First Reading : 34: 4 – 6, 8-9
Responsorial Psalm: Daniel 3: 52 -56
2 Corinthians 13: 11 – 13
Gospel: John: 3: 16 – 18
In bygone times practically everybody agreed about the existence of God. At those days,
religious divisions came from conflicting beliefs about God, rather than any conflict between
theism and atheism. This is not the case nowadays. Not only do many openly profess their lack
of faith, but the quality of life we pursue tends to promote a kind of atheism in all of us.
Especially in our large cities, surrounded by a world of largely human inventiveness, people are
at a distance from the things of nature. As a result even the rural-based of our population are
bound to feel in some degree God’s apparent remoteness from our situation, God’s silence,
remaining hidden to the end of our earthly days.
Today we celebrate the Most Holy Trinity, the revelation of the mystery of God’s inner life.
This mystery will remain for all of us as long as we live in this world, even though the veil
which covers it is lifted ever so little. Our Bible assures us that not only is our God a personal
God, but God exists as three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, while remaining one God.
Although we cannot even begin to give a logical explanation for this, our faith enables us in
some small measure to experience the presence of God. How this can happen is stated by St
Augustine in a most beautiful passage from his “Confessions” (p. 211). “What do I love when I
love my God?” he asks. Then he continues; “Not material beauty or beauty of a temporal order;
not the brilliance of earthly light, so welcome to our eyes; not the sweet melody of harmony and
song; not the fragrance of flowers, perfumes and spices; not manna or honey; not limbs such as
the body delights to embrace. It is not these that I love when I love my God. And yet, when I
love him, it is true that I love a light of a certain kind, a voice, a perfume, a food, an embrace;
but they are of the kind that I love in my inner self.” “So tell me something of my God,” he asks.
And loud and clear they answered, “God is he who made us.”
Seeing God will change us utterly, and this salvation is a pure gift that always comes from the
Father, announced and realised in his divine Son, and made effective in each of us through the
action of the Holy Spirit. St Paul tells us that “in one Spirit we have access through Christ to the
Father” (Eph 2:18). But the God’s reaching down to us must be answered by the up-reach of our
soul to God. To succeed in this we must break free from the sinful pursuits which hold us
captive. Then as Paul says, like mirrors we will reflect the brightness of the Lord, until finally
we are changed into that image which we reflect (2 Cor 3:17f). For this great promise, glory be
to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, forever, Amen.
Much debate in the 20th century centred on the thought of three outstanding figures, Charles
Darwin, Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx, described irreverently as “the unholy trinity.” They
pushed us into the modem world, often in spite of our protests. Charles Darwin’s theory of
evolution was greeted, particularly by the established churches, with howls of derision, and had
to battle hard for recognition. Sigmund Freud opened up the universe of the unconscious and
profoundly affected conventional attitudes. The socialist theories of Karl Marx came to
dominate one half of the planet and considerably influenced the other. Of the three, only Darwin
and his theory of evolution remain intact. Recent events in the Eastern Bloc have largely
discredited Marx. The theories of Freud are more and more contested in recent times. Time has
taken its toll of “the unholy trinity.”
The Holy Trinity, whose feast we celebrate today, is beyond the reach of time and the grasp of
human reasoning. It is a mystery of our faith. We can only fumble in the dark in search of
glimmers of light. “Two is company, three is a crowd” is a popular expression. The gospel
would have it otherwise. There, the figure three symbolises completeness and perfect symmetry,
and re-appears at all the key moments of the Christ story. His life itself constantly reflected the
Trinity. Three figures make up the nativity scene in Bethlehem — the Holy Family of Jesus,
Mary and Joseph. Their first visitors were the three wise men. Later, in the desert preparing to
begin his public life, Jesus was tempted three times by the devil. A good story should have a
beginning, a middle and an end. Christ was a storyteller par excellence and three figures
prominently in his parables. The Prodigal Son is about a father and his two sons; the Good
Samaritan tells of the behaviour of three passers-by, the priest, the Levite and the Samaritan; the
sower sowed his seed in three different types of terrain, yielding three different levels of harvest.
The end of his life, as the beginning, has again the three motif. During his Passion, Peter denied
him thrice. On the road to Calvary, he fell three times. The crucifixion scene has three figures,
Christ between two thieves. Before his resurrection, he spent three days in the tomb.
God is love. There are Three Persons in the Trinity, the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Together they represent the fullness of love. The Father loves the Son, the Son loves the Father.
The Holy Spirit is their love for each other. We are made in the image of a triune God. God the
Father, who created us, his Son who saved us, and the Holy Spirit who continues to guide us.
Our lives should reflect the Trinity. We should be always creative like the Father, compassionate
like his Son, and dispose our talents in the service of others like the Holy Spirit.
We like to belong. We like to belong to a family, to a parish, to a community. No one is an
island and we need the love, support and friendship of others in our family and community. Not
only do we like to belong, we need to belong. It is not good to be alone. It is for our good to
belong. When people move into a town you would hear them say that the people made them
welcome or you might hear them say that they joined all the clubs and societies to try to get
know the people and they still felt as outsiders. No one wants to feel as an outsider. We all want
to belong. Above all we want and need to belong to our family. When we grow up in a happy
family we are well set up for life. If the family environment is less than happy it may leave a
scar but those scars can be healed. If they are not all healed before marriage can you be such a
loving husband or wife that you can help to heal those scars?
Before the time of Jesus people called God “Yahweh” because Yahweh is the name given to
God very often in the Old Testament. It goes back to when Moses saw the bush burning and
asked God his name. “I am who I am” was the name God gave himself (Ex 3:14) which became
“Yahweh.” In the first reading (Deut 4) Moses reminds the people that they belong to God.
What God did for them by leading out of the slavery of Egypt with many miracles, God did not
do for any other people. Therefore Moses asks them to always remember that the Lord is God
and to keep his commandments.
Then Jesus came and we knew that there were two persons in God. Before Jesus ascended he
promised the Holy Spirit who came at Pentecost and then we knew there were three persons in
God. God is a Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is the happiest of families. They are totally
united in love for each other. The Father loves the Son, and the Son loves the Father. We call
this love of the Father for the Son, and the love of the Son for the Father, the Holy Spirit.
Jesus taught us about his Father. He called his Father, “Abba.” (Mark 14:36) In the language of
Palestine at the time of Jesus (Aramaic), that means, “Daddy.” The Father is Jesus’ Daddy. In
the second reading today, (Rom 8:14-17) Paul also refers to the Father as Abba, Daddy.
Jesus also taught us about the Holy Spirit. He called the Holy Spirit the Counselor or Paraclete
(John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7); in other words the Holy Spirit is interceding or mediating for us.
The Holy Spirit is for us. In the second reading today, (Rom 8:14-17) Paul said the Spirit we
received is not a spirit of slavery but a Spirit assuring us that we are sons and daughters of God.
It is a Spirit that makes us call our heavenly Father, “Abba.”
Because God’s family is such a happy family, God wants to share the happiness of that family
with us. God invites us to belong and we enter God’s family when we are baptized. That is why
in the Gospel we heard Jesus commanding that all be baptized in the name of the Father, and of
the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Matt 28:19). God wishes that all belong to his family. When we
were baptized we became sons and daughters of God. That can roll off the tongue so easily,
“sons and daughters of God,” but it would be good to stop and think about it. Imagine, you are
sons and daughters of God! You were adopted as God’s son or daughter on the day you were
baptized. We belong to God. Jesus is the Son of God, and you are also a son or daughter of God.
What does that mean? It means Jesus is your brother! We belong. Imagine, since the day you
were baptized Jesus is now your brother. His father is also your father, Abba, your Daddy. Since
your baptism you belong to the family of the Trinity. As I have said to you previously, we do
not think of each other often enough as sons and daughters of God, and as brothers and sisters.
There is one exception to this, that is the Legion of Mary who call their members “brother” or
“sister” during their meetings. It is a beautiful reflection of the spiritual reality that we are in fact
all brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of the one Father, Abba. We belong.
If you are the son or daughter of a rich father you would expect your father to leave you
something in his will. You would then be called an heir and we would say you inherited from
your father. We are all sons and daughters of a rich father. He is the richest of fathers. He is a
multi-billionaire. He is Abba, our Father in heaven. There is no end to the riches he has. Because
you are his son or daughter since baptism you will inherit his riches. You are an heir to God’s
riches. The second reading today states, “And if we are children we are heirs as well: heirs of
God and coheirs with Christ…” (Rom 8:17) Jesus inherits from the Father but since you are
Jesus’ brother or sister, and you are a son or daughter of Abba, you too will inherit. That is why
Paul in the second reading today says we are co-heirs with Christ. What will we inherit? We will
inherit riches so unimaginable that will make all the riches of this world put together seem like
nothing. The riches of heaven will show that all the materialism of our culture is foolishness. We
think this is important (holding up money) but instead this is what is really important (holding
up baptism cert), our baptism cert. The baptism cert is a copy what the Pastor wrote in the
Register of Baptisms on the day you were baptized. This (money) is worth only $20, but this
(baptism cert) is priceless. It shows you belong to the family of the Trinity.