Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
12 June 2019

After Pentecost Sunday, the Church celebrates the solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, a doctrine that is not easily grasped, but familiar to the faithful as we often articulate our belief in one God in three persons. For example, before we pray, we often make the sign of the cross and say: In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  When we go to Mass, we recite the Apostles’ Creed beginning with, “I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit.” Towards the end, we reiterate, “I believe in the Holy Spirit . . .” as one of our key beliefs.

In the Hebrew Scriptures, the term for the Spirit is ruah (translated as breath). Breath cannot be seen; it is intangible; it cannot be grasped by the hand; it seems to be nothing, and yet it is vitally important.  Like life, it comes from God and God can take it away (Ps 104:29-30).

The Hebrew ruah, as the Latin spiritus, also designates the blowing of the wind. In the Book of Exodus, we can read about the saving power of God’s wind (Ex 15:8-10). On the other hand, Prophet Joel, after lamenting the country’s ruin and calling for repentance and prayer and return to the Lord, promises the outpouring of the Lord’s spirit (Joel 2:28-29). In these examples, the spirit imparts movement, dynamism and the power of God – especially his saving power.

In today’s Gospel, John speaks of a different role of the spirit: to give understanding. In the words of Jesus, “The spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth” (Jn 16:13).  Jesus was saying goodbye to his disciples, explaining that the Spirit of Truth would replace him as the guide in the between time – from the death and physical departure of Jesus till his return. The Holy Spirit revealed by Jesus is therefore a being with his own activity and mission. Among other things, “He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (Jn 14:26). “He will bear witness to me” (Jn 15:26). “Whatever he hears he will speak” (Jn 16:13). He “will glorify” Christ (cf. Jn 16:14), and “he will convince the world of sin” (Jn 16:8).

From the short Gospel reading, we also know about the relationship of the Holy Spirit with the Father and Jesus: the Father shares with the Son whatever belongs to him, and the Son acknowledges that whatever belongs to him belongs to the Father. He is willing to share with us all that he has. The Holy Spirit does not speak for himself but for the Son and the Father. He comes to guide us to the truth. Each has a distinct role. The Father is distinct from the Son, and the Son is distinct from the Holy Spirit. But even if they are distinct, they are one. I believe the same holds true with us. For example, I am a daughter, a sister, a journalist, a Christian and a Filipino, among many roles I play.   I have different roles, but I am one person.  In relation to one another, we are different, distinct from one another. But even if we are distinct and different, still we can be one, we can unite. We can help one another find the Holy Spirit in our lives. Like the breath of life, like the wind, the Holy Spirit is something we have to live and experience.

For Reflection and Discussion: [1] While trying to be the best of the many aspects of your life, do you have a mentor guiding you?  [2] Are you also a spiritual mentor to others?

Bibliography: The catechesis on the Holy Spirit of John Paul 11 in:

This week’s teaching commentary was prepared by
Minerva Generalao,
Bat Kol Alumna July 2014
[Copyright ©2019]

PLEASE NOTE: The weekly Parashah commentaries represent the research and creative thought of their authors, and are meant to stimulate deeper thinking about the meaning of the Scriptures. While they draw upon the study methods and sources employed by the ISPS-Ratisbonne, the views and conclusions expressed in these commentaries are solely those of their authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of ISPS-Ratisbonne. The commentaries, along with all materials published on the ISPS-Ratisbonne website, are copyrighted by the writers, and are made available for personal and group study, and local church purposes. Permission needed for other purposes.  Questions, comments and feedback are always welcome.

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