Theme: Unity of God is our model
What is the meaning of the Trinity? This word originates from the Latin word ‘trini’ meaning ‘threefold’. The term was first used by Tertullian to denote the central doctrine of the Christian religion that in Jesus dwells the Father and the Holy Spirit not withstanding the order of terms. In each Person dwells the other two Persons of One God. This truth is supported by St. Paul when he teaches that “in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell bodily” Colossians 1:19;2:9. Each of these Persons is truly the same God and has all His infinite perfections; yet He is fully distinct of the other Persons. The one and only God is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, all eternally begotten. Holy Trinity Sunday celebrates God who utterly transcendent has chosen to be God who is completely with and for us. All the same we must keep in mind that this definition is constituted for us but is not created by us because He is a mystery of faith.
First reading: Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40
This reading invites us to marvel at the many experiences of encounter that have shaped our saving history. With a series of questions that chronicle the deeds of the eternal God, we are reminded that the only plausible response to his loving care is our loyal faith lived in obedience to his word. The book of Deuteronomy was composed during a time of crisis in Israel’s history with intension to set the tone and strike the path toward a better future after a tremendous crisis that had led Hebrews into a seventy year exile. Deuteronomy was fortunately discovered hidden within the wall of the temple. Seemingly, one smart priest had hidden it as the rest matched into exile to Babylon. During the reign of Josiah the high priest Hilkiah who found it stacked between the huge temple walls. This committed King then used it as the basis for religious reform with an intention to restore Israel to its covenantal loyalties and traditions when the nation stood on the brink of extinction once again. Deuteronomy called on Israel to choose life or death.
Deuteronomy reveals that the very action of the self-disclosing God has constituted Israel and forever sustains it. This self-disclosing of God is something mysterious, like fire. This is unusual in that while history of religions records humankind’s search for God, Deuteronomy relates the story of God’s search for humankind. This starting point of the divine self-revelation is not a concept or religious idea but a social experience. God calls humanity into existence in order to enter into a dialog that can lead to that intimate knowledge which forges a lasting relationship. To summarize our reflection, we who form the believing community are called to be firm in faith, single-hearted in our love for him by hearing and keeping his commandments.
Second reading: Romans 8:14-17
In this letter to the Romans Paul exposes the fact that the Trinity of Persons, who are sufficient unto themselves, have chosen to offer humankind a sharing in their relationship. Through Jesus’ saving death, by virtue of the Father’s love and in the power of the Spirit, we have become the adopted children of God which is amazing. What is theologically and doctrinally a Trinity of three is also spiritually and experientially a community of many that includes us as chosen and loved children. This realization that one is cherished from the beginning enables us to overcome the inevitable moments of confusion, doubt and the pain of feeling unwanted.
When Paul describes the believer’s relationship to God in terms of adoption, he wishes to instill in us a similar sense of dignity and self-respect. To give the point more strength, Paul described the Roman Christians’ former status with such expression; before your conversion to Christ, you lived a life indebted to the flesh and bound for death. After turning to Christ you were empowered with the Spirit who shook off you debt of sin and evil deeds that was breading you to death. Now you can live as sons and daughters of God. Indeed through Jesus, God the Father has made us his adopted children. The word for adoption ‘huiothesia’ in Greek was a very serious matter. Adoption was difficult in the Roman world because of the patria potestas/absolute power of the father over his family. Roman sons, no matter their age, never outgrew the patria potestas because they had to relinquish all former rights and gain legitimacy in the new family. The adopted person became a legal heir to the new father’s estate. Paul explained to his Roman newly baptized faithful that as God’s adoptive children, they were now legal heirs of their heavenly Father’s estate.
All their former debts had been cancelled; their sins forgiven and forgotten never to exist again. With the same magnitude, Paul reminds new Christians that the very Spirit of God bears witness to the fact that we are God’s children. Today the Spirit witnesses that Jesus has been placed into legitimacy by God and given the absolute right to call upon him as eternal Abba, papa and daddy!
Gospel: Matthew 28:16-20
In today’s gospel, Jesus commissions his disciples to reach out and share their experience with all willing to listen about God made man who lived physically in the person of Jesus. Even all the challenges that surrounded his death and resurrection; they were encouraged by the promise that I am with you always, until the end of time. Within these five verses, Matthew makes three important statements that reveal the depth of the mystery that was almost passing unrecognized. The first one is the Christological statement that attributes to Jesus full authority both in heaven and on earth. In it he confirms how the risen and exalted Lord has realized the ancient vision regarding the Son of Man prophesy that “one like a son of man coming on the clouds of heaven has received dominion, glory and kingship; nations and peoples of every language serve him. His dominion is everlasting and shall not be taken away; his kingship shall not be destroyed” Daniel 7:13-14.
The next one is the Ecclesiological statement which stipulates that as Jesus’ authority is over all, so must the Church’s mission be extended to all. Before Jesus’ death and resurrection, the ministry of the disciples was focused upon the Jews, but now it extends to all nations. In this way the universal vision prophesied by Isaiah 60:1-22 becomes a reality.
The final one is Soteriological statement which extends the saving grace of Jesus to all peoples by means of the preached gospel. To accept Jesus, people have to be instructed properly to know and live the gospel values. Only those who believe and repent shall be baptized. It is through this process of evangelization that humanity gets a new and good face lift. Incidentally, Jesus saves only those willing to collaborate with his revolutionary message. With Jesus’ final statement that “I am with you always” Mathew 28:20, the gospel comes full circle.
Encouraged by the word of God, we have no alternative but to make up our minds and choose to be for God who has taken it upon him self to make us his adopted children. Our life long happiness depends on this decision. On Calvary God already pronounced his ruling over us that he would be with us until the end of time; it is up to us to make the right choice of remaining with him. When we embrace this, we will never regret it. Everything about the life of Jesus Christ is a blessing for us. While he mandates us to go forth and proclaim the good news, it is our duty to bless and empower others on our way to evangelize so that we can in his name expand God’s family of believers on earth.