Road to Emmaus The Most Holy Trinity

First Reading – Dt. 4:32-34, 39-40

Responsorial Psalm – Ps. 33:4-5, 6, 9, 18-19, 20, 22

Second Reading – Rom. 8:14-17

Gospel Reading – Mt. 28:16-20

Now that the Easter Season is complete, and we transition back into Ordinary Time, this Sunday we encounter the most sublime mystery of our faith. This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, and there is nothing "ordinary" about the Trinity. This week priests preparing homilies everywhere give a collective, "Oh no! What am I supposed to say this week?" There is something very right about this response. We should all stand, kneel or prostrate ourselves in silence before the mystery of our Triune God. However, for the priest preparing the homily, this is not an option for very long.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church has this to say about the Trinity: "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.’ The whole history of salvation is identical with the history of the way and the means by which the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, reveals himself to men ‘and reconciles and unites with himself those who turn away from sin’" (CCC 234).

In this passage we receive some key phrases, "the central mystery," "source of all the other mysteries…the light that enlightens them," and "most fundamental and essential teaching." Many would tend to want to focus on this, that or the other doctrine, but definitely not the Trinity. However, if the doctrine of the Trinity is the light that enlightens all of the other doctrines, and we ignore the Trinity, then the doctrines we tend to want to focus on remain in darkness. We cannot claim to see them at all.

Frank Sheed, in Theology and Sanity, has put it this way, "God has told us that He is three persons in one Divine nature, and we say ‘Quite so,’ and proceed to think of other matters – last week’s Retreat or next week’s Confession or Lent or Lourdes or the Church’s social teaching or foreign missions. All these are vital things, but compared with God himself, they are as nothing: and the Trinity is God Himself."

The Trinity is the mystery of God’s innermost life. The best way of understanding the Trinity is given to us by St. John. He proclaims clearly, "God is love" (1 John 4:8, 16). The Catechism comments, "God’s very being is love" (221). Love is not what God does, love is who God is.

The Catechism goes on, "By sending his only Son and the Spirit of Love in the fullness of time, God has revealed his innermost secret: God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange" (221). God has whispered this innermost secret into our ears, and you might say, into our nostrils he has breathed the breath of divine love. God desires that we share in his own eternal, Trinitarian, exchange of love. This is utterly amazing!

This brings us to this Sunday’s Gospel reading. Jesus says to the eleven Apostles, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the close of the age" (Matthew 28:18-20).

How has Jesus breathed into our nostrils the breath of divine love? Jesus makes it clear, by "baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

Earlier in Matthew’s Gospel, we read about Jesus’ Baptism, which is nothing less than a revelation of the Trinity. God the Father speaks as the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus, saying, "This is my beloved Son…" (Matthew 3:17). Baptism is thus a work of the Trinity. It is a divine liturgy.

More in Road to Emmaus

Jesus suffered, died, is raised from the dead and ascended into heaven so that he might pour into our hearts the eternal exchange of love that is the Trinity, so that we might be sons and daughters of the heavenly Father.

However, we only receive this gift because of the gift Jesus gives the Apostles, namely "All authority in heaven and on earth." We must also thank the Most Blessed Trinity for the obedience of the Apostles and their successors the bishops, and their co-workers the priests. If they did not "Go therefore…baptizing…" we would be up creek without a divine paddle.

I would like to conclude with the words of the Catechism: "Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but also make the neophyte a ‘new creature,’ an adopted son of God, who has become a ‘partaker of the divine nature,’ member of Christ and co-heir with him, and a temple of the Holy Spirit" (1265).

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