Reflection - Trinity Sunday 2021
Catholics begin their Church ceremonies with the sign of the Cross. It is one way of distinguishing those people present at a Christian service. Catholics sign themselves with their right hand and invoke the Trinity:’ In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’.
We take this action for granted. Throughout the world, Catholics perform this action today because the Church has a global outreach. The reason for the universal use of ‘the sign of the cross’ is found in today’s gospel: Jesus said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you.’
It is remarkable that this command spurred on the disciples who knew quite a lot about fishing or collecting taxes in a little backwater of a province named Galilee, but not much else.
Peter knew how to fish and vexed Jesus sometimes with his non-stop questions but he was no intellectual like Paul. Yet he was acknowledged as the leader of the disciples. And we might stand in the vast area of St Peter’s square in Rome today and wonder how did all come about from a small band of people on an unknown mountain in Galilee?
The answer is in the final words of Matthew’s gospel, a gospel written for the fledgling Christian community struggling to make their way in a world of persecution and hostility towards them. The assurance from Jesus: ‘And know that I am with you always; yes to the end of time.’
One of the constant themes in the bible is that God is faithful to promises. They remain true until the Second Coming when Jesus returns in power and glory. Why? Because Jesus is faithful to his word.
But it is not just his word. His word is supported by other aspects of God. We call God a ‘Trinity of persons’. Theologians have constructed a philosophical framework to ‘explain’ how God is one person and yet three persons. We love to explain everything even the mystery of God.
It is easier to remain with the biblical revelation that Jesus did the will of the Father, was in fact, sent by the Father to us… ‘God so loved the world that he sent his only Son into the world…’ These words are wonderful - but strange and mysterious.
When Jesus is baptised the Father called him, his beloved Son who enjoyed his favour. The presence of the Holy Spirit represented by the dove is important there. We have just celebrated Pentecost when the Holy Spirit filled the disciples with power to take on the world.
It is exciting to know that we are destined to live in the presence of the Trinity when we die. Why is that? Because that’s the way God wants it to be.
Columban Fr Gary Walker is currently living at the Columban house in Sandgate, Brisbane.