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June 3, 2009
Breaking Open the Word
By James Cavanagh
June 7: Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
Overview: The definitive revelation of God in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, followed by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost culminates in this Sunday’s readings as we celebrate the solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. The first reading speaks of God “in heaven above and on the earth below and there is no other.” This indicates both God’s oneness (“there is no other”) and his multi-dimensionality (“in heaven above and on the earth below”). Who God is in himself cannot be known unless he reveals it, which he does through his acts of creation and redemption. The second reading also points to the Trinity as St. Paul speaks of God the Father (“Abba”), of Christ with whom we are “joint heirs” and the Holy Spirit who “bears witness with our spirit.” Our adoption as the sons and daughters of God happens through spiritual birth at baptism, a sign of God’s creative and redemptive love which expresses his inexpressible nature. In this week’s Gospel, Jesus commissions the disciples to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” This is one of the clearest instances of the Trinitarian “formula” in the New Testament. Even though the word “Trinity” appears nowhere in the Bible, the idea has been part of the Church’s patrimony from the very beginning.
Key verse: “The Lord is God in the heavens above and on earth below, and there is no other” (Dt 4:39).
“Catechism of the Catholic Church”: “The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the ‘hierarchy of the truths of faith’” (No. 234).
Pope Benedict XVI: “Each of the three persons of the Trinity points to the other two. In this circle of love flowing and intermingling, there is the highest degree of unity and constancy and in turn gives unity and constancy to everything that exists. We shall not solve the problems that trough us today by theorizing, but by spiritual means; by entering into the form of the Trinity” (Benedictus; cf. “Seeking God’s Face”).