June 5, 2009

Feast of the Holy Trinity / Msgr. Owen F. Campion

The Sunday Readings

Msgr. Owen CampionThe Book of Deuteronomy is the source of this feast’s first reading.

Deuteronomy is the fifth book now in sequence in the Old Testament. It is one of the five books that form for Jews the basic revelation by God.

This reading describes an instruction given by Moses to the Hebrew people as they wandered across the Sinai Peninsula, fleeing Egypt—where they had been slaves—and in search of the land that God had promised them.

In this reading, Moses is quoted as having told the people that God created all. God had spoken to them. God is in heaven. Finally, Moses said that the people must obey God’s commandments.

Hearing a reading of these verses thousands of years after the fact causes us to lose at least some of the force within them. At the time, these words were extraordinarily powerful. They revealed God. Moreover, they were a way that God actually revealed himself to them.

For the second reading this weekend, the Church presents a passage from St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans.

By the time Paul wrote this letter to the Christians of Rome, the reality of God, certainly as understood in the Jewish tradition and in the Christian tradition beginning to form, was accepted.

The marvel in Paul’s message is that Christians share the divine life. They are more than creatures of God. They are God’s children. God is the father. Indeed, disciples are encouraged to address God as “Father,” indeed as “Abba,” an ancient term for fathers that was a particularly gentle and loving endearment.

Paul explains that, as children of God, the faithful are the heirs to the eternal life of God. He tells them that this is accomplished in and through the individual Christian’s bond with the Lord Jesus.

St. Matthew’s Gospel supplies the last reading.

It is a Resurrection Narrative, clear and compelling. The Risen Lord appears before the 11 surviving Apostles on a mountain and speaks to them in human words.

They understand him, and he confers upon them all authority on Earth and in heaven. He then commissions them to go into the entire world, bringing all whom they meet into the one body, “in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

Then Jesus promises to be with them until the end of the world.


Overall, the teaching in these lessons is that God lives, and that God unites with us. He communicates with us. He meets us in our world. He speaks our language.

We belong to God because we are God’s children. We are much, much more than creatures or possessions. We are God’s children, the heirs to God’s eternal life, and one with Jesus, the Son of God and Savior.

The Church makes these reassuring points. It tells us about God. It tells us about ourselves. It tells us that God loves us.

God gave us the Lord Jesus as our Redeemer. God loves us by giving us Jesus as well as bearers of the divine word, such as Moses and Paul. God loves us by giving us the Apostles.

The Apostles were more than human beings who simply had the opportunity to meet Jesus and to learn from Jesus. Jesus sent them into the world to us in order to give us the words of salvation, the words by which to live each day.

Their tradition, indeed their presence, endures among us. It continues in their successors, the bishops, and in the Church guided by the bishops.

In these lessons, the Church is frank. God is everything. He alone gives life and peace. Nothing else is lasting, secure or real. God loves us. He reveals the most intimate detail of divinity to us, the Trinity, that we might truly know him. He reaches to us in Jesus. Through Jesus, God reaches to us and meets us. †

Local site Links: