03 June 2023

Those around us can often draw into the eternal life of the Blessed Trinity. Sunday Reflections, Trinity Sunday, Year A

The Coronation of the Virgin
Velázquez [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland)

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Gospel John 3:16-18 (English Standard Version Anglicised, India)

Jesus said to Nicodemus:

‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Léachtaí i nGaeilge

Last weekend I was in a parish in Dublin for a mission appeal on behalf of the Columbans with Angie Escarsa, a Columban lay missionary from Zambales, Philippines, who has been here in Ireland since the 1990s. I concelebrated and preached at the Saturday evening Mass. 

I noticed a young man in a hospital-style bed-wheelchair up near the altar-rails with his parents. I observed how they cared for him during Mass, with devotion and tenderness. I briefly met the family afterwards and learned that the young man had been very badly injured in an accident. It was clear that he needed full-time care.

On Sunday morning another Columban, Fr Dermot Carthy, concelebrated and preached. He is a native of the parish who came home last year from Peru where he had worked for 62 years. I simply attended Mass and stayed at the back of the church. (This can be a good experience for a priest from time to time.) I noticed an elderly couple two pews in front of me, both of them white-haired and not very tall. The wife helped her husband a number of times to stand, doing so in a way that indicated a tender love for the man she had spent most of her life with - 61 years as I learned when I met them after Mass. I told them that they had made my day, which they had. The face of the wife lit up when I said this. 

I noticed a young family at the Mass, husband, wife and four children, three girls and a boy. The eldest was in her white First Communion dress, as she had made her First Holy Communion the day before. I saw only one other girl in her Communion dress. When I made my First Holy Communion in 1950 every child would be at Mass the following Sunday, the girls in their white dresses, the boys in their new suits with a white rosette attached to the left lapel of their jacket. I met the family briefly after Mass and told the parents that they too had made my day, which they had.

I saw in each of these couples and families a reflection of the Holy Trinity. We are made in God's image and God is a Community of Three Persons, eternally generating life and drawing us into that life. Each of the three couples I met had shared in that power of generating life through marriage. The elderly couple had grown old gracefully, no doubt with many difficulties as well as joys along the way, but clearly loving each other with the love of Jesus the Risen Lord whom they had given to each other in the Sacrament of Matrimony. Their serenity spoke to me of God's love, of the life-giving Trinity in whom I find my origin and with whom I hope to spend eternity.

The middle-aged couple were carrying a heavy load, but with great love. They had generated their son with God's own loving power of creating which He had shared with them through their marriage. Now they were sharing together in carrying the cross with Jesus whom they had given to each other as the source of their love for each other when they exchanged their marriage vows. They understand the meaning of the words for better, for worse in those vows. The extraordinary love for their adult son who cannot look after himself comes from the heart of the Blessed Trinity.

I constantly marvel at the willingness of young married couples to bring children into the world and to raise them. This speaks particularly powerfully to me when I see parents raising their children in the Faith. I am blessed to know such couples and families and am aware that it is not at all uncommon for couples to have a child - or a parent - who needs special care.

In the lives of each of us there are individuals, married couples and families, often unaware that they are gifts of God to others, who draw us into the eternal life of the Blessed Trinity.

Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear (Matthew 13:16).

For Irish Readers

The legend is that St Patrick explained the Trinity by holding up a shamrock. There are three leaves but only one shamrock.

Preamble to the Constitution of Ireland

In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred,

We, the people of Éire,

Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, Who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial,

Gratefully remembering their heroic and unremitting struggle to regain the rightful independence of our Nation,

And seeking to promote the common good, with due observance of Prudence, Justice and Charity, so that the dignity and freedom of the individual may be assured, true social order attained, the unity of our country restored, and concord established with other nations,

Do hereby adopt, enact, and give to ourselves this Constitution.

The Preamble has no legal force but is an expression of values. In 2015 the voters of Ireland changed the Constitution so that same-sex 'marriage' could be introduced. In doing so they removed  any connection between marriage and bringing new life into the world. In 2018 the voters, the majority baptised and confirmed Catholics, amended the Constitution to allow the killing of babies in their mothers' wombs. Both decisions were implicitly a rejection of the eternally life-giving Holy Trinity. Explicitly they were a rejection of life-giving and and of life.

Benedictus sit Deus
Setting by Mozart who composed this music when he was twelve.

Antiphona ad introitum   Entrance Antiphon (Cf. Tobit 12:6)

Benedictus sit Deus Pater, Unigenitusque Dei Filius, Sanctus quoque Spiritus, quia fecit nobisum misericordiam suam.

Blest be God the Father, and the Only Begotten Son of God, and also the Holy Spirit, for he has shown us his merciful love.

Traditional Latin Mass

Trinity Sunday

The Complete Mass in Latin and English is here. (Adjust the date at the top of that page to 06-04-2023 if necessary).

Epistle: Romans 11:33-36. Gospel: Matthew 28:18-20.

Holy Trinity and the Saints in Glory
Sebastiano Conca [Web Gallery of Art]

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 (Matthew 28:19; Gospel).

1 comment:

Janet OSB said...

Fr. Sean, I am a Benedictine sister at the Monastery of St. Gertrude in Cottonwood, ID. I was trying to get in contact with you to let you know that Sr. Gerry Smith died. She died, June 3, her Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated today and was live streamed on the Monastery Face book page.