The Most Holy Trinity – 30th May 2021
Lectionary Readings: Deut 4:32-34, 39-40; Ps 33; Rom 8:14-17; Mt 28:16-20
Theme: The Ineffable Mystery of God.
My focus is The Most Holy Trinity from a Christian faith and tradition background and also from Jewish and Islam perspectives. I spent time in the Philippines, and also in Gladstone, Queensland, Australia, involved in interfaith dialogue. It was and still is a privilege and an honor to live and pray with people of different faith backgrounds, so rich and colorful.
The life of a Christian is marked in the name of the Trinity, Catholics especially. The first thing our parents taught us about our religion was the sign of the Cross. Every prayer of a Catholic starts and ends with the sign of the cross. At the graveside, this is also the last prayer, in the name of the Triune God. The readings for this Sunday reveal to us, the Father as the Creator God, the origin of life, sending his Son or Word, for our salvation, and Holy Spirit, the spirit of the Father and the Son.
Every Sunday, we Catholics profess the Credo, our Faith “for God is the First and the Last, the beginning and the end of everything…. for the Father is the first divine person of the Most Holy Trinity” (Flannery, pg 54). To Israel, his chosen, God revealed himself as the only One: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might” (Deut 6:4-5).
In our profession of faith, we acknowledge, “I believe in Jesus Christ, the Only Son of God”. This is the Good News for us: God has sent his Son. We believe and confess that Jesus of Nazareth, born a Jew of a daughter of Israel at Bethlehem, is the eternal Son of God made man. He “came from God” (John 13:3). At the Annunciation, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.
“No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except through the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor 12:3). The Holy Spirit comes to us and kindles faith in us. Most Sundays there are Baptisms here in our Parish. How life-giving it is to know and understand that baptism gives us the grace of new birth in God the Father, through his Son, in the Holy Spirit.
We know that in Islam, Jesus, son of Mary, is the prophet and messenger of God (Allah). We can ask: ‘what is the significance of Jesus in Islam?’ Jesus is “mentioned in the Quran in 93 verses with various titles attached such as “Son of Mary” and other relational terms, mentioned, directly and indirectly, over 187 times.
One view is from Rabbi Stanley Greenberg: “Under no circumstances can a concept of a plurality of the Godhead or a trinity of the Godhead ever be based upon the Hebrew Bible.” On the other hand, we hear of the Ruach Ha Kodesh, the Spirit of God. Is this the Holy Spirit? There are various sections in the Hebrew Scriptures where there is clear evidence that three personalities are referred to as divine and as being God: the Lord YHVH, the Angel of YHVH, and the Spirit of God.
For Reflection and Discussion: 1. How shall I celebrate Trinity Sunday this year? 2. With which Person of the Trinity am I more intimate or close to when I pray? 3. How comfortable am I as a Catholic making the sign of Cross in an ecumenical environment? 4. How can I be sensitive to my faith practice in an interfaith prayer gathering?
Bibliography: McKenzie, J.L. Dictionary of the Bible (New York: 1965). Kersten, J.C New St. Joseph Sunday Missal (New Jersey: 2011). Flannery, A. Catechism of the Catholic Church (Dublin: 1992).
This week’s Sunday Liturgy Commentary was prepared by
Aliki A Langi, Australia, Bat Kol Alumnus: 2005, 2018