Sermon for Trinity Sunday – June 3, 2012 by Fr. Stephen
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
This particular gospel we just read for today’s feast is the only place and site or location, the only event in time when Our Lord is putting into place the formula of the baptism that we are all required to have by the universal law of the church for our salvation, in which Jesus identifies exactly the wording. This is the only place where the three persons are mentioned together by name, the only place in the entire Bible.
Jesus precedes that by revealing and confirming what the apostles already believed that all power is given to Him, not only in heaven but here on earth. That is why we have the devotion, Christ is the King of all nations, He is Our Lord, He is our King. And we traditional Catholics insist on that, hopefully, not only with words or belief, but also by deeds.
I was impressed when I was in the seminary for a year and a half learning about the ways of tradition, after nine years of service in the Novus Ordo, where I found that this belief was practiced. I may have mentioned it to you, but it impressed me so much, and I think it is appropriate for me to cite it again.
Authority, as you heard, power — Jesus said power — authority and power are practically synonymous. He said all power has been given to Me. And these seminarians and the priests themselves observed that power in its’ journey from God to man, the Son receiving all power from His Father, given over to the apostles first, the prince of apostles, Peter, unique powers, and then to the rest of the apostles and the bishops, the priests. Parents have God’s authority and it must be exercised, used, as God would. And children must obey their parents, not in those things that they announce clearly, but all things, those even implicitly. So if you wonder if your parents will give you permission to something, follow that, dear children. We are all united in the same system that God has and Jesus revealed.
This helps us to identify the second Person. Jesus said many things of Himself. “I am the way. I came forth from the Father.” That’s a path. “And I go back to the Father”. That’s the other half of His journey. He is the way. “No one comes to the Father but through Me”. He has the ultimate power of God. He is God equally as the Father and the Holy Spirit of God.
So, baptism must be in the Blessed Trinity, as Jesus said. One word missing invalidates the sacrament. Intention is not enough. Jesus insisted, and He gave us the formula. “Who knows the mystery of God?” St. Paul is asking in his letter to the Romans we just read today. “The unsearchable ways of God.” When we reflect on our one God in three persons, we are touching, we are communing, we are seeking a union between God and ourselves, because Catholic philosophy and theology teaches that in knowing anything, the subject is united with the content of the knowledge, the object of knowledge. And how wonderful it is when we come to know each other, friends meeting friends, future spouses meeting each other for the first time, they reach out to each other, they introduce themselves because we desire to be known and to know. And in this intentional relationship, this knowledge binds the subject and the object into one. Actually, putting it simply, we become what we know, who we know.
So, Almighty God, from the beginning, Jesus tells us, reveals that, He created the whole world and that is His way of communicating with Himself. He is introducing Himself for us to know Him. St. Paul says, “Pagans know God by looking at creation.” Somebody put it there. It’s a sign of His touch, of His creative power. The omnipotent, the infinitely great God who we seek to know. And we can know Him by looking at what He has done. It is a reflection of Him.
Now, the culmination of God’s own self, communications, revelation was placed in the person of the second person of the Blessed Trinity who became a human being, so we can get to know with our own ears and with our own eyes, God Himself, fulfilling the ancient prophecy when God said, “I, Myself, will speak to them and they will talk to Me and they will see Me face to face”, which was realized in the person of the second person of the Blessed Trinity who became a human being, Jesus, the man. The apostles said, “We touched, we have seen His glory when He was transfigured on Mount Tabor.” The glory of God can be recognized in the person of Jesus. That’s why when Phillip asked Jesus, “Lord, show us Your Father and that’s all we need”. Jesus said, “Phillip, I have been with you all these years. You have not known me? Haven’t you noticed that the works that I do, I, as a man, cannot do it. It is God, My Father, who is doing it for you which gives testimony in my behalf, because testimony of mine and testimony of My Father together make it valid, two witnesses are necessary to receive the truth with certainty. Because, Phillip, whenever you see Me, you see the Father, because the Father is in Me, and I am in the Father. The Father and I are one.”
Now, Jesus as man was our gift from the Father who is His Divine Son, by His Divine Nature, in the one person of Jesus. This is Catholic dogma, one person, two natures, the second person of the trinity having become man, has two natures, human and Divine. “The complete deity“, as St. Paul says, “is the residing in a body formed in the person of Jesus, our Savior. The fullness of God is in Him.”
So, we recognize in Catholic theology that the Father appropriated the idea of creation to Himself, even while the act is equally done by the other two persons of the Trinity, because they are one, they act as one. Jesus said, “Whenever the Father is acting, I am also busy acting. I cannot do anything by Myself. The Father and I are one.” The second person of the Trinity is the Father’s gift to us, to reveal to us and the mysteries and the fullness of God beginning in our time, and in eternity we shall see God as He is. Both St. Paul and St. John tell us so.
The second person in Jesus is the Father’s first gift. And then Jesus tells us as you heard the last couple of Sundays, “I will send you another consoler, another paraclete, who will confirm everything I have taught you and will lead you to the fullness of truth for which you are too weak today to hear and to bear, but who will teach you everything. He will not speak of Himself, but He takes everything from Me. That’s why He said, “I will send you the Holy Spirit of God, the third person of the Trinity,” the second consoler that God wishes for you and me to have. The mystery of God, God is unchangeable. We read that in the Book of the Prophet Malachi, God does not change. He doesn’t have one opinion yesterday and today another and tomorrow another one. He is the same forever without change or shadow of alteration or shadow of change, constant. That is why you and I can bank and build only on God. Everything else is here today and gone tomorrow, but God remains. God is eternal. St. John, who leaned on the heart of Jesus at the Last Supper, because they were reclining at a table that was not as high as ours, but they were very close to the ground, they reclined. That’s how St. John was able to lean on the heart of Jesus, hearing the beating of his heart and able to know His innermost thoughts being so close to Him. He said, “God is love”. Be careful when you use that word. Don’t allow your mind to be infiltrated with the world as the world thinks of love, abusing, desecrating the concept. We talk about divine charity, the only love that matters, that we received in baptism as a gift of the Holy Ghost. Divine charity, loving neighbor because of our love for our God, so our love for others must be pure.
Jesus must be at the center, and if He is not, it’s a lie, it’s not a true love. It’s a phony deception, deceiving both parties who engage in illicit love, if there is such a thing. Because love is sacred and can sanctify marriage. And it is supposed to sanctify marriage. If it doesn’t, it’s not a true marriage, certainly not pleasing to God, but it is outside of Him, not reflecting Him. That’s why Bishop Sheen said, “In marriage, there are three people who are supposed to get married, Jesus, and the man and the woman.” And if Jesus is not there, constantly, daily, the love is not what it is supposed to be. It’s a selfish mutual self-deception.
Bless our parents’ love. If they are true, they are precious and it has authority and power of giving life with God, willed by God for man to share, so good God is, giving Himself to us, especially revealing Him in the life of a true Catholic family. For parents, fearful Catholics, fearful of offending God, teach us and give us the knowledge of God by their example and by their teaching. The children ought to respect under the pain of mortal sin. Obedience transgressed by children can be mortal sins because they represent God’s authority, the power Jesus talks about that He has over us even in our families, and even between the parents.
The Holy Spirit, the second consoler, is given to us and you have received Him in your baptism, each one of you being validly baptized. The power of God in us, the Holy Spirit acting in us. So, as we reflect on the Blessed Trinity, we come to a great knowledge which is power, God’s power with us, that gives meaning to our life, gives us direction and hope of eternal life. Jesus said, “Whoever believes in Me has eternal life. I will raise him up on the last day”. What a wonderful faith you and I have been given in our baptism, in our catechism. Hopefully we learned it’s many faces, many facets. The fullness of faith we will never have complete in this life.
But we are called by the academy whose graduating class is taking place, the ceremony is this weekend coming, is called to teach children teachings that are Catholic, revealing the Blessed Trinity in its’ richness, in its’ applications as they are to touch our lives, beginning with our children. How important it is, the task, parents and teachers are honored to have, bringing them knowledge of the Blessed Trinity in all its’ forms, in all the details, to our children. That’s why St. Augustine said, “When a parent is teaching his child catechism, he is like giving Holy Communion to Him, God into the soul, coming alive to the knowledge of sacred doctrine.
So let us honor today the Blessed Trinity by appreciating our holy faith which we begin and will end always as we do everything else between in the name of the Blessed Trinity. We bless ourselves when we enter church, we begin our prayers blessing ourselves in the name of the Blessed Trinity. Parents are to bless their children. That’s Catholic tradition. Bless their children in the name of the Blessed Trinity before they part from each other, strengthening them that they be protected from all the assaults that today you can expect from the world. So, be careful and have the eye of an eagle over your children what they say, what they look at and whom they talk with. Guard them. They are your treasures and your responsibility until they leave your home and house, and be free Catholics doing freely God‘s holy will.
So I bless you,
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.