The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Pope Francis said this last year, on Trinity Sunday:
“Today is the Sunday of the Most Holy Trinity. The light of Eastertide and of Pentecost renews in us every year the joy and amazement of faith: let us recognize that God is not something vague, our God is not a God “spray”, he is tangible; he is not abstract but has a name: “God is love”. His is not a sentimental, emotional kind of love but the love of the Father who is the origin of all life, the love of the Son who dies on the Cross and is raised, the love of the Spirit who renews human beings and the world. Thinking that God is love does us so much good, because it teaches us to love, to give ourselves to others as Jesus gave himself to us and walks with us. Jesus walks beside us on the road through life.”

We can celebrate this great solemnity, not by thinking about or arguing about concepts about how the Trinity works, but by opening our hearts to a deeper relationship with our God, who is love. We can have a relationship with each of the Persons in the Trinity. It can be a day of gifts which bring us closer to our origin, our salvation and our life together in community for others.

The Entrance Antiphon for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity says, “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.”
Pentecost Sunday
After the fast of Lent we pull out all stops to celebrate this most joyful season in the liturgical year. The fifty days of Easter come to an end with Pentecost. We’ve celebrated in many ways, singing Alleluias, sprinkling water to remember our baptism, lighting the Easter candle and displaying it. Now the Easter season draws to an end.
Pentecost is primarily a feast celebrating the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The gift of the Holy Spirit is at the heart of our transformation through baptism, where we receive the Spirit. Pentecost is a celebration of God indwelling the church. Jesus ascends, the sign of the end of his earthly ministry, and then the disciples experience Pentecost, the anointing of the Holy Spirit in the upper room. They go forth to proclaim the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection.
The flames part and come to rest on the disciples, and we hear “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.” To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be moved to speech – to proclaiming God’s presence in our lives and God’s message to our world.
Throughout this day and the weeks ahead, let us not lose our grasp on our Easter joy, our sense of God’s presence with us. Increase your awareness of what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit, to live with the understanding that God is truly with us.

Ascension of the Lord
Life, it seems, is full of goodbyes.  So often we must bid farewell to children leaving the nest, to family and friends who move away, or to a loved one who has died.  Sometimes we feel only a gentle sadness tempered by hope; sometimes our hearts are broken by grief.
In today’s gospel the disciples are once again saying goodbye to Jesus.  As he prepared to depart from this earth, he offers them some parting gifts; the gift of understanding, so that they can now fully comprehend the meaning of the Scriptures; the promise that they will receive the power of the Holy Spirit; a final loving blessing.
The encounter with the Risen Jesus reported by Matthew is not only the encounter of a lifetime for the disciples, but also the end of Jesus of Nazareth’s earthly presence among us.  Now in this momentous and historic farewell, Jesus gives us the assurance that he will be forever God-with-us, Emmanuel.
Jesus says: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations!”
Matthew is inviting all his readers up to this day to make Jesus’ commissioning of the disciples their own and to tell the unwritten part of the story.  Matthew wanted us to be part of that story: it is now up to each one of us to testify before the world to the unfailing and loving presence of God-with-us, Emmanuel.
May we, his disciples today, recognize and celebrate the ongoing presence of Jesus in our lives, and the power of the Spirit to transform and heal even our deepest fears.