Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity – 7 June 2020
Lectionary Readings: Exodus 34:4b-6, 8-9; Daniel 3:52-56; 2 Cor 13:11-13; John 3:16-18
Theme: The Triune God is Love
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity is truly a day for rejoicing in the Church’s liturgical year because it celebrates what lies at the heart of the Christian faith. This is the conviction, born of experience: that God is utterly and completely love. Instituted as a feast of the universal church by Pope John XXII in 1334 and further elevated in rank by Pius X in 1911, Trinity Sunday celebrates the mystery that “God as triune communion extends outwards into history to include and draw in all of creation” (Marmion/Van Nieuwenhove, 2). With dogmatic origins dating from around the fourth century, contemporary approaches to this doctrine no longer emphasize the Triune God in terms of an “absolute subject, but rather as a network of relationships inclusive of humanity” (ibid., 14).
The readings for this Sunday share this unifying theme of God’s bountiful and intimate love. In his discourse with Nicodemus, Jesus reveals that the love of the Father and the Son is not restricted to the divine persons but flows outward to embrace the world in the mystery of the economy of salvation (John 3:16). The mission of the Son is one of saving grace that allows Christians through the Sacraments and right living to participate uniquely in the life-giving dynamism of the divine relations. As he brings his second letter to the Corinthians to a close, Paul bestows a “triadic benediction” that invokes the “grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit” upon the community (2 Cor 13:13). This is a blessing that is meant to sustain them in the life of peace and unity to which they are called as witnesses and disciples of Jesus Christ. It is the particular mission of the Holy Spirit to be a bond of unity within the church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms, “The Holy Spirit, whom Christ the head pours out on his members, builds, animates, and sanctifies the Church. She is the sacrament of the Holy Spirit’s communion with men (sic)” (CCC, §747).
In the very moving dialogue of the first reading, Moses experiences the omnipotent LORD as One who “descends” and “stands” with him to proclaim both the “name” and the divine attributes (Exodus 34:5-6). It is a privileged moment of encounter in which God is revealed to be mercifully, graciously, patiently, lovingly and faithfully oriented toward friendship with Moses and ancient Israel.
The doctrine of the Trinity remains a uniquely Christian way of understanding who God is and how God is present to the world. Nevertheless, the fact that we stand “in continuity with” the tradition of the Hebrew Scriptures, summons us to embrace our Trinitarian faith not as a remote abstraction but with the intimacy that characterized the divine-human relationship from the beginning. The challenge of Trinity Sunday is to embrace the fullness of the implications of this doctrine in all aspects of our life.
For Reflection and Discussion: How can a “full, conscious and active” awareness of the doctrine of the Trinity animate your daily life, including your relationship with God, yourself, family, work, faith community, and the environment, as well as your approach to problems both personal and global such as the current Covid-19 pandemic?
Bibliography: Marmion, D. and Van Nieuwenhove, R. An Introduction to the Trinity (Cambridge: 2011). Catechism of the Catholic Church (New York: 1997).