Posted by: fvbcdm | June 13, 2014

Feast of Saint Anthony of Padua (13 June 2014)

  • Last Sunday, the Solemnity of Pentecost, was the last day of the Easter Season, and on the following day we resumed the Ordinary Time in the church calendar. However, there are two other theological realities that are so great that we celebrate each of them with a solemnity on the two Sundays following upon the Easter Season.

The first of them is the Blessed Trinity: the fact, revealed to us by Our Lord Jesus Christ, that in the one and only God there are three divine persons. This is what we celebrate this Sunday—Trinity Sunday, as it is often called. And then, next Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist.  More about that later.

In the Old Testament, it was constantly declared to God’s chosen people: Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God is ONE God. This sacred doctrine was reiterated so often to keep the Jewish people from falling into the error of polytheism, which means that there are many Gods. Nearly all the religions of the ancient world—the Assyrian, Babylonian, Greek, Roman, etc., believed in a number of gods and goddesses, about whom they fabricated all sorts of stories, some of them beneath the dignity of even human beings, let alone of divine persons.  So the fact that there is only one God is absolutely basic to the Jewish concept of God, revealed to his people of old.

However, when Jesus began his public life, he began to indicate that he was divine, but was not the Father. Thus he speaks of two divine persons. This was profoundly upsetting to his Jewish contemporaries. Was this man not contradicting the very basis of Judaism? Then, to make matters worse, toward the end of his days on earth, Jesus began to speak of yet a third reality: the Holy Spirit, whom he also called “the Advocate” and “the Paraclete.”  He even instructed his apostles to go out into the whole world, preaching his gospel and baptizing those who accepted this new faith “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Every time we make the sign of the cross, we are professing belief in the three divine persons of the one and only God.

Thus we are a Trinitarian people—the word “trinity” coming from the Latin and the Greek prefix “tri–,” meaning three. We have triangles, tripods, tricycles, trios, and the Blessed Trinity. Among all the religions of the world, past and present, only Christianity is Trinitarian; only the followers of Our Lord Jesus Christ believe in the three divine persons in the one God.

Even though he knew that this new doctrine would upset his Jewish contemporaries and cause many of them to reject him, Our Lord considered it very important that we, his followers, know that there are three persons in God, and that we be devoted to each of them and all of them. Certainly one of the reasons why Jesus wants us to know something of the Holy Trinity is because the trinity is a community of persons, knowing and loving one another. They are the divine pattern upon which the human family—father, mother, and child—are modeled.  This is part of what God means when he says, in preparation for the creation of mankind: Now, let us make man in our image according to our likeness.

We are made in the image of God—but of a Trinitarian God. Three divine persons, knowing and loving one another, the source of being to all other things that exist, and the source of goodness and joy to those who are capable of appreciating goodness and joy. The second Person of the Trinity, who is called the Son of God and the Word of God, became a human being; we know him as Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Because he entered our world, our history, our human family, we feel closer to him than to the other two divine persons. But they are all God; the Father and the Spirit love us as much as does Jesus, our divine and human brother, and when we are living in the state of grace, all three of them take up their dwelling in our hearts, our persons. The indwelling of the Holy Trinity is one of the most beautiful and consoling doctrines of our Christian faith. Let us meditate often upon this tremendous dogma. Let us try to make the sign of the cross with great devotion and a deep consciousness of what it means and what it professes. May the almighty God bless us: the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth, God Bless you, Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This message was composed some years ago

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