Spirituality of the Readings
All the way from Holy Week to this Sunday’s “Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity” our Masses have been rich in moving images of our faith. Moving, deep, piercing, rewarding.
But more, they have revealed how the Holy Trinity deals with us! Our liturgies represent the ways people on earth could see that there is a Trinity within the one God!
The First Person, God the Father
Passion (Palm) Sunday: The Hebrew people were the first and most ancient testimony that “the Lord is God in the heavens above and on earth below, and that there is no other” (First Reading).
Moses cried out,
did anything so great ever happen before?
Was it ever heard of?
Did a people ever hear the voice of God
speaking from the midst of fire,
as you did, and live? …
Did any god venture to go and take a nation for himself
from the midst of another nation?
We can ask whether we hear in our faith the voice of the Father from the midst of what can be much worse than fire.
The Second Person, God the Christ
Good Friday: Jesus in the garden asked the Father to release him from the cross. His whole life had been a testimony to the one he addressed with the endearing term, “Abba” (Daddy). And now he pleaded “with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence” (Hebrews 5:7).
He was heard?
But he died.
Jesus’ request on the cross was indeed heard. He was “saved” from the sting of death by plunging directly into it. Even though his life was sacrificed, he lived from a love that could not be killed.
Easter: An earthly burial could not entrap God’s love. Jesus arose. He appeared to the disciples in Sunday’s Gospel. Their companion was now love’s witness. But they doubted, even as they fell down to worship him. As you and I do, maybe?
The Third Person, God the Spirit
Ascension: Then he left this world. He was going back to the Father, the source of Jesus-love. To allay the disciples’ fears, he recounted with great kindness the course of his life, including especially the following important feature: his presence was to continue here on earth. The disciples were to go out and themselves be Jesus’ dwelling place of God on earth (Gospel).
Pentecost. Just as Jesus had foretold, the Spirit came alive within them, pitching its tent in their hearts and souls, coming closer to them and to us than we can be to our own selves! Our life’s breath is now to be Christ’s life and breath for all ages. The Holy Spirit, which is now marked by the Father and Christ, comes to make us children of God, to be his presence in this world.
Now, if only we will relax and let it be.
Holy Week and Easter show us the face of God, revealed in the loving, earthly interactions that are the Trinity’s. In short, we are to “suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him” (Second Reading).
The fledgling Church had discovered the Trinity not by studying theology books but by experiencing it.
Let us follow.
John Foley, SJ
**From Saint Louis University