May 28, 2010

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

The Sunday Readings

Msgr. Owen CampionThe first reading for this weekend’s celebration of the feast of the Most Holy Trinity is from the Book of Proverbs.

The Book of Proverbs developed in a fascinating process with which people in 2010, especially parents, can relate easily.

It is part of a collection of Scriptures called the Wisdom Literature.

It came about as the Jews—who had fled or left the Holy Land for other places because of bad living conditions at home—tried to keep their children within the fold of the Chosen People.

Their young people faced enormous pressures from the pagan culture all around them. Holding onto the God of Israel was not easy.

The pagan culture presented itself, or was perceived, as the ultimate expression of human wisdom.

Proverbs is thoroughly rooted in a deep faith in God and the majesty of God so awesomely manifested in all of creation, and most especially in God’s loving mercy.

The Book of Proverbs ultimately builds on the principle that knowledge and acceptance of the revelation of the God of Israel is the most profound human wisdom.

This book fundamentally says that trust in God—and belief in God—are not farfetched.

Proverbs is a series of maxims and statements of advice, many of which have found their way into commonplace speech even today.

Since it draws its messages from many Middle Eastern cultures and from many experiences of the Hebrew people over a period of centuries, the Book of Proverbs is difficult to date.

A literary device found in the Wisdom Literature, to personify wisdom, occurs in this reading. The Wisdom of God becomes a person and speaks.

St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, which is the second reading for this weekend’s liturgies, declares that those who have accepted Jesus as Lord are at peace with God.

Moreover, as a result of this bond with Jesus and as proof of this peace, true disciples have within themselves the very life and love of the Holy Spirit.

For the last reading, the Church on this feast selects a part of St. John’s Gospel.

It is the word of Jesus, spoken to the disciples. Splendid itself in a Gospel renowned for its eloquence and depth, Jesus promises the disciples that the Holy Spirit will be with them.

These words surely are reassuring, but they also reveal the oneness of the Lord with the Holy Spirit. Jesus and the Spirit are one. Jesus and the Father are one. Therefore, Jesus, the Spirit and the Father all are one.

Followers of Jesus are linked with God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—inseparably and eternally. This reveals the Trinity.


Trinity Sunday is the first Sunday in Ordinary Time after the end of the Easter season.

Last week, in the aftermath of the feast of the Lord’s Ascension, the Church celebrated the feast of Pentecost.

At Pentecost, the Church asked us to remember the unity we have in the community of believers, the Church, and the power to live virtuously that comes to us in the Holy Spirit.

At the Ascension, human and divine, crucified but risen, Jesus returned to the glory of God. But Jesus did not leave us.

Pentecost reassured us of the presence and guidance of God with us, in Jesus, through the Apostles, in the Church.

Today’s readings again emphasize that Jesus is God, perfectly living with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

In addition, continuing the very essential message of salvation in Christ—and the providential gift of the Spirit celebrated at Pentecost—the feast powerfully tells us that God loves us. He shares with us the most intimate detail of divinity, namely the Trinity.

It is much more than an ethereal, interesting—indeed awesome, but nevertheless distant—aspect of God. It explains the blueprint of life, especially of life as a Christian.

We are created in the image of God, the Trinity. We are redeemed by Christ, and vivified by the Spirit. The Trinity explains us and how we should live. †

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