May 31, 2015 – The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. It is worth reviewing what a “Solemnity” is to us. In our Church year a Solemnity is the highest-ranking Holy Day possible, followed by a Feast and then a Memorial. Although we may not perceive it, the word “solemnity” comes from the Latin word for “festival.” The most important events on our Church calendar are “Solemnities.” All Solemnities are not Holy Days of Obligation, but those like Holy Trinity Sunday that always occur on Sunday are indeed Holy Days of Obligation.
The Holy Trinity was firmly established in the Bible, even in Genesis. Throughout the Old Testament God refers to Himself in both the singular and plural. In fact, in Genesis He declares “Let us make man in our image.” Note both the “us” and the “our.” Nevertheless, these semantical supports are secondary to the reality of the Holy Trinity as explicated and explained in our readings for this Holy Day.
St. Athanasius, who lived in the 300s, said “We acknowledge the Trinity, Holy and perfect, to consist of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is a wholly creative and energizing reality, self confident and undivided in its active power. Accordingly, in the Church, one God is preached, one God who is above all things and through all things and in all things.”
Our first reading from the Book of Deuteronomy speaks of our need to serve God. Moses tells the people, “The Lord is God in the heavens above and on the earth below, and there is no other.” This is the preface to our understanding and belief in the Holy Trinity.
In the second reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, Paul makes the point that we are all children of God if we are “led by the Spirit of God.” It is the Triune God who leads us through the Holy Spirit to repentance, to truth, to love, to holiness, to stewardship. It is through pursuing this life in the Spirit that we are able to serve God and one another.
The Gospel from Matthew, even though not lengthy, contains Jesus’ complete call to us to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Disciples are made through teaching and through conversion. To be a Christian steward involves a conversion of the heart and mind. As indicated in our U.S. Bishops Pastoral Letter on Stewardship, “Jesus’ call is urgent. He does not tell us to follow Him at some point in the future but here and now, at the moment, in our present circumstances.” The Bishops later say in that letter, “The life of a Christian Steward, lived in imitation of the life of Christ, is challenging, even difficult in many ways. But both here and hereafter it is charged with intense joy.”
On this day when we glory in the Holy Trinity, when we again declare, “I believe,” we need to commit ourselves to our Triune God; we need to answer the call to discipleship and stewardship. We need to be generous out of love. Jesus sends us, guides us, and empowers us.