Homily for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Year A 2014

Homily for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Year A  2014

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity is a feast to remind us of the concept of God being three persons, a difficult concept to understand, one which developed in Christian thought over the first 300 years of Christianity. It is a mystery, and I am not quite sure we can ever really understand it it. It began as an attempt by the early Christian Jews to understand how their belief, and indeed the core belief that set them apart from other nations, that there was one God, and one God alone, could be reconciled with the fact that Jesus identified himself with God, yet still spoke of God as outside himself – as a Father. The doctrine of the Trinity was not spelled out, but was pretty much in place in the minds of early Christians by the time John wrote his Gospel sometime late in the first century.

When we read the Bible backwards, that is, when we read it knowing how it ended, we can sometimes see references which at the time they were written may not have made sense, or made sense in describing a particular incident, but with our insight into what actually happened, can be seen as a Christian reference. A good example of this may be the first reading today from Exodus. The incident being told is fairly simple. God had made a covenant with Moses and given him two tablets – what we call today the 10 commandments. When Moses came down from the mountain and saw the people worshipping false gods, he broke the tablets in his anger. At the start of today’s reading Moses is called by God to return to the mountain with two new blank stone tablets, which Moses does early in the day, and there God appears and rewrites the words on the new tablets. It is the description of God’s appearance that can be read backwards. God descended in a cloud and appeared as Adonai or Lord. Could this possibly be a description of Christ whom we now call Lord. “The Lord passed before Moses, and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. And Moses…worshipped.” These are words that could easily have come out of Jesus’ mouth in the New Testament when he describes his Father. The reading from Exodus was chosen today, then, as a possible early reference to Christ as God when we read backwards.

The letters of St. Paul pre-date the Gospels, so they are the earliest Christian writings that we have. In the letter to the Corinthians today we have one of the earliest references to the Trinity, and the words we can use to start Mass each week: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.”

The section of the Gospel of John we read today is probably the most quoted verses in the whole Bible, so often repeated that we may take them for granted or not really hear them any more. But these words reflect the relationship between the Father and the Son, and also gives us a definition of what love really is. First of all “God so loved the world…” We often forget that God created everything and it was all good, and that God loved what he had created. That love is always expressed in action – in doing – much as was the act of creation itself. Our God is an active God – a doer. When his creatures sinned and lost the paradise of goodness that God had created, God did not stop loving but actively sought a way to save the world that was so loved. By taking on our humanity, God offered himself to us through the physical reality of Jesus, to be the sacrifice that would save his beloved creatures and give them back eternal life. David Stern expresses it this way in his commentary on this verse: “to love is to give, to love much is to give much, and God loves the world so much that he gave what is most precious to him.”

The condemnation of the one who does not believe might be looked upon, not as a condemnation of non-believers necessarily, but as a condemnation of people who put all their belief in themselves. The condemnation here is that that person is already not living a life that is fully God-filled. Those who put their trust in Jesus will have a full life right here and now, and also will have a full life in eternity: “everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life.”

What can we draw from these readings that we can use this week in our own lives? Hopefully, we can renew our belief and our slight understanding of the Trinity, knowing fully that God loves us, loves us so much, that God the Father  offered up his most precious thing for us, his child. We need to remember that when we pray to God the Father, or to Jesus or to the Spirit, that we pray to only one thing – to a just and merciful God who loves us despite our failings. We need to remember that Jesus is the physical manifestation of God and when we partake of the Eucharist, we partake of God. God truly is in us, and that is why we are not condemned and why we have eternal life. Let us see ourselves and our neighbor as physical manifestations of God and treat them accordingly. It is what Jesus would have us do.

FInally, Fathers who are present today on this Father’s Day know what it means to be a loving parent, know what it means to be hurt by their children and yet continue to love them. The description of God in Exodus as merciful, gracious, slow to anger, loving and faithful, should be the description of every Father. We know it sometimes isn’t but that is what we should strive for. Jesus said “Be perfect even as your heavenly father is perfect”. God the Father is our model on this Father’s Day – a Father who would give up everything out of love for his child.

Let us honor our own Fathers today, living and dead, and go out and proclaim the Good News that God is the Father of all Fathers and that he is active and present in the world today. And this is the Good News to take with us today!

Bishop Ron Stephens 

Pastor of St. Andrew’s Parish in Warrenton, VA

The Catholic Apostolic Church in North America (CACINA)

 1 David H. Stern. Jewish New Testament Commentary. Jewish New Testament Publications, MD, 1992. p. 166

[You can purchase a complete Cycle A of Bishop Ron’s homilies, 75 of them, from amazon.com for $9.99 – “Teaching the Church Year”]

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One Response to “Homily for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Year A 2014”

  1. Fr. Derek Lal Says:

    It is very much touching the heart and authentic, precised and well according to the day. Thanks!

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