Scripture Readings for Mass
(Liturgical Calendar for Ireland 2018)

27 May. The Most Holy Trinity (Solemnity)

Saint Augustine of Canterbury is not celebrated this year

1st Reading: Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40

The great God of heaven and earth guides us by his word

For ask now about former ages, long before your own, ever since the day that God created human beings on the earth; ask from one end of heaven to the other: has anything so great as this ever happened or has its like ever been heard of? Has any people ever heard the voice of a god speaking out of a fire, as you have heard, and lived? Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by terrifying displays of power, as the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?

So acknowledge today and take to heart that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. Keep his statutes and his commandments, which I am commanding you today for your own well-being and that of your descendants after you, so that you may long remain in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for all time.

2nd Reading: Epistle to the Romans 8:14-17

By the Holy Spirit we become children of the Father, and co-heirs with Christ his Son.

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, "Abba! Father!" it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ-if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

Gospel: Matthew 28:16-20

Jesus tells his followers to baptise in the name of the three divine persons.

The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority 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, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."


The Fullness of Love

They say that “Two is company, three is a crowd” but today's feast would have it otherwise. There, the figure three symbolises completeness and perfect symmetry, and re-appears at all the key moments of the Christ story, for the life of Jesus constantly reflected the Trinity of God. The Holy Trinity, the mystery we celebrate today, is beyond the reach of time and the grasp of human reasoning.

Three figures make up the nativity scene in Bethlehem–the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Their first visitors were the three wise men. Later, in the desert preparing to begin his public life, Jesus was tempted three times by the devil. A good story should have a beginning, a middle and an end. Christ was a storyteller par excellence and three figures prominently in his parables. The Prodigal Son is about a father and his two sons; the Good Samaritan tells of the behaviour of three passers-by, the priest, the Levite and the Samaritan; the sower sowed his seed in three different types of terrain, yielding three different levels of harvest. The end of his life, as the beginning, has again the three motif. During his Passion, Peter denied him thrice. On the road to Calvary, he fell three times. The crucifixion scene has three figures, Christ between two thieves. Before his resurrection, he spent three days in the tomb.

God is love. There are Three Persons in the Trinity, the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit. Together they represent the fullness of love. The Father loves the Son, the Son loves the Father. The Holy Spirit is their love for each other. We are made in the image of a triune God. God the Father, who created us, his Son who saved us, and the Holy Spirit who continues to guide us. Our lives should reflect the Trinity. We should be always creative like the Father, compassionate like his Son, and dispose our talents in the service of others like the Holy Spirit.

The inner being of God

Many Christians may not realise that adoring our God as Trinity means that God's most profound reality is welcome and kindness. Ours is a God whose very essence is love. Perhaps the most vital conversion for most believers is to move from mainly considering God as All-powerful, to a God joyfully adored as Love.

Remember: an all-powerful being could be a despot, a destructive tyrant, an arbitrary dictator, a threat for our small and weak liberty. Could we really trust in a God whom we perceive mainly as almighty? How can I abandon myself to someone infinitely powerful? It would seem easier to mistrust, be cautious, be defensive of our independence. But our Gospel presents God as Trinity, an inter-relating mystery of Love. God's power is that of one whose love is unfathomable and whose kindness is infinite. It is the love of God that is all-powerful. Only God can love infinitely. And each time we ignore this and forget that God is love, we fabricate a false God. Until we discover that God is only love, we relate superficially to God out of interest or fear. Our self-interest moves us to influence God's omnipotence for our own gain, or our fear makes us seek every means to defend ourselves from God's threatening power. But such a self-interested and fearful religion is closer to magic than to true Christian faith.

Only when we start with knowing that God is Love, and discover with fascination that God can't be anything but Love that is present and beating in the deepest part of our lives, only then does trust in a Triune God begin to grow in our heart. This God of intimate, loving relationship whom Jesus reveals, and whom today we celebrate, can do nothing but love us. (José Antonio Pagola)

Not such a remote God

In bygone times practically everyone agreed on the existence of God. Back then, religious divisions came from conflicting beliefs about God, rather than being a conflict between theism and atheism. This is not the case nowadays. Not only do many profess to be atheist, but the many aspects of modern life tend to promote a kind of atheism in all of us. In our large cities, surrounded by works of human ingenuity, people are less aware of the the God who created nature's beauty. Even the rural-based population feel in some degree God's apparent remoteness from our situation, God's silence, remaining hidden and beyond our ken.

Today we celebrate the Most Holy Trinity, the mystery of God's inner life.  Scripture tells us not only that our God is personal, but that God exists as three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Although we cannot even begin to give a logical explanation for this, our faith enables us in some small measure to feel the relationship that exists within God's nature.

Our hope of salvation is a pure gift that always comes from the Father, enfleshed in his divine Son, and enkindled in each of us through the Holy Spirit. St Paul links the three Persons when he writes that “in one Spirit we have access through Christ to the Father”. And God's reaching down to us must be answered by an up-reaching of our soul towards God. To grow in spirit we must break free from any sinful chains which hold us captive. Then as Paul says, like mirrors we will reflect the brightness of the Lord, until finally we are changed into that image which we reflect. For this great hope and promise, glory be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, forever, Amen.