Reflection for Sunday June 16, 2019: Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.
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Most of the feasts of the liturgical year focus on aspects of the Mission of Christ, or the work of the Spirit, or the work of specific members of the Church, such as the Blessed Mother, the Apostles or various saints. The Feast of the Holy Trinity, however, is different. It is a feast based on a theological description of God for Christians. While belief in the Trinity is grounded in the experience and teaching of the Apostolic witnesses of Jesus and his Resurrection and sending of the Spirit, it became theologically described in the present Trinitarian formula through the great councils of Nicaea, Ephesus and Chalcedon (between 325 and 451AD). A Liturgical celebration in honor of the Triune description of God began to be celebrated in the Western Church by the end of the first millennium and became an official Feast of the Universal Church in 1334. From its earliest emergence the Feast has been celebrated on the Sunday after Pentecost. We best engage the ecclesial vision of the celebration by contemplating the Scriptural readings that are proclaimed in light of the placement of the feast immediately upon completing the Great 90 Days or Paschal Cycle of Lent/Easter/Pentecost. |This temporal setting of the Feast makes its celebration something akin to what St. Ignatius of Loyola called a "repetition" of a contemplation – that is a kind of deeply meditative review of an extended prayer, focusing on key instances of consolation from earlier prayer times over some or all of the same material, so that our receptivity to the consoling actions of God is deepened and further enriched. |Throughout the liturgical year – up to this point – we have been focusing on the Christ, the WORD of God – the partner of the Father in bringing forth creation. We hear in today's first reading a song of praise to the Trinitarian character of the creative work. The Psalm then invites every creature to praise God for its very existence.|But God not only creates the creation but chooses to rescue it from (self) destruction. (Remember that the human community chose death rather than life by wanting to be god for ourselves.) So we spend time pondering on the self-donation of Christ, who made it possible for humans to be saved from our separation from God by sin by disclosing God's love and then suffering, dying and rising to demonstrate it. We just spent weeks contemplating at length this astounding mercy during the seasons of Lent and Easter. |Then, O Glory! Through the Easter sacrament of Baptism, we have been divinized through our responsive love relationship with Jesus that demonstrates its own reality when we collaborate in the Father's Plan of Salvation. The Third Actor of God, the Spirit poured into human lives by the Father and the Word, bonds us to Christ, to one another, and to the Father's Will, which makes this divinizing or sanctifying process happen.|Through Jesus and the Spirit, we are drawn into the Body of Christ laboring with the guidance of the Second Person until all salvation is accomplished. During this time of laboring on earth (symbolized by Ordinary Time) we are filled with the Spirit, who gives us endurance in our afflictions, making possible our divinized character – the very HOPE – that does not disappoint according to the Second Reading from Romans. |The Gospel challenges us to be open to the Spirit of Truth in every aspect of our lives so that the process of being more and more drawn into the divine life, this divinization, may be brought to perfection in us even before our human death.|We have prayed on all these mysteries for weeks and even months; why a repetition now at the beginning of Ordinary Time? Because, Saint Ignatius tells us, we need to be deepened in our capacity to receive all that the Father wants to give us in Jesus and through the Spirit right now, so that we can do the work of Ordinary Time effectively. In each effort to contemplate this mystery "hidden for generations past but now revealed,"Col.1 we discover something new about how we are invited to participate here and now in a union with God so complete that while we remain truly ourselves we are also truly and utterly "in" the Trinity of perfect Love and complete Joy.|On a beautiful day in June Trinity is a celebration well worth singing about!
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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