• ‘Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit’

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    [Holy Trinity, Year B, May 31, 2015 / Deut 4:32-34, 39-40 / Ps 33:4-5, 6+9, 18-19, 20+22 / Rom 8:14-17 / Matt 28:16-20]

    Today the Church celebrates Trinity Sunday. We have a God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. One God yet three persons, co-equal, united and living in perfect communion. I am attracted by the unity in the Trinity. One of the great theologians of the early Church, Gregory of Nazianzen stated, “I have not even begun to think of unity when the Trinity bathes me in its splendor. I have not even begun to think of the Trinity when unity grasps me…” One of the tasks of the Church is to reveal the face of the Trinity. Every gathering of the community in the Eucharist is an external manifestation of the Trinitarian union. I find this concept of unity very much related to the words of Jesus “All power 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, until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:16-20).

    What does it mean to baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit? Obviously there is the sacrament itself when the baptized person receives the indwelling of the Holy Trinity. In some countries such as China there are many with a strong desire for baptism and those recently baptized live with a fervent faith that desires to be nourished. In other countries such as Philippines the vast majority of people have already received the sacrament. What would the words of Jesus mean here? The Greek word for Baptism means dip or immerse. It gives the sense that we are called to be immersed in God’s presence, to be immersed in the presence of the Holy Trinity. To know that they dwell in us and to live with them. They are the best travelling companions! How many are you on this journey, sir? Four. Myself, God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Oh and Mother Mary too. No need to be lonely when we are travelling!

    Moses talks of this closeness in the first reading of today (Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40). “Was anything ever heard? Was ever a people able to hear the voice of the living God? Has any god took to his own heart one nation or people?”

    We have a God so close to us. A Father who desires that all be saved and come to know the truth. Who wants to run out and embrace all his children and shares his maternal and paternal desires with us. Go and make disciples! Go and form people who know how to connect with my fatherly heart. Who can talk to me and listen to me.

    Jesus asks us to keep his Word and in this way he and the Father will come and make their dwelling place in us. Imagine! Of all the fancy basilicas in the world and the many gold tabernacles, the favorite dwelling place of the Trinity is the human heart. And the Spirit always accompanies us, a Spirit of power and love not of timidity. A Spirit that makes us free, that makes us children of God: “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a Spirit of adoption, through whom we cry, ‘Abba, Father!’” (Romans 8:14-17).

    How great to live in the company of the Holy Trinity in all the situations of our life. Once in Tagaytay I had to go and make some photocopies. The weather was terrible so I took the local jeepney and was heading for Mendez crossing but the jeepney was going to Mendez. I didn’t know there was a difference. After 30 minutes travelling I began to see that I was lost as the journey should have taken only 5 minutes! I was getting worried until the Holy Spirit started to “nudge me” and remind me of his presence! I was not alone. I was travelling with the Holy Trinity. How comforting. It gave me the courage to practice my Tagalog and ask for help.

    Many are baptized but how many live in the presence of the Trinity? It is like a neighbor of ours who has so many worries. Her health is not too good and I was concerned as she is excessively worried about many things that cannot be changed. Too much worrying is bad for her health. I was reminding her to live all the situations in the presence of the Trinity, to share with them, to dialogue with them. I know that sharing with the Trinity helps us to live so many situations. Not to ignore them or treat them as strangers but to live each day immersed in their loving presence.

    Let us try to know this loving, Triune God more. Perhaps we can live this day more conscious of their presence within us. Father, I feel like this. What do you think? Jesus, how are you? How can I make you happy this day? Spirit, thank you because you are the giver of life. Help me today to share this life with others…

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    1 Comment

    1. Phylliss Quinn on

      God bless you and your FMVD order, Fr. James.
      Thank you for this homily.