Tag Archives: trinity

Most Holy Trinity Sunday, cycle B

Let us pray:

O God, we praise you:

Father, Mother, Creator, Source of life —

Christ Jesus, Word, Savior, Lord, Brother —

Breath, Fire, Spirit, Comforter, Advocate –

You reveal yourself in the depths of our being.

Draw us to share in your life and love.

Be near to us who are formed in your image;

Renew us forever in Your Love.  AMEN

Thoughts from Exploring the Sunday Readings, June 2005:

Understanding the Trinity by some feat of mathematics may be out of the question, but it is within our grasp to apprehend the Holy Presence through the power of the indwelling Spirit. To know God, start by making yourself known to God [opening yourself to God in prayer]. The Creator of the universe may seem too awesome for us. The Holy Spirit, as intimate as our next breath, may yet seem too mystical. But Jesus is the one in whom this God is completely present, and still we have been invited to call him friend. He is the one who knows us as one of us: He knew birthdays, hard work, good company, simple meals, and great feasts. He knew irritation, weariness, friendship, family, rejection, and suffering. Jesus is the one who can lead us through all that life has to offer us: there is no place we can go that he has not been.

1st Reading: Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40

From Celebration, June 11, 2006:  Deuteronomy means ‘a second law’ – it is written as if Moses is giving a farewell address to his people before they cross the Jordan river and enter Canaan. It is comprised of both early and late material, some perhaps as early as the 10th century B.C. and some as late as the 7th century B.C. It speaks of a God who not only created all things, but who wishes to also be involved with and care for all that he has brought forth.

How does this reading speak to you about our God?  Do you feel this greatness of God in your life?  Is it fixed in your heart?

2nd Reading: Romans 8: 14-17

From Celebration, June 11, 2006:  Paul here is using Roman law and customs to explain how God wishes to relate to us. According to Roman law, the father’s power over the family was absolute. A son never came of age; he was always under the control of his father. To adopt a son was a major undertaking. It followed a long and exact ritual. But once done, the adopted person belongs forever to the new father. Here are some of the consequences of these legal adoptions:

  • The adoptee gave up all rights in his former family and gained all rights and dignity of a legitimate child in his new family.
  • The adoptee became the legal heir of his new father and even if others are born afterwards, his rights could not be affected.
  • The old life of the adoptee was wiped out and all debts were cancelled.
  • The adoptee was regarded as a new person and a true son/daughter.

What do you find most important in this reading?  How does it feel to know you are a child of God (Family!) and able to ENTER INTO this trinity?

The Gospel: Matthew 28: 16-20

Matthew’s gospel began with the story of Jesus’ birth saying “and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means God is with us.” (1:23). Now with this ending passage, Matthew has Jesus again assuring the disciples who are sent out to all the world (no longer to just fellow Jews) saying: “And behold, I am with you always . . .”

What strikes you most about this gospel?  Isn’t it interesting that the moment the disciples doubted, that’s when Jesus sent them off with work to do?  None of us are completely prepared, but we are sent anyway.  Just as we are.

  • This took place at the Ascension…think of the difference between a vertical relationship with God to a now horizontal relationship.
  • The Trinitarian formula reminds us that God wants FULL relationship with us in every way. The love within the Trinity is what God wants us all to enter into.

There are 2 ways to look at trinity:  economic trinity and immanent trinity.  The “immanent trinity” is God in relation to God’s self.  The “economic trinity” is God in relation to the world, (Introduction to the Trinity, L. Lorenzen, p. 45).  St. Augustine in De Trinitate came to this understanding of trinity:  The Father is the Lover, the Son the Beloved, and the Holy Spirit the mutual Love that passes between Father and Son…the human soul and its faculties is the best mirror of the Trinity that is available.  And so…this is the outward divine activity…that we move from the “economic” to the “immanent” tripersonal God.  (The Tripersonal God, G. O’Collins SJ, 135-142).  In other words, the more we have-our-being in God  (behave, relate, move through the world), the more we enter into God’s very self.  This is all very theological, but take time to consider what this might mean in your life.  What is it to live a Godlike life?

Let us pray with Richard Rohr:

God For Us, we call You Father,

God Alongside Us, we call You Jesus,

God Within Us, we call You Holy Spirit.

You are the Eternal Mystery

That enables, enfolds, and enlivens all things,

Even us, and even me.

Every name falls short of your

Goodness and Greatness.

We can only see who You are in what is.

We ask for such perfect seeing.

As it was in the beginning, is now,

and ever shall be. Amen.

Advertisements

Trinity Sunday, cycle C

On Trinity Sunday we celebrate the very essence of God – and how we experience this essence. And so, by this celebration we hope to come to experience this mystery more deeply within our real and everyday lives. This God of love, truth and life is not a puzzle to be solved, but a mystery to be loved, experienced,  and lived.

From Elizabeth Johnson’s Quest for the Living God, “Trinity: The Living God of Love”:

Christians do not believe in three gods but in one. What is particular to this faith is the belief that this one God has graciously reached out to the world in love in the person of Jesus Christ in order to heal, redeem, and liberate…

It lifts up God’s gracious ways active in the world through Jesus Christ and the Spirit, and finds there the fundamental revelation about God’s own being as self-giving communion of love . . .  This is about “an encounter with divine Mystery” . . . experiencing the saving God in a threefold way as beyond them, and with them, and within them . . .

‘Trinity theology’ too often has presented its findings as if they were a literal description of a self-contained Trinity of three divine persons knowing and loving each other. This, of course, is not the case, no such literal description is possible . . .  we must think with humility. Our “God is not two men and a bird” even though artists have often depicted the Trinity this way. This art is a meditation not a photograph. (207-208)

God is love – God lives as this mystery of love. We humans are created in this image. “Knowing God is impossible unless we enter into a life of love and communion with others.” “The church’s identity and mission pivot on this point . . .  Only a community of equal persons related in profound mutuality, pouring out praise of God and care for the world in need, only such a church corresponds to the triune God it purports to serve.”  (223)

“The point is, with the three circling around in a mutual, dynamic movement of love, God is not a static being but a plenitude of self-giving love, a saving mystery that overflows into the world of sin and death to heal, redeem, and liberate.  The whole point of this history of god with the world is to bring the world back into the life of God’s own communion, back into the divine dance of life  (p. 214).

1st Reading – Proverbs 8: 22 – 31

The Book of Proverbs is sort of an ‘Owners manual for the Jewish mind, heart and hands. All the chapters tell the reader about a spirit of right living: a life of discipline, restraint, just judgment, and relational sensitivity. This passage is a poetic presentation of how Wisdom assisted in creation. The goodness of creation and of ourselves is affirmed so that we reverence and use well all of that creation.  Larry Gillick, S.J., http://onlineministries.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistr/053010.html

This passage in the Old Testament is considered typology…a foreshadow or hint of what may be understood further in the New Testament.  Trinity is not a concept that was revealed well in OT, but this is a prefigurement:  the idea that the Father had company in creation.

2nd Reading – Romans 5: 1-5

Paul insists that standing firm in the midst of trials yields to endurance and a firm hope.  For Paul, the assurance that salvation was a free gift for all inclusively was based on his belief in God’s love shown to us through the power of the Holy Spirit.  It was Paul’s firm belief in the triune nature of God that would later be the foundation upon which theologians based the doctrine of Trinity.  For Paul it was the Christian anchor:  hope and endurance come through faith in the Triune God’s transcendent power!  (Birmingham, Word & Worship, p. 554)  How has hope and endurance helped you in the midst of trial?

The Gospel – John 16: 12-15

This passage continues the Farewell Discourse of the Last Supper that Jesus has with his disciples.  Note how gentle Jesus is in not wanting to overwhelm them by only feeding them bits of information that they are able to understand  (Think of how we teach our children!).  “Spirit” in this piece of scripture in Greek is “paraclete”…one who stands by us.  We have a God that stands forever with us.  How does this speak to you?

7th Sunday of Easter, Cycle C

Gospel:  John17: 20 – 26

This reading is Jesus’ prayer at his last meal with his disciples.  For whom does Jesus pray, for what does Jesus pray, and why does Jesus pray for it?  Jesus prays for those who would believe in him on the word of the disciples.  He is praying that they may all be united with the same intimacy that Jesus knows with his Father.  The reason for the prayer is to bring people to faith, so people will believe that the Father sent Jesus to the world.  The unity that Christ desired for his disciples would be a result of the living presence of Christ through the Holy Spirit!  This is something that John’s community in particular needed to hear  (W&W, Birmingham, p. 312).  As you reflect on Jesus’ prayer for you, what is most comforting to you, and what might you need to change in order to conform your life more closely to what Jesus wants for you?

It is easy to see the Trinity in Jesus’ prayer.  We are being called to be one with God just as Father, Son and Spirit are one with each other.  This oneness unites us with each other too.  Jesus, as the incarnation…the Word made flesh…is the way.  The cross is a symbol of our oneness…vertical connection with God and horizontal connection with each other.  Michael Downey has more thoughts on this in Altogether Gift:

The incomprehensibility of God lies in the utter gratuity of life and love, in God’s constant coming as gift.  God is inexhaustible Gift, Given and Gift/ing in and through love.  This is who God is and how God is.  Whatever may be known of this ineffable mystery, unfathomable because of the depth and prodigality of this life pouring itself forth in love, is known in and through the gift of the indwelling Spirit of God enabling us to recognize the Word made flesh whose life, passion, and Resurrection are the very disclosure of God’s mystery. 

A Trinitarian spirituality is a whole way of life by which we participate in the mission of Word and Spirit in human life, history, the church and the world, becoming ourselves expressions and configurations of God’s speaking and breathing – now.

The relationality of the three bonded in the one Love spills over into a relationality with the world, thereby making it possible for human persons to enter into this communion in the one Love.

Human personhood is not something achieved in autonomy or independence or self-determination or self-sufficiency.  Rather, human personhood is received in self-donation, being toward, always toward the other and others in relation.

The Most Holy Trinity, cycle B

trinity

Thoughts from Exploring the Sunday Readings, June 2005:

Understanding the Trinity by some feat of mathematics may be out of the question, but it is within our grasp to apprehend the Holy Presence through the power of the indwelling Spirit. To know God, start by making yourself known to God [opening yourself to God in prayer]. The Creator of the universe may seem too awesome for us. The Holy Spirit, as intimate as our next breath, may yet seem too mystical. But Jesus is the one in whom this God is completely present, and still we have been invited to call him friend. He is the one who knows us as one of us: He knew birthdays, hard work, good company, simple meals, and great feasts. He knew irritation, weariness, friendship, family, rejection, and suffering. Jesus is the one who can lead us through all that life has to offer us: there is no place we can go that he has not been.

1st Reading: Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40

From Celebration, June 11, 2006:

Deuteronomy means ‘a second law’ – it is written as if Moses is giving a farewell address to his people before they cross the Jordan river and enter Canaan. It is comprised of both early and late material, some perhaps as early as the 10th century B.C. and some as late as the 7th century B.C. It speaks of a God who not only created all things, but who wishes to also be involved with and care for all that he has brought forth.

How does this reading speak to you about our God?  Do you feel this greatness of God in your life?  Is it fixed in your heart?

2nd Reading: Romans 8: 14-17

Paul here is using Roman law and customs to explain how God wishes to relate to us. According to Roman law, the father’s power over the family was absolute. A son never came of age; he was always under the control of his father. To adopt a son was a major undertaking. It followed a long and exact ritual. But once done, the adopted person belongs forever to the new father. Here are some of the consequences of these legal adoptions:

  • The adoptee gave up all rights in his former family and gained all rights and dignity of a legitimate child in his new family.
  • The adoptee became the legal heir of his new father and even if others are born afterwards, his rights could not be affected.
  • The old life of the adoptee was wiped out and all debts were cancelled.
  • The adoptee was regarded as a new person and a true son/daughter.

(Celebration, June 11, 2006)

What do you find most important in this reading?  How does it feel to know you  are a child of God  (Family!) and able to ENTER INTO this trinity?

The Gospel: Matthew 28: 16-20

Matthew’s gospel began with the story of Jesus’ birth saying “and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means God is with us.” (1:23). Now with this ending passage, Matthew has Jesus again assuring the disciples who are sent out to all the world (no longer just to fellow Jews) saying: “And behold, I am with you always . . .”

What strikes you most about this gospel?  Isn’t it interesting that the moment the disciples doubted, that’s when Jesus sent them off with work to do?  None of us are completely prepared, but we are sent anyway.  Just as we are.

Deacon Larry’s homily from Trinity Sunday

Look around you. Do you see God? Do you see Jesus Christ? In a real sense you do. You see them through the Holy Spirit who is in yourself and every baptized person around you. You can feel the Trinity’s presence in every kind word and good deed you’ll experience today. In just a few moments, you will be asked to share a sign of peace. Jesus said, “You are in me and I am in you.  Feel this presence as you wish the people around you peace.

Nine months ago, when I came to this parish, I was in a difficult point on my journey to become a Deacon. Several years ago, our parish was closed. A community that my family had belonged to for 30 years ceased to exist overnight. Because of the deaconate program, we haven’t joined a new parish and so never formed a new spiritual bond like we had at our old parish.    Within a few weeks of our church closing Carol lost a dear friend to cancer. I remember her coming to me in the field where I was working. She was devastated; not only had she lost someone special toher, but she felt that the place she needed to be to talk with God was gone; the people she would have gone to for support were dispersedWe prayed and held each other, and in looking back I can see the Holy Trinity with us in the middle of that hay field. They strengthened us and we moved on. These events that happened at the beginning of my formation, I believe, had a lasting effect on my feelings about community.

I felt that it would be difficult if not impossible to ever have that spiritual communal closeness again. I learned over time that though our sacred buildings are important to us, more important are the communities they house. The trinity is in the community not the building;  the trinity exists in the human heart not in stone and mortar. In this turbulent time in our Church so many of us lose sight of this, placing stone and mortar above flesh and blood. This was my mindset when I entered this community last November.

Coming to St.Kateri healed this misconception; I felt almost at once welcome.  A building does not do that; a caring community does. I saw over the last several months two communities not dissolved by merger, but rather two communities coming together, blending and forming a new, stronger and more beautiful spiritual community.  A new community strong enough to withstand a major crisis, rally together and move forward with Christ’s help.   God sent me here to witness this; to give me back the feeling that I once had so many years ago. In a real sense, the Holy Spirit has been breathed in to me anew.

I will be going now to put my ministry to work. I’m going forward with renewed hope and promise given back to me by a strong and loving parish called St.Kateri, a parish that will prosper and grow with the guidance of the Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit.

Scripture Commentary for The Most Holy Trinity

Image

 

Let us pray this Reflection by Hildegard of Bingen

Good people,

Most royal greening verdancy,

                Rooted in the sun,

        you shine with radiant light.

In this circle of earthly existence

        you shine so finely, it surpasses understanding.

God hugs you.

        You are encircled by the arms

                of the mystery of God.  Amen. 

On Trinity Sunday we celebrate the very essence of God – and how we experience this essence. And so, by this celebration we hope to come to experience this mystery more deeply within our real and everyday lives. This God of love, truth and life is not a puzzle to be solved, but a mystery to be loved, experienced,  and lived.

From Elizabeth Johnson’s Quest for the Living God, “Trinity: The Living God of Love”:

Christians do not believe in three gods but in one. What is particular to this faith is the belief that this one God has graciously reached out to the world in love in the person of Jesus Christ in order to heal, redeem, and liberate . . .

It lifts up God’s gracious ways active in the world through Jesus Christ and the Spirit, and finds there the fundamental revelation about God’s own being as self-giving communion of love . . .  This is about “an encounter with divine Mystery” . . . experiencing the saving God in a threefold way as beyond them, and with them, and within them . . .

‘Trinity theology’ too often has presented its findings as if they were a literal description of a self-contained Trinity of three divine persons knowing and loving each other. This, of course, is not the case, no such literal description is possible . . .  we must think with humility. Our “God is not two men and a bird” even though artists have often depicted the Trinity this way. This art is a meditation not a photograph. (207-208)

God is love – God lives as this mystery of love. We humans are created in this image. “Knowing God is impossible unless we enter into a life of love and communion with others.” “The church’s identity and mission pivot on this point . . .  Only a community of equal persons related in profound mutuality, pouring out praise of God and care for the world in need, only such a church corresponds to the triune God it purports to serve.”  (223)

“The point is, with the three circling around in a mutual, dynamic movement of love, God is not a static being but a plenitude of self-giving love, a saving mystery that overflows into the world of sin and death to heal, redeem, and liberate.  The whole point of this history of god with the world is to bring the world back into the life of God’s own communion, back into the divine dance of life  (p. 214).

1st Reading – Proverbs 8: 22 – 31

The Book of Proverbs is sort of an ‘Owners manual for the Jewish mind, heart and hands. All the chapters tell the reader about a spirit of right living: a life of discipline, restraint, just judgment, and relational sensitivity. This passage is a poetic presentation of how Wisdom assisted in creation. The goodness of creation and of ourselves is affirmed so that we reverence and use well all of that creation.  Larry Gillick, S.J., http://onlineministries.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistr/053010.html

This passage in the Old Testament is considered typology…a foreshadow or hint of what may be understood further in the New Testament.  Trinity is not a concept that was revealed well in OT, but this is a prefigurement:  the idea that the Father had company in creation.

2nd Reading – Romans 5: 1-5

Paul insists that standing firm in the midst of trials yields to endurance and a firm hope.  For Paul, the assurance that salvation was a free gift for all inclusively was based on his belief in God’s love shown to us through the power of the Holy Spirit.  It was Paul’s firm belief in the triune nature of God that would later be the foundation upon which theologians based the doctrine of Trinity.  For Paul it was the Christian anchor:  hope and endurance come through faith in the Triune God’s transcendent power!  (Birmingham, Word & Worship, p. 554)  How has hope and endurance helped you in the midst of trial?

The Gospel – John 16: 12-15

This passage continues the Farewell Discourse of the Last Supper that Jesus has with his disciples.  Note how gentle Jesus is in not wanting to overwhelm them by only feeding them bits of information that they are able to understand  (Think of how we teach our children!).  “Spirit” in this piece of scripture in Greek is “paraclete”…one who stands by us.  We have a God that stands forever with us.  How does this speak to you?

Let us pray this prayer by Richard Rohr…

God for Us, we call You Father,

God Alongside Us, we call You Jesus,

God Within Us, we call You Holy Spirit.

You are the Eternal Mystery

That enables, enfolds, and enlivens all things,

Even us, and even me.

Every name falls short of your

Goodness and Greatness.

We can only see who You are in what is.

We ask for such perfect seeing.

As it was in the beginning, is now,

and ever shall be.

Amen.

Thoughts on the Gospel Reading for 7th Sunday of Easter

Gospel:  John 17: 20 – 26

This reading is Jesus’ prayer at his last meal with his disciples.  For whom does Jesus pray, for what does Jesus pray, and why does Jesus pray for it?  Jesus prays for those who would believe in him on the word of the disciples.  He is praying that they may all be united with the same intimacy that Jesus knows with his Father.  The reason for the prayer is to bring people to faith, so people will believe that the Father sent Jesus to the world.  The unity that Christ desired for his disciples would be a result of the living presence of Christ through the Holy Spirit!  This is something that John’s community in particular needed to hear  (W&W, Birmingham, p. 312).  As you reflect on Jesus’ prayer for you, what is most comforting to you, and what might you need to change in order to conform your life more closely to what Jesus wants for you?

It is easy to see the Trinity in Jesus’ prayer.  We are being called to be one with God just as Father, Son and Spirit are one with each other.  This oneness unites us with each other too.  Jesus, as the incarnation…the Word made flesh…is the way.  The cross is a symbol of our oneness…vertical connection with God and horizontal connection with each other.  Michael Downey has more thoughts on this in Altogether Gift

 

The incomprehensibility of God lies in the utter gratuity of life and love, in God’s constant coming as gift.  God is inexhaustible Gift, Given and Gift/ing in and through love.  This is who God is and how God is.  Whatever may be known of this ineffable mystery, unfathomable because of the depth and prodigality of this life pouring itself forth in love, is known in and through the gift of the indwelling Spirit of God enabling us to recognize the Word made flesh whose life, passion, and Resurrection are the very disclosure of God’s mystery. 

 

A Trinitarian spirituality is a whole way of life by which we participate in the mission of Word and Spirit in human life, history, the church and the world, becoming ourselves expressions and configurations of God’s speaking and breathing – now.

 

The relationality of the three bonded in the one Love spills over into a relationality with the world, thereby making it possible for human persons to enter into this communion in the one Love.

 

Human personhood is not something achieved in autonomy or independence or self-determination or self-sufficiency.  Rather, human personhood is received in self-donation, being toward, always toward the other and others in relation.