of the World, Moon or Planets; nothing is out of reach for them!
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 that 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 and living in a Marriage covenant initiated by the Lord God. 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 one 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 and with curiosity 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, and promised by Jesus.
Another angle to reflect upon in 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, and the outer fabric of the community, whose mission to the world is God’s mission! Through the constant incorporation of the Word of God into us, as individuals and a community, through prayer and sacred listening, we become creative instruments in continuing to fashion the Kingdom of God here; but its completion will happen till Christ comes again.! This is done in the simple and profound ways of being ‘in Christ’, and Christ for each other; a challenge, yes, but a real experience impelled by the love of God in us, and for us.
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, experienced and expressed using signs and symbols. That is an experience of Salvation! Now, let’s get down to the grass roots of this. There was a wonderful Song called, ‘You needed me’ and it was sung by Anne Murray, and it’s in her Album called, Let’s keep it that way’. Let us have a look at this song:
I cried a tear, you wiped it dry,
I was confused, you cleared my mind,
I sold my soul; you bought it back for me,
And held me up, and gave me dignity,
Somehow you needed me.
YOU GAVE ME STRENGTH TO STAND ALONE AGAIN
TO FACE THE WORLD OUT ON MY OWN AGAIN
YOU PUT ME HIGH UPON A PEDESTAL
SO HIGH THAT I COULD SEE ETERNITY
YOU NEEDED ME, YOU NEEDED ME.
And I can’t believe it’s you, I can’t believe it’s true,
I needed you, and you were there,
And I’ll never leave, why should I leave, I’d be a fool,
‘cause I’ve finally found someone who really cares……..
You held my hand, when it was cold,
When I was lost, you took me home,
You gave me hope, when I was at the end,
And turned my lies back into truth again,
You even called me friend.
Looking back over your life, as there been a special person(s) who have been the HUMAN FACE OF GOD to you? Who was this person? Alternatively, who were the people, and what was it about them, that mirrored the face of Jesus for you?
Let’s briefly look at what I am talking about….I cried a tear……..who wiped it dry????
I was confused, who cleared my mind?
I sold my soul….who bought it back for me??
And held me up, and gave me dignity!
Somehow, you needed me….so the point is that the one who is coming to the rescue, needs the person who is being rescued…….remember Mary of Magdala? Jesus need her, and was an example to others to do the same and be instruments of salvation!
What can our response be, when Salvation is happening to us?
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!’ However, that was not an academic response!!! It was a full bodied response; hence a changed life because of that salvific experience.
Moments like these can arise daily, and ‘out of the blue’ and they are often experiences of ‘Salvation’. They call a response from us with spiritual curiosity and a changed life! Those times become ‘sacred’ ‘holy’ ‘sanctifying ‘experiences and it happens on holy ground. Experiences of Salvation call us to be creative, redeeming and sanctifying, as we continue to become causes of Salvation in other people. I am not saying that these events only happen in Church; no way! Wherever the Lord is, and Salvation is experienced, the ground, the place, the people, are ‘holy’. I would like to use the word, holy in these cases as wholesome! 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’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. (Wide strands of leather or twine which not only held the sandal on, but it is connected to the leg for support. You can’t undo this kind of foot ware in a hurry!)
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, and to the Mission of the Church!. Hence, we must be mindful that our God is a God of surprises, inviting us to trust, to follow, and be daring in our Gospel living, and loving outreach. We must rid ourselves of doubts, which tempt us to cling on, and immerse ourselves within insecurities, which cripple our ability to live as a truth-seeking community. We are called to speak the truth in love! However, I believe that the precursor to being able to do that is, listening to the truth in humility. We are called to proclaim the Gospel with loving boldness, knowing 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. We then would we uninspiring, lacking life and totally pessimistic about most things, and to top it off, very sad and lifeless people. The Mission of the Church does not necessarily start in Rome; it is ever alive, and it can happen everywhere, when there are Christians allowing themselves to be of ‘the Spirit’ and being excited about the Mission. So often when I have presided at the Sunday Eucharist, a lot of the people and some Priests look like ‘death warmed up’. This is not all the people’s fault! Sometimes the Priest, Deacon, or Prayer Leader looks as though they are in pain, and need to go to the Emergency Unit in the Hospital. Looking in appearance and demeanour of being ‘over solemn’, ‘over pious’ and unable to communicate positively with the community, does not inspire people, it alienates them. This all might sound pretty strong from me, but I have been at the wheel for over 40 years, and thanks to our fantastic Pope Francis, it’s all about ‘being real and authentic, wholesome and humble Ministers of the Gospel, who truly inspire others, and can lift them up, because it is the Lord who is doing the heavy lifting in us.
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 be 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
PLEASE PRAY FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY:
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.
PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY
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,
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)
FAMILY PRAYER AROUND THE WORD
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- For harmony within families and communities: for an increase in kind deeds and gentle speech; for tenderness with children and affection among friends and family members and not forgetting the elderly. LORD HEAR US. LORD HEAR OUR PRAYER.
- 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.
- 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
- We remember those who have died especially all our loved ones: May the Blessings which were part of them, grow in us. LORD HEAR US. LORD HEAR OUR PRAYER.
- 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 and issues, locally and in our Global village who need our prayers? 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.
ALL: WE SHALL TAKE IT.
ALL: WE SHALL BREAK IT.
ALL : WE SHALL BEAR IT.
ALL: WE SHALL SHARE IT.
ALL: WE SHALL LIVE IT.
ALL: WE SHALL GIVE IT.
ALL: WE SHALL SHARE IT, IN THE NAME OF JESUS THE LORD. AMEN
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