Gospel reflections – Feast of The Holy Trinity
7 June 2020
Each year, the month of June begins with the celebration of the Gawai, the Harvest Festival for the Dayaks. It is a time of celebrations, reunions, visits to each other’s house, etc. However, this year’s Gawai celebration was dampened by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Church has seen its share of feast-days and solemnities passing by without any celebrations – Easter, Ascension and Pentecost. The Feast of The Holy Trinity and the upcoming Feast of the Corpus Christi are not spared either.
The month of June is actually a time of celebrations in the Church. The whole season of Easter which ended with Pentecost seems to have been prolonged and spilled over in the Feasts of the Holy Trinity and Corpus Christi. Then there are the upcoming feasts of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Nativity of St John the Baptist, Sts Peter and Paul, with some feasts of Mary like Mary, the Mother of the Church, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The celebration of Holy Trinity Sunday invites us to meditate on the mystery of God the Father, Son, and Spirit. Corpus Christi invites us to focus our attention on the Holy Eucharist as we enter into the Ordinary Time of the Year.
A matter that comes to our mind is the doctrine of the Trinity – how can there be Three Persons in One God? The Church teaches that: “The Trinity is One. We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons, the consubstantial Trinity. The divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire…The divine persons are really distinct from one another. God is one but not solitary. Father, Son, Holy Spirit are not simply names designating modalities of the divine being, for they are really distinct from one another” (CCC 253-255).
This doctrine can only be understood in the revelations of God. The Gospel today from St John gives us the story of Nicodemus. Nicodemus was described as “one of the Pharisees … a ruler of the Jews (3:1) and a teacher of Israel (3:6). Nicodemus was thus a high ranking man in the religious world of his time. This meeting between this “ruler of the Jews” and a “teacher of the Israel” with Jesus which occurred in the night brought to light a revelation of God and Jesus. This revelation is described in the famous quotation, “God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life”.
At the heart of this revelation of God – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is God’s love. It is this stubbornness of God to love us that gives the world its importance and its existence, and to give to all of us our essential dignity as a human person. For without the love of God, the world and our existence have no meaning. Despite this stubborn love of God, we have failed to love him and stubbornly remained in our sins.
God is fully aware of our sinfulness and brokenness which are part of our lives. He does not shy away from this negative side of our lives. He confronts our sinfulness and brokenness with his total love for all of us. This is why he sent his Son, Jesus, into the world. His Son Jesus has to face the sinfulness of man in the betrayal by his own people, the people that God loves. This betrayal brought the death of Jesus on the cross. God then raised Jesus from the dead to break the chains of sin and death. He then sent the Holy Spirit into the world to change the unbelief of the world to a belief in the Son Jesus. And it is this Holy Spirit that stays with us until the end of time.
In celebrating Trinity Sunday, firstly, we celebrate the unfailing love God has for us. We know and believe that God’s love never fails despite our sins and faults. We experience something of this love of God when it is expressed to us in the very simple ways of life.
Secondly, in the example of Moses, we are called to be obedient and humble before the Lord. God was not happy with the attitude of the people and punishment was imminent. Moses pleaded with God and God relented. He forgave the sins of the people due to Moses’ humility before him and obedience to his will. Through Moses we see in this God, a God of mercy, who is forgiving and a Father to his people.
Thirdly, we are called to live together in unity and peace. In the letter of Paul, Paul encourages the Christians at Corinth to be united and live in peace. To live in peace and unity is a blessing, a gift, from God who is in Himself a perfect Unity. We in turn, through “the grace of the Lord Jesus, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit” shall be a blessing and a source of grace for others.
Today, we pray to the Trinity. We believe in the Trinity. We live out this faith in the Trinity. Together with all Christians we give glory to the Most Holy Trinity, “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen!
gloria et laus
Fr Patrick Heng
Blessed Sacrament Church, BDC, Kuching