1. The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they all saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Mt28:16-20). Taken from this Sunday’s gospel for the solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.
2. The finale of Matthew is presented for our reflection on this Trinity Sunday partly because it contains the Trinitarian formula of the “Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” The Holy Trinity is not an ab initio revelation at the beginning of Yahwism. God firstly revealed himself to Abraham and Moses as well as to the entire children of Israel as a unique God: “I am the Lord, there is no other.” It took the coming of the prophets for God to manifest himself as Holy Spirit. It was also with the prophets that the revelation about the suffering servant of God, the Messiah was known. However, the knowledge about the Holy Spirit and the Messiah did not become understood as their being distinct persons, equal in dignity with God.
3. The coming of Christ, his life and ministry brought to the fore the idea of one God with multiple persons. On the day of his baptism, the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in form of a dove while the voice of the Father declared: “This is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased.” This incident did not stop the Jews from accusing Jesus of blasphemy. It was for this that they killed him “for being a man he calls himself son of God, thereby making himself God’s equal.” After his rising from the dead, just before he ascended to heaven, Jesus still emphasized the Trinity of persons in one God as we heard in today’s gospel.
4. Convincing the early Christians that God is three in one was not an easy task for the disciples who were themselves coming from a tradition that has always known a single person in a single God. St Paul made it a habit to start all his letters with a greeting in the name of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. After the apostles the struggle continued until the year 325 AD when at the Council of Nicea the faithful decided to codify the faith with a creed which should be a summary of the christian faith. The creed is known as Nicean creed and its shorter form is known as the apostles’ creed.We recite them at mass and at the beginning of rosary respectively. In both creeds, the believe in one God with three persons were formally validated by all. It was thus from that time that the doctrine become accepted. But do we understand what it means to have three persons in one God? In truth nobody has been able to clearly explain this. Most people who tried it ended up in heresy. It is easy to accept but difficult to explain. All that is important is to know that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The three persons live in love and collaboration, each discharging his duty without competition. God the Father is the creator, God the Son is the redeemer and God the Holy Spirit is the sanctifier.
5. What does today’s gospel tell us about this mystery? First of all Jesus affirmed that all power in heaven and earth and under the earth has been given to him. Who can make such claim but God. It was based on this authority that he gave the missionary mandate to his apostles, commissioning them to make disciples of not just the Jews but all nations. If Jesus has all authority, his followers should live with confidence, knowing that no evil can befall them if it has not been authorized by God. The early disciples lived with this certitude and were able to endure hardship and persecution because of Jesus. Secondly, Jesus commanded them to baptize in the name of the Trinity while teaching them the faith. Baptized in this name, the believer becomes divinized, a sort of a dwelling place for the Trinity. This too should empower the baptized to live with confidence because of his/her identity. Finally, Jesus made a great promise to his followers assuring them that he will be with them always till the end of time. This too should inspire the believer to live with confidence.
6. You grew up to know about the Trinity without trying to understand it. In doing the sign of the cross, in beginning and ending your prayers, at the beginning and ending of Eucharistic celebration etc you habitually affirm your belief in the Trinity. Today, the celebration of the Trinity invites you to live in unity with those around you, to work in collaboration and not in competition with others, to be satisfied with your position without envying others. God is not solitary but social. He invites you to be open to others and not live in self-sufficiency. Even though we are different persons we all have the same Trinity living in us. The God in you is the same God in me. We are therefore one like God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. @ Vita, 30/05/31.
Peace and security upon you.