Holy Trinity


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Points For Reflection: 

1)     Missionary in Africa brings a sundial. Chief insists on putting it in the centre of the village. Later they built a roof over it.
2)     Imageries: St. Patrick – 3 leaves of the clover shamrock on one stem; St Ignatius 3 notes but one sound; water with three forms – ice, steam and liquid; 3 vows of the religious: poverty to the Father, chastity to the Son and Obedience (listen attentively) to the Spirit.
3)     But someone has cleverly noted that, unlike other Christian doctrines, the Trinity is not a truth that leads to action. But rather, like a painting by Monet or a poem by Keats or a symphony by Beethoven, it should point us to prayer or just wonderment. Perhaps it will help us to become the prayers we recite. (Joan Chittister)
4)     Whoever can no longer wonder or no longer is marvel as good as dead. (Einstein)
Our goal today is not to get us into the Trinity but to get the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit into us.

5)     Faith: knowing and loving; lovers, when we know someone we may love or hate that person. Our roots, history and mystery. Bottom line: Trinity Sunday is about where we have come from and where we are going..
6)     Mystery, meaning and message; Mystery: St Augustine and the boy trying to empty the sea into a tin cup. That’s nonsense, impossible, not as impossible as what you are to figure out in your mind.
7)     Man: lived with my wife for the past 55 years, and you think HT is a mystery
8)     Theology: Revelation & Response; God reveals through: creation, inspiration & incarnation; Dt 6, Ex 20; Mt 3 (baptism), 28 (mission)
9)     How inscrutable are your plans & how unsearchable your ways (Paul)
10)  Dr. Henry Morris: The universal testimony: A good illustration of the Trinity comes from world-renowned scientist Dr. Henry Morris. He notes that the entire universe is Trinitarian by design. The universe consists of three things: matter, space, and time. Take away any one of those three and the universe would cease to exist. But each one of those is itself a trinity.

Matter = mass + energy + motion.
Space = length + height + breadth.
Time = past + present + future

Thus the whole universe witnesses to the character of the God who made it (cf. Psalm 19:1).

11)  Sun is 80 million miles away; we can see the rays of the sun and experience the heat; Sun=Father, rays=son & heat=Hspt. Distinct, yet undivided like heat & cold, light & darkness; 1x1x1=1; Magnate; world=sky, earth & oceans; time=past, pr & future, undivided, continuous reality.

12)  Meaning: Unity in diversity; look at the world, we are astounded by the immense variety & diversity in colour, shape, gender, language, food, religions, ways of doing, culture; Masses in so many different rites, styles, but the same Lord, same faith, same baptism…Polish sausage, bagel, curries, ballooth,…
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Michel de Verteuil
General Textual comments
We meet two kinds of feasts in the liturgy. The most important are the mysteries, incidents in the life of Jesus which we enter into, experiencing them as living again in us – we have just completed the cycle of the Easter mysteries.
Now the Church invites us to celebrate three of the second kind of feasts – the Trinity, Corpus Christi, and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
In these feasts we celebrate some aspect of our faith. It is a celebration, therefore, not an academic exercise. Meditating on the gospel texts chosen for each feast helps us enter into it.
It is particularly important to do this for the Trinity, because this doctrine is usually experienced as a mathematical sum to be learnt, rather than good news to be celebrated.
The gospel text for the feast this year will seem forbidding at first. But as with many of the teachings of Jesus recorded in St John’s gospel, if you read it imaginatively you will find that it will come alive.
Feel free to take the passage as you will, but it is good to let it speak to you about the Trinity. Jesus is the model of what believing in the Trinity does for us.
It is helpful to situate the passage in its context: it is a moment of separation, Jesus is giving his followers a last teaching before leaving them.
Lectio prayer
Good Shep“Consult not your fears but your hopes and dreams.
Think not about your frustrations but about your potential.”
  …John Paul II
Lord, as parents and teachers we tend to become self-important
– we think we have to tell our charges everything they need to know,
– preserve them from making mistakes,
– prepare them for every eventuality.
Help us to be humble like Jesus,
knowing that no matter how much we do for people,
there are always things that we still have to say to them,
but these things would be too much for them at this point in their lives.
We need not be anxious about that, because when the time comes,
the Spirit of truth will come and will lead them to the complete truth.
“Someone who knows  his own weakness is greater than someone who sees the angels.” …Isaac of Nineveh, Syrian monk of the 7th century
Lord, there are many factions in the Church,
each one thinking they have the complete truth.
Help us to be a Church modeled on your Holy Trinity,
aware that none of us possesses the complete truth since that Holy-Trinity2belongs to you alone.
We do not speak as from ourselves,
but only what we have received from you as your gift.
When we understand that, we can really prepare people for the things to come.
“When the archer shoots for no particular prize, he has all his skills;
when he shoots to win, he thinks more of winning than of shooting,
and the need to win drains him of power.”
 
Tranxu, Chinese sage
Lord, like Jesus, we need not be anxious for success.
Whatever happens in the future will glorify us
since it will be taken from what is ours.
That may seem a presumptuous thing to say, but it isn’t.
We say it because we know that everything you have is ours.
“My son, you are with me always, and all I have is yours.”The father in the parable of the prodigal son, Luke 15:31
Lord, you treat us like members of your family,
and share everything you have with us.
When we think we must earn goodness by our hard work,
– we become jealous of others;
– angry that they do not recognize what they owe us;
– self-righteous that our words have been proved right.
If, like Jesus, we remember that everything you have is ours,
we rejoice in the gifts of others.
one in Jesus
Lord, forgive us that as followers of Jesus,
we think we have a monopoly, or even a first option, on the truth.
Teach us to welcome truth wherever we find it;
remind us that Jesus was not possessive of the truth;
he knew that everything you have is his,
and so everything the Spirit would tell the world until the end of time
would be taken from what was his.
Lord, noble ideals are handed on to us by great people who went before us.
When we strive for those ideals, we glorify them,
since all we do is taken from what is theirs.
“Nothing that happened in Eastern Europe in these last years would have been possible without the presence of this Pope.”   …Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, March 1992
Lord, we thank you for Pope Paul II, Francis I and all spiritual people like them.
Guided by the Spirit, they do not speak as from themselves,
but say only what they have learnt, and so they tell the world of things to come.
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Thomas O’Loughlin,
Introduction to the Celebration
Nature of God
This feast is unique in that the focus of our celebration is not an aspect of the history of salvation, but reflection on the nature of God as we believe it has been revealed to us as Christians. Thus every Sunday is the Sunday of the Trinity, every feast, every action has a trinitarian dimension, and should any prayer be uttered or homily preached which does not include that core of faith — at least tacitly with a conclusion such as ‘through Christ our Lord’ — then we are apostates, have ceased to be Christians and become some sort of vague deists or unitarians who value the ‘message of Jesus’. At the outset of the celebration it is worth reflecting that today’s focus is the very essence of Christian identity. We have just stated that we are acting ‘In the name of the Father…’ and that is a declaration of our basic faith, not just an opening formula. Our aim in today’s liturgy should be to become more sensitive to the tririitarian cues that run right through our religion.
Homily Notes
Trinity, El Greco1. There is almost a tradition of beginning homilies today with:
‘this is the most difficult sermon of the whole year’, or ‘this is a mystery and I was never good at dogma in the seminary’, or some such deprecating remark which is ostensibly intended to
emphasise that God is mystery, and defensively that actu­ally speaking of ‘things divine’ is more demanding than commenting on the practical implications of belief. However, what is actually communicated is that what follows is really rather irrelevant and that you are only going through with the homily because it’s your job. In that case, no matter what you say, the congregation have switched off. Every teacher knows that if you tell a class that the next topic is awfully hard to understand,it is a self-fulfilling prophesy; equally, if you tell the assembly that this is all very complicated, then they will decide that it is probably something they can live without – as they have successfully done until now.
In any case, what it required is not a mini-version of Augustine’s De Trinitate, but a recollection that to believe as we do, is to believe that in Christ we are caught up into the life of God, he shows us the Father, and sends the Spirit to dwell with us. Your task is not a lecture in dogma (so avoid’ arithmetical theology’ such as ‘I God, 2 processions, 3 Persons, 4 relations, 5 notions’), but to bear witness in the assembly to what we believe to be the basic dynamic of life revealed in Christ.
God designed these beautiful flowers, so God must be beautiful.
God designed these beautiful flowers, so God must be beautiful.
2. One useful way to raise awareness of that dynamic is to draw people’s attention to the basic structures of the prayers we use in the liturgy.
3. But, first, it is useful to recall what we do not believe. We do not address a ‘God’ as if it is ‘us’ and ‘him over there’, as if our prayers were like letters to a distant ruler. That is a model of the God-humanity relationship that belongs to many religions (indeed it is a constant distraction for us too), but it does not reflect our basic confession. To talk of God as the ‘wholly other’ is to forget that Jesus Christ, the Son, wholly God, is wholly one with us.
4.
Called into life by God
We are all called into life by God
We believe that we were brought into the life of God by Christ, when we were baptised into him. The Son reveals that he is distinct from the Father, he comes from the Father, he returns to the Father. The Son gathers us and the whole creation into his kingdom which he presents to the Father. The Son sends us the Spirit, the Spirit enables us to grow ‘in Christ’ and to call the Father, our Father. We see this in the opening prayer today: ‘Father, you sent your Word … and your Spirit … through them we come to know the mystery of your life.’ This pattern of ‘from the Father’, ‘through the Son’, ‘in the Spirit’, and ‘to the Father’ can be found in virtually every prayer in the liturgy. A slightly larger example would be Eucharistic Prayer II. We address the Father throughout the prayer, who as the fountain of holiness sends us the Spirit. The Spirit enables us to remember Christ. Then we actually remember Christ and his thanksgiving/ offering (the institution narrative) which he made to the Father. Through the Son we stand in the Father’s presence and serve him, and ask him that as we ‘share in the body and blood of Christ’ we might ‘be brought together in unity by the Holy Spirit’.
5. To be baptised and to believe means that we enter into the trinitarian life of God, we profess this when we recite the creed. But the creed in its reciting form is derivative of the three-fold, question-and-answer form of baptism. This trini­tarian aspect can be brought out more effectively today by replacing the recited creed with a renewal of baptismal promises as on Easter Day (Missal, p 220).
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3. Sean Goan

This short gospel from John’s Last Discourse highlights the piv­otal role of the Spirit in making known the mystery of God. We should not imagine that the idea of the Trinity was something that the early church came to easily. The first Christians were Jews and they believed very much in God as one, so they had to grapple with the identity of Jesus that had been revealed to them. This they did, firmly believing that the Spirit was guiding them into the amazing truth about God.
trinity familyThey came to see that God’s own inner life had been shown to them as Creator, Saviour and Sanctifier and that as believers they were being asked in some way to live out the life of love that had been made known to them. The Gospel of John is a witness to this whole process.
Reflection
The gospel for today tells us that the Spirit of truth will lead us to the complete truth about God. Happily for us the gospel does not say when we will come to the complete truth. Perhaps this is because the evangelist knows full well that the God revealed by Jesus is not just a mystery to be solved. Every generation of Christians must make the effort to see where and how the God who creates, saves and sanctifies is speaking to us.
At the beginning of the third millenium it may well be that She is screaming at us through a hole in the ozone layer and in the voices of the hungry and oppressed who suffer so terribly in God’s beautiful world.
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4. Donal Neary S.J.

Beginning of time – wisdom
Wisdom, truth and love seem to be the themes of readings today, and that love will lead to hope.
It’s a confusing sort of feast, as we cannot understand the truth of the Trinity But we can ‘hit’ it from different angles.
The wisdom of God has been born before the beginning of time. Somehow wisdom is essential to God – and is presented very often as female. In celebrating the Trinity we celebrate and ask for wisdom, which comes from the heart of God. So this wisdom is the sort of wisdom that comes from love.
Love is ‘poured’ into our hearts by the Spirit. Connected with love are qualities we would want to live by – courage and hope. These are the gifts of the Spirit as wisdom may be the gift of the Father.
Jesus is presented by the gospel as the source of truth. His also is the truth of love, as his truth is best seen on the cross, in his self-sacrificing love.
The most famous icon of the Trinity by Rugenev, ( c/f icon above) well-known to us now, has the Trinity at a table and an empty space at the table for us all. In one sense they are not completed without us! We are part of their love, and their life of wisdom, truth and love, which they wish to share with us.
welcomeGlory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning,  is now and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.
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From the Connections:

THE WORD:

As Ordinary Time resumes, two “solemnities of the Lord” are celebrated on the next two Sundays.  Today’s celebration of the Trinity, originating in France in the eighth century and adopted by the universal Church in 1334, focuses on the essence of our faith: the revelation of God as Creator, the climax of his creation in Jesus the Redeemer, the fullness of the love of God poured out upon us in the Sustainer Spirit.

In his final words to his disciples at the Last Supper, Jesus promises to send the “Spirit of truth [to] guide you to all truth.”  The Son has revealed the Father to the Church; the Spirit of truth and wisdom keeps that revelation alive in the Church.

HOMILY POINTS:

Trinity Sunday is a celebration of the many dimensions in which we discover the how and why of God: God, the Creator and Sustainer of all that lives; God, the Christ who became one of us to show us the depth of God's love; the Spirit, the love of God living among us, the love that gives meaning and vision to us, God's beloved creation.
Truth is an ongoing process; God continues to reveal himself in all time.  He is not a silent God who ceased to reveal himself on the last page of Scripture.  Through the Spirit dwelling within us and within the Church, God is still leading us into a greater realization of what Jesus taught in the Gospels.
To be a person of authentic faith means to seek out and face the truth -- regardless of the consequences, regardless of the cost to egos or wallets, regardless of our doubts and cynicism and fear.  To live our faith means to live the truth about love, justice and forgiveness with integrity and conviction, regardless of the cost. 
Faith begins with realizing the Spirit of God breathing life into all that exists; faith then compels us to continue the creative work of God, to embrace and be embraced by the love of God that envelopes every wonder of nature and every manifestation of compassion.


Once upon a time . . .
A writer has an idea for a book.  He or she nurses it along in his or her mind where it might “exist” for a long time.  After many long hours of hard work, the idea becomes a book, and the idea can now be touched, seen and heard.  As a book, the idea generates energy – an energy that affects those who read it.  The energy released by the book may even change the lives of its readers.  And while some may like the book, others may dislike it so much they will do their best to destroy it, by bad reviews, whispering campaigns, or burning it in the public square.  In spite of the attempts to destroy the book, the book’s appreciative readers draw ongoing power from it, sharing its message with others.  Some will remember parts of the book; some will write down everything they learn from the book; and some will tell all who will listen the wonderful story or facts contained in the book.  The power released by the book endures long after its pages are no more.
[An idea suggested by Dorothy Sayers in The Mind of the Maker.]
God is the writer with the ‘idea’ – an idea for a world of men and women created in his image who live in his love.  The idea takes the form of a "book" – Jesus, the human “face” of that idea.  Despite the failed attempts of some to destroy the book, the energy of the book endures, the book takes on a power that “rises” above those who seek to “crucify” the idea.  Such is the Spirit of God giving life to the idea and inspiring those who embrace it.  That is the God of the Trinity.  May we embrace the God's “idea” of love and reconciliation as mirrored in the "book" of the Gospel Jesus; may that idea energize us to transform our world in that idea through the power of the ever-present Spirit.   
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Fr. Tony Kadavil:

Introduction: The mystery of the most Holy Trinity is a basic doctrine of Faith in Christianity, understandable not with our heads but with our hearts. It teaches us that there are three distinct Persons in one God, sharing the same Divine Nature.  Our mind cannot grasp this doctrine which teaches that 1+1+1 = 1 and not 3. But we believe in this Mystery because Jesus who is God taught it clearly, the Evangelists recorded it, the Fathers of the Church tried to explain it and the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople defined it as a dogma of Christian Faith.

Importance in Christian life:
1) All prayers in the Church begin in the Name of the Holy Trinity and end glorifying the Trinity.
 2) All Sacraments are administered (we are baptized, confirmed, anointed, our sins are forgiven and our marriage blessed and our Bishops, priests and deacons ordained) in the name of the Holy Trinity. 
3) Church bells ring thrice daily, reminding us to pray to the Holy Trinity.
4) We bless ourselves, and the priest blesses us, in the name of the Holy Trinity.

Biblical proofs: There are only vague and hidden references to the Trinity in the Old Testament. But the New Testament gives clear teachings on the Holy Trinity.

1) At the Annunciation, God the Father sends His angel to Mary, God the Holy Spirit overshadows her and God the Son becomes incarnate in her womb.
2) At the baptism of Jesus, when the Son receives baptism from John the Baptist, the Father’s Voice is heard and the Holy Spirit appears as a Dove. 
3)  At the Ascension, Jesus gives the missionary command to his disciples to baptize those who believe, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
4) In John, chapters 15-18, we have a detailed account of Jesus’ teaching of the role of each Person of the Holy Trinity:

a) God the Father creates and provides for His creatures.
b) God the Son redeems us and reconciles us with God.
c) God the Holy Spirit sanctifies us, strengthens us, teaches us and guides us to God.

 Life messages: 1) Let us respect ourselves and others because everyone is the temple of the Holy Spirit where all the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity abide.

 2) Let us have the firm conviction that the Trinitarian God abides in us, that He is the Source of our hope, courage and strength and that He is our final destination.

 3) Let us practice the Trinitarian relationship of love and unity in the family relationships of father, mother and children because by Baptism we become children of God and members of God’s Trinitarian family. 

 4) Let us practice the I–God–my neighbor vertical and horizontal Trinitarian relationship in society by loving God living in others.  (Fr. Tony) L/16

 1:Simplified explanations by Ss. Patrick, Cyril and  John Maria Vianney:

The shamrock, a kind of clover, is a leguminous herb that grows in marshy places. St.  Patrick, the missionary patron saint of Ireland, used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity.  The story goes that one day his friends asked Patrick to explain the Mystery of the Trinity.  He looked at the ground and saw shamrocks growing amid the grass at his feet.  He picked one up one of its trifoliate leaves and asked if it were one leaf or three.    Patrick's friends couldn't answer – the shamrock leaf looked like one but it clearly had three parts.  Patrick explained to them: "The mystery of the Holy Trinity – one God in Three Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit - is like this, but more complex and unintelligible.”     St. Cyril, the teacher of the Slavs, tried to explain the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity using sun as an example.    He said, "God the Father is that blazing sun. God the Son is its light and God the Holy Spirit is its heat — but there is only one sun. So there are three Persons in the Holy Trinity but God is One and indivisible." St. John Maria Vianney used to explain Holy Trinity using lighted candles and roses on the altar and water in the cruets. “The flame has color, warmth and shape. But these are expressions of one flame. Similarly the rose has color, fragrance and shape. But these are expressions of one reality, namely, rose. Water, steam and ice are three distinct expressions of one reality. In the same way one God revealed Himself to us as Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.” Watch:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQLfgaUoQCw&feature=player_detailpage

 # 2: Trinity prayer of Tolstoy’s monks:
Three Russian monks lived in a faraway Island. Nobody ever went there. However, one day their bishop decided to make a pastoral visit to learn more about their religious life. But when he arrived he discerned that they did not know even the Lord’s Prayer. So he spent all his time and energy teaching them the Our Father and then left them, satisfied with his pastoral visit. But when his small ship had left the island and was back in the open sea, he suddenly noticed the three hermits walking on the water – in fact they were running after the ship. When they approached it, they cried out. “Dear bishop we have forgotten the Lord’s Prayer you taught us. The bishop, overwhelmed by what he was seeing and hearing asked them, ”But dear brothers, how then do you pray?”  They answered, “We just say, there are three of us and there are three of you, have mercy on us.” The bishop, awestruck by their sanctity and simplicity said, “Go back to your island and be at peace.” (Adapted from Leo Tolstoy- The Three Hermits" (Russian: ТриСтарца, a short story by Russian author Leo Tolstoy (Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy), was written in 1885 and first published in 1886 in the weekly periodical Niva (нива).

 # 3: "But that is impossible, my dear child:
”There is a very old and much-repeated story about St. Augustine, one of the intellectual giants of the Church.  He was walking by the seashore one day, attempting to conceive of an intelligible explanation for the mystery of the Trinity.  As he walked along, he saw a small boy on the beach, pouring seawater from a shell into a small hole in the sand.  "What are you doing, my child?" asked Augustine.  "I am trying to empty the sea into this hole," the boy answered with an innocent smile.  "But that is impossible, my dear child,” said Augustine.  The boy stood up, looked straight into the eyes of Augustine and replied, “What you are trying to do - comprehend the immensity of God with your small head - is even more impossible.”  Then he vanished.  The child was an angel sent by God to teach Augustine a lesson.  Later, Augustine wrote: "You see the Trinity if you see love."  According to him, the Father is the lover, the Son is the loved one and the Holy Spirit is the personification of the very act of loving.This means that we can understand something of the Mystery of the Holy Trinity more readily with the heart than with our feeble mind. Evagrius of Pontus, a Greek monk of the 4th century who came from what is now Turkey in Asia and later lived out his vocation in Egypt, said: "God cannot be grasped by the mind. If God could be grasped, God would not be God."

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Fr. Jude Botelho:

The Sundial
A missionary from Africa, on his home-leave, came across a beautiful sundial. He thought to himself, “That sundial would be ideal for my villagers in Africa. I could use it to teach them to tell the time of the day.” The missionary bought the sundial, crated it and took it back to Africa. When the village chief saw it, he insisted that it be set up in the centre of the village. The villagers were thrilled with the sundial. They had never seen something so beautiful in their lives. They were even more thrilled when they learned how it worked. The missionary was delighted by everyone’s response to his sundial. He was totally unprepared for what happened a few days later. The people of the village got together and built a roof over the sundial to protect it from the rain and the sun! Well, I think the sundial is a lot like the Holy Trinity, and we Christians are a lot like the African villagers. The most beautiful revelation of our faith is the teaching about the Holy Trinity, namely, the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. But instead of putting the teaching to work in our daily lives, we have built a roof over it, just as the villagers did over their sundial. For many of us the Trinity seems of little practical value, when it comes to our daily lives. We treat it more like an ornament of our faith. 
Mark Link in ‘Sunday Homilies’
 
The Gospel will remind us that while we have the privilege and gift of being of the family of God we also have the task and the duty of living and sharing this life with others. If we are children of the Father-God, who always takes the initiative of loving, sharing and giving, then we His children must be like our Father, the first to love, share and give to others. “Go and make disciples of all nations… We can only make disciples of all nations if we ourselves are true disciples, witnesses and mirror images of the Father. We are called to be like Jesus and we do that by doing the Father’s will. Jesus was the obedient son of the Father. Obedience to His laws and commandments should characterize our lives. Jesus lived for His Father and we too are called to live for the Father. This life is only possible in and through the Spirit. Jesus was obedient to the Spirit and led by the Spirit. If we are members of the Trinitarian family of God, we will always be led by His spirit and radiate His spirit of love in our lives.
 
Our true inheritance
The ‘Taking of Christ’ by Caravaggio continues to haunt me. It communicates pain, distress, disappointment, agony, patience but, above all, love. It evokes a response of gratitude, empathy, solidarity, communion and love in return for such great love. Its power is stupendous. Its value is immeasurable. However, in a culture that insists on evaluating everything from sporting prowess to feminine beauty in terms of the money it can command, this painting has acquired a £20 million tag. But price is an unreliable guide to reality and oftentimes it deflects us from appreciating the true value of what life has to offer. In fact, the most precious things in life can neither be measured, earned, owned, proven or priced. They are pure gift and the greatest gift of all is the faith in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Trinity is our human way of talking about the wonder that is God, revealed to us in Jesus and living in us through the Spirit. Living in that Spirit, we bask in the love God pours into our hearts, which enables us to love one another in the image of the Holy Trinity, in whose name we are baptized. Such is our heritage. Trinity Sunday is a good day to reclaim our inheritance.
Tom Clancy in ‘Living the Word’
 
An ‘interpersonal’ God
For people who are active members of a local Christian congregation, perhaps the following metaphor will be at once shocking and comforting. Our God is a committee! To picture the Three Persons discussing the feasibility of creation, the time and place of the redemptive intervention, the best way to keep in touch with the human community through all history, would seem to be accurate anthropomorphic theology and not simply poetic imagining. Christianity demands that we support one another, depend on one another, love one another. Our strangely fascinating teaching of a triune God implies that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit relate to one another in a similar way. There is nothing Christian about the absolutely rugged individualist who needs no one else, who is concerned about no one else. Perhaps there is nothing God-like about a Creator who does not need, and give support to, a Redeemer and Sanctifier.
Eugene Laeur in ‘Sunday Morning Insights’
 
Witness of community life
At an International Conference on Evangelisation, people from different countries were presenting their preferred methods in their missionary work. Some spoke of food, others spoke of housing, while others spoke of health and medicine. Between them, there was a wonderful spirit of generosity and of missionary zeal. One of the surprise packages presented came from a group of Christians in the Far East. Of course, they saw the need for food, for health, for housing, and they tried what they could to provide that. The most important thing for them, however, was, once they had selected as area in which they wished to implant the Christian message, the first thing they did was to send a Christian family to live there. Their first line of evangelization was always the witness value of Christian living. It had always been the Catholic tradition that its strongest message was the witness of its members in their daily living. This, of course, could be disputed, but there is no doubt about it, Christianity is more about attracting than promoting.
Jack McArdle in ‘And that’s the Gospel truth!’
 
Understanding each other
John and Josephine have just celebrated their fortieth wedding anniversary. Since their four children have left home and married, they have spent seventeen years on their own, a time they describe as “a new growing towards each other.” When they were asked why they still enjoyed each other’s company. Josephine replied: “We’ve always had a healthy respect for each other’s differences. And we’re still growing to know each other better. I just wish that we could have communicated with each other years ago the way we do now. But perhaps our easiness with each other now could only come about because of all the struggles we went through.”  Unless we settle for stereotypes, understanding other people is a lifetime’s task. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that when it comes to understanding God we can become paralyzed by the sheer magnitude of the mystery. The more we discover about God, the greater becomes the mystery of his presence and love. The considerable knowledge of the Church can never dispel the mystery of ages. Mystery means that we can never say the final word about God; there is always more to discover, there is always more to share, there is always more to experience. And each year, Trinity Sunday calls us to reflect on the life of God.
Denis McBride in ‘Seasons of the Word’
 
Heirs of a Family-God
During catechism class, a priest asked 6-year old Sheila: “Can you say something abut the Trinity?” Sheila mumbled something softly and softly. “Sheila, I don’t understand what you’re saying!” complained the priest. “You shouldn’t,” replied Sheila, “Teacher said that the Trinity is a mystery!” Not only kids but also pastors and theologians have difficulty in explaining the Trinity. Theologian Karl Rahner laments that most Catholics are “Mere monotheists,” and, after their 1989 deliberations on Trinity, the British Council of Churches entitled their document “The Forgotten Trinity.” Thus, Trinity Sunday bids us remember the Trinity not merely as ‘mystery’ but as precious part of our everyday life. Trinity Sunday reminds us that there is no ‘self-made man’; or, ‘self-saved woman’, for that matter! It is the family God who creates us, saves us, sanctifies us. May Trinity Sunday see parents and pastors reminding their children and congregations of the urgent need to re-member the Forgotten Trinity, that down-to-earth Family-God who abides in, and animates, our daily family life. And may all families continue worshipping and working with our family-God.
Francis Gonsalves in ‘Sunday Seeds for Daily Deeds’
 
One God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity
St. Augustine, the bishop of Hippo, spent nearly 30 years of his matured life in writing 15 books on the subject of Trinity. His friends waited for the publication for many years, but Augustine was hesitating. One day they surreptitiously took away the manuscripts – without final corrections, and published them without Augustine’s knowledge and permission. Augustine immediately made corrections in the manuscripts he had, and began to publish them.  Although he spent several years meditating on the Trinity, he was aware of his shortcomings in treating a topic so sublime. He said, “I pray to our Lord God himself, of whom we aught always to think, and yet of whom we are not able to think worthily, and whom no speech is sufficient to declare, that he will grant me both help for understanding and explaining that which I design, and pardon if in anything I offend.”
John Rose in ‘John’s Sunday Homilies’
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 Illustrations:
 

1.     School's out. Summer's here.  

My kids have been waiting for this for weeks. All summer and nothing but swimming, riding their bikes, endlessly playing video games, and vacations. While our kids live in that world this summer we adults will be living in another. There is the economy and the struggle to keep Wall Street and Main Street happy and accountable at the same time. There are conflicts within our nation, not to mention the conflicts between nations. If there is one thing I have learned in life it's that everybody has their own version of the truth.

And we have to try and find the truth among all the truths that present themselves to us. It is very hard these days to know who to believe. Everyone is trying to lead us to their version of truth. In 1997, Nathan Zohner, a 14-year-old student at Eagle Rock Junior High School in Idaho Falls won first prize at the Greater Idaho Falls Science Fair by showing how conditioned we have become to alarmists spreading fear of everything in our environment through junk science. In his project he urged people to sign a petition demanding strict control or total elimination of the chemical "Dihydrogen monoxide" because:
1. It can cause excessive sweating and vomiting.
2. It is a major component in acid rain.
3. It can cause severe burns in its gaseous state.
4. Accidental inhalation can kill you.
5. It contributes to the erosion of our natural landscape..
6. It decreases the effectiveness of automobile brakes.
7. It is found in tumors of terminal cancer patients.
He asked 50 people if they support a ban.
43 said yes
Six were undecided
And only one knew that the chemical is ... water.

Truth. Pontius Pilate asked his wife: What is Truth? It's a question that plagues everyone who tries to do the right thing... 
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2.     "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!"

That was the thunderous directive declared by the "Wizard of Oz" to Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion. Dorothy's tiny terrier Toto had pulled back the curtain that kept the true identity of "The Wizard" a secret. Instead of being "Oz, the Great and Powerful," the "wizard" was revealed by the pup to be an ordinary man, a con artist, practicing the art of smoke and mirrors to impress the people with his faked naked powers.

Oz may have been a charlatan, but human beings have always been leery of coming face to face with a greater, non-human power. After they noshed on the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve hid from God in Eden's shrubbery. Moses only saw a burning bush and got a glimpse of God's back on Sinai.

The Israelites constructed an impenetrable portable "safety deposit box" for God's presence they called the "Ark of the Covenant." Violating the no-peeking rule for the Ark resulted in death. Even touching the ark resulted in death. 

When the Temple in Jerusalem was finally constructed, there was a hierarchy of sacred space. There were outer courtyards available to Gentiles and women. There were inner circles available to devout Jewish males. There were sanctuaries and sacrificial altars available only to those in the Levitical priesthood.

 Then there was the "Holy of Holies" where the Ark of the Covenant was placed. The "Holy of Holies" was the innermost sacred space, partitioned off from all human access by corridors, rooms, and finally by a blue, purple and scarlet-colored curtain of privacy.

Once a year the High Priest of the Temple parted the curtains and entered into this "Holy of Holies," this most sacred space where the very presence of God was believed to dwell. No one else could enter into that space. No one else could participate in that presence. No one else could feel the fullness of that power. No one else was deemed worthy. No one. God's audience was very small. The barrier between God's presence and peace and the human condition was insurmountable.

Until Jesus...
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3.     The Trinity Is a Mystery 
The Trinity is a mystery. God manifests himself in three forms--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--the Creator, the crucified one and the comforter who lives in our hearts. What does it all mean? It's a mystery. The best we can do is use metaphors to try to explain it. 

I like a metaphor that Dr. John Pavelko uses. He compares the Trinity to our current obsession with multi-tasking. He points to some of the multi-tasking products we use, like the 3-in-1 Laser Pointer, Stylus, and Ball point pen he saw advertised. This 3-in-1 pen allows you to work faster and easier, according to the ads. You can enter your data into your PDA with the stylus, then rotate the top and sign a contact with the Ball point pen. When your work is all done you can use the laser to torment your dog.

Then there's the 3-in-1 Cooler, Fan and Ionic Air Purifier by Whirl Wind-Air. It will cool your air through a water sprinkling system, while at the same time freshening the air by releasing negative ions. It also uses a washable strainer to purify the air of all those microscopic particles that plague your allergies. 

Finally, to put all your work into a hard copy, there is the Dell Photo All-In-ONE Printer. It will make copies of your photos, print, fax, scan and photocopy your documents with up to a 50-page auto feeder. 

Dr. Pavelko asks, "With all of these multi-tasking devices, why do we have such difficulty accepting the notion that one God can exist as three persons?" 

Good question. Why as human beings, whose finest minds still can't cure the common cold, do we think we will ever have the ability to understand the workings of God, who is so far greater than we are that we could never fathom His nature?

John H. Pavelko, quoted by King Duncan
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 4.     Our Harbor Master

When a large ship enters a harbor, it takes on board what is called a harbor master. This is a man who knows that harbor; he knows the length of it, he knows the depth of it. He knows where the hazards are. He knows where the tides and currents are; what direction they flow in and how strong they are. When that harbor master comes on board, he takes control of that ship, and he gives order to the captain who steers the ship. He is an outside expert who is brought in to make sure that ship docks safely. 

As we sail through the sea of life, we have been given a harbor master. He is the Holy Spirit. He knows the currents, the tides, the hazards, and the flow. If you will let Him guide the ship of your life, He will guide you safely through the hazards of earth, right into the harbor of heaven. Because He is the only guide you need. 

James Merritt, Collected
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5.     Eternity and Trinity 

Clarence Macartney tells of a certain Canadian river which flows through a forbidding chasm. Looming on either side of the river are rugged, uninviting crags which bear the names "Eternity" and "Trinity." Macartney suggests that the opposing crags invite an analogy (you understand of course, that to a preacher, most everything invites analogy). "Inseparable from any true conception of God," he says, "are always the two doctrines of God's eternity and God's trinity ... The threefold experience of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit." The great preacher then goes on to conclude that both doctrines lie helplessly beyond human comprehension.

Larry Powell, Blow the Silver Trumpets, CSS Publishing Company ____________________________

6.     Who God Is  

When I was a student, we had an assignment: "Prove or disprove the existence of God" in ten pages. One clever answer used less than a page, and got top marks for the effort. The student wrote to the effect that the assignment was not possible using the rules of logical proof. For in using the available conventional starting point, we would only be able to use the things that can be observed and verified by human senses within the known created world. All one could do, the argument supposed, in that instance is prove that something in the created world was God. In other words, you could prove that something was God that could not possibly be God. The second part of the argument suggested that in order for such a "proof" to be valid, a student would have to be objective, from the start, about that answer. A student would need not to care if there was or was not a "God". Since everyone has a stake in the answer, one way or another, it was reasoned that such a proof was impossible to attempt.

The point of the exercise was to get the students to think about who or what God is. The reality of the exercise, at least for the student in question, is that we cannot approach the answer through logical thought, through reason alone. Now this is not to say that reason and logic do not have their place in the realm of faith. It is just to say that they alone cannot do the job. The IS ness of God is just too different from our experience to be able to fathom. So the language of the Trinity in the Christian witness may serve mostly to humble us. It serves to remind us that God is indeed beyond our complete comprehension. All the language that we have about God must be metaphor. Most of the language in the bible is just that, with one notable exception: "God is love."

Luke Bouman, Difficult Things
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7.     Oh, Now I Understand

 C. S. Lewis once said that the most frequently spoken word in heaven would be, "OH." As in, "Oh, now I understand." Or, "Oh, now I see what God's plan was." Or, "Oh, now I see the reason for the trial I went through."
We do not have that luxury in this world. We walk by faith, not by knowledge. But one day it will be revealed to us. We will be in the presence of the Father and the Son and the Spirit. How can we be in the presence of all three at the same time? It beats me, but as St. Paul says in another place, "I know whom I have believed and I am persuaded that He is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me." (II Timothy 1: 12)

 King Duncan, Collected Sermons
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 8.     Kierkegaard's Story of the Prince

 We affirm a belief in the Son, Jesus Christ. We say that God took on human form, came and lived among us, suffered the same trials that we suffered, experienced the same Feelings that we experienced. Jesus was purely human and purely divine. Jesus was not God. Jesus was God incarnate. There is a difference. Jesus never drew attention to himself but always pointed to God.

Soren Kierkegaard, the great Danish theologian of another century tells a story of a prince who wanted to find a maiden suitable to be his queen. One day while running an errand in the local village for his father he passed through a poor section. As he glanced out the windows of the carriage his eyes fell upon a beautiful peasant maiden. During the ensuing days he often passed by the young lady and soon fell in love. But he had a problem. How would he seek her hand?

He could order her to marry him. But even a prince wants his bride to marry him freely and voluntarily and not through coercion. He could put on his most splendid uniform and drive up to her front door in a carriage drawn by six horses. But if he did this he would never be certain that the maiden loved him or was simply overwhelmed with all of the splendor. As you might have guessed, the prince came up with another solution. He would give up his kingly robe. He moved, into the village, entering not with a crown but in the garb of a peasant. He lived among the people, shared their interests and concerns, and talked their language. In time the maiden grew to love him for who he was and because he had first loved her. 

This very simple, almost child like story, written by one of the most brilliant minds of our time explains what we Christians mean by the incarnation. God came and lived among us. I am glad that this happened for two reasons. One, it shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is with us, that he is on our side, and that he loves us. Secondly, it gives us a first hand view of what the mind of God is really all about. When people ask what God is like, we as Christians point to the person of Jesus Christ. God himself is incomprehensible. But in Jesus Christ we get a glimpse of his glory. In the person of Jesus we are told that God, that mysterious other that created the stars and the universe, is willing to go all of the way, to be one of us, talk our language, eat our food, share our suffering die on a cross. Why? So that a single person, you, me, might be redeemed.

And, grow to love Him.

Brett Blair
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9.     A Dependable Guide 

Pastor Michael Walther tells of listening to a radio program (Focus on the Family) about a famous test pilot. This pilot was flying a fighter jet in bad weather and about to make his instrument approach to an airport. The air traffic controller called and asked how much fuel he had. "Plenty," he said. "Well," the controller said, "we've got a little problem. There's a young pilot who is not instrument rated. He's lost in the clouds, and we were wondering if you could intercept him and lead him back to the airport." "Sure," the pilot responded. He found the lost plane and pulled up beside it. He called on the radio and told the pilot to look out to his left. There the pilot of this small plane saw the powerful fighter jet, and the man burst into tears. As far as he was concerned at that point his life was about over. He would soon run out of fuel and crash. "Don't worry," the test pilot said...
 
10. A group of three young mothers who lived on the same street agreed to pool their time and resources so that they could help each other take care of their kids and at the same time provide one another with a little free time. It worked fine, the kids liked it, the fathers liked it (anything to escape from the demands of child-rearing), and, most important, the women like it. They discovered in practice  what they had heard so often in theory: it’s easier to do things as members of a community than as isolated individuals. They bragged to their friends in other streets about how well their little community worked and how everyone should try to imitate them. But then one of the women began *to tally up the hours she gave the community effort and concluded that she was giving more time than the other two. They added up their own times and concluded just the opposite. Indeed they accused the first woman of making up numbers so she could escape her fair share.

 Since they had all studied economics in college, they began to shout “free rider” at one another. Soon they were not speaking to one another. Their community collapsed under the pressures of success, resentment, and envy – in that order. See, we told you so, said the neighbors on other streets. Later none of the three could figure out what went wrong. (Andrew Greeley)

Prayer to the Blessed Trinity

The following prayer is read slowly by the leader, or by all the people if they have the text. The celebrant concludes with the Prayer after Communion.

Lord God, our Father
you are my God.
Let your wisdom direct me,
your grace keep me,
your love rejoice me,
your truth protect me,
your power guard me.

Jesus Christ, God's Son,
my brother and my Savior.
That you became man
is my joy.
I want to go your way;
your suffering be my victory,
your disgrace my honor,
your death my life,
your resurrection my comfort.

Holy Spirit, God,
you are my comfort,
convert me,
for I am sinful person.
Bring me back to life,
for I am dead.
Awaken me,
for I am sleeping.
Make me ready
for eternal life.
Give light to my mind,
sanctify my will,
give strength to my weak powers.
Be with me,
live in me,
stay with me,
Trinity worthy of all praise.

(Caspar Neumann, about 1700)