Reflection on the Daily Readings for 6/07/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Deuteronomy 4:32-34.39-40. Psalm 33:4-18.104.22.168-19.20.22. Romans
8:14-17. Matthew 28:16-20. Lectionary # 166.
Our sign of the Cross, the Creed, and the Glory be to the Father (a
doxology) are among our most revered and recited prayers. They are a great
help in leading us to think and pray about the Trinity within our lives.
This does not make it easy for us to talk about the Trinity whether in
simple language or erudite theological expressions. It is the most
profound mystery among all those who believe in God, but it is only
acknowledged as belief among us Christians. We often think of and pray to
God the Creator and Father; we easily pray to Jesus, the Son of God, and
we are praying more frequently to the Holy Spirit in the last half century.
We should address prayers to each of the three Persons in the Trinity. The
mystery remains as unfathomable even though saints and theologians have
tried to describe or explain it. We think of St.Augustine and then of the
more simple and direct example given by St. Patrick. Still the mystery of
three Persons in One God are something that is beyond our human reasoning
though it is reasonable with they mind, heart, and spirit of faith.
The Church’s liturgy is of great assistance to our learning and
praying on this Trinity Sunday by offering us three sets of readings for
the cycle of three years. We meditate upon what is called the B Cycle this
year. We need, however, to realize that the above prayers are of great
assistance to us when we pray to the Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity
took many years to develop a way of thinking about it but it still is a
profound mystery for us. St Francis Xavier marveled at how the children of
India wanted to learn these simple expressions of the Trinity seen in the
prayers mentioned. He himself marveled and said, “O Most Holy Trinity!”
as the soul of his faith in the three Persons.
Matthew’s conclusion to his Gospel is the most direct expression of
the Trinity in the New Testament. He cites them as the words of Jesus which
are expressed as the commitment of the sacrament of Baptism. We are named
and reborn in this sacrament in the name of the Father, the Son, and the
Holy Spirit while being given our Christian name. Then we are called to
grow in that faith and to witness to it with our lives. We are not to be
hesitant for Jesus says, “I am with you always, until the end of the
world.” Our Christian religion is a personal one both in belief and in the
practices of living in communities of faith called churches, parishes,
chapels and homes, religious communities, etc. We are not saved alone, we
depend on God’s graces working within us through our belonging to such
communities. The Church is not a Jesus and I community but a community
based on the Trinity of Persons. We are united to God the Father, God the
Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Our first reading from Deuteronomy refers to the theophany given to
Moses on Mt. Sinai where he learns that God is “I who am.” The vision is
confirmed by the signs and wonders God works for his people and in their
liberation and freedom through the Exodus. Then the Psalm brings us the
mystery of God’s loving-kindness (Hesed) and justice (Tsedek); covenantal
signs of our belonging to a community. Paul in his letter to the Romans
speaks about and invokes God as ABBA, Father, then about the Spirit as
leading us, and finally of the Son, the Christ, who redeems us and gives us
a glimpse of his glory after his suffering and death.
Father Roland J.Faley’s words help us to meditate upon the mystery we
celebrate. He tells us: “There are times when the sign of the cross is a
true profession of faith in a God who is our Creator, Redeemer, and
Sanctifier. At other times it is an unrecognizable, distracted gesture in
no semblance of reverence. It might help us to remember that this
distinguishing sign of our faith really identifies us as members of a very
specific family. Today’s readings make it very clear that it is a question
of Father, Son, Spirit, and you. We are enveloped in the love of three
persons and challenged to bring that love to our community. Just as
Matthew’s Gospel ends with the Trinity. so our life begins with it. We are
baptized in the name of the Triune God.” Amen.