Reflections on the Readings
Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity - June 7, 2009, Year B
By Dennis Hankins
Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40
Psalm 33:4-6, 9, 18-19, 20, 22
Theme: A Mountain Top Experience
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. (Matthew 28:16)
The last words I heard my daddy say to me were, "I love you too, hon." It was something of a climatic moment, although I did not know two days later I would no longer hear his voice. I remember how lucid and soothing his voice and these last words were to me. They echo in my memory, his voice still as comforting and enriching as that last time we spoke on the phone.
Jesus had some final things to say before his Ascension. There were last minute words to impart, direction that needed to be shared before he was received up into heaven. Love for the world he died and rose again for filled his mountain top conversation. Encompassing the magnitude of his appearance that day on the mountain was the revelation there is still work to be done. That work remains unfinished to this day. Much as been accomplished, but greater works are yet to be done!
Gathering his family out of every tribe, tongue and nation under heaven remains the task of the Church. Jesus' departing remarks remind us that our fellowship is with the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is this fellowship which gives us the inspiration to go into all the world.
There are at least three points to note in Jesus' final words to his disciples.
There is first a Commission. "Go...and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Under the authority of Jesus, the Church baptizes in the name of the Trinity. This baptism brings each of us into the heart of God. So complete is this rite of initiation that it is correctly understood as a transformation; a change within making every son and daughter of Adam a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven. At work in this transformation is the Spirit of adoption. We now call God our Father!
Within Jesus' exhortation is also revealed the need for Catechesis. Formation requires information. The Home and the Church are to teach what Jesus taught. Good preaching and teaching of the faith is necessary to make disciples. The number one complaint of adults who find their way back to the Church is that they were not taught or not taught well in their formative years.
We cannot impart what we do not possess. If our grasp of the ancient tradition and creeds of our faith is inadequate, our love for the truth will become lukewarm.
A common phrase accompanied by a yawn from too many today is, "Whatever"! What is at stake is whether there will be a vibrant and prophetic witness from the Church of tomorrow. But the mandate to make disciples begins in the home. Within the domestic church there must reside in Mom and Dad the boldness to impart the faith of the Church to the children. The promise of life in the Spirit is to your children and your children's children. This is the heritage we must pass on!
Every Dad and Mom have to find the courage to live what they believe in their home. The most impressionable people in the world are those who rely on Mom and Dad for food, clothing and shelter. However, no one can live by bread alone. Matters of the heart matter, and if the hearts of our children are not shaped and moulded by what we believe, then Susie and Johnny may not know what it means to be led by the Spirit of God.
Before those eleven disciples stood the resurrected Lord. They worshipped him, but some doubted. Some doubted! After Pentecost, there were no more doubts. Peter, dripping with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, found his backbone. Reminding every one of the words of the Prophet Joel, Peter preached, "This, what you see and hear, is that which Joel the prophet declared to us." Sound teaching, teaching that reveals the living Jesus comes from hearts who have the heart of God beating in there chests.
On that mountain top that day, I imagine Jesus stopped for a moment, letting his eyes meet their eyes. Stepping forward and opening his hands inviting them to come closer as well, Jesus says to them, "I am with you always, to the very end." We are promised His Companionship. Nothing less than the friendship of Jesus will accompany all that we say and do.
What was it that kept the early Church faithful and true? Even in the face of great persecution and martyrdom, how was it that the Church remained vibrant and powerful? Upon threat of punishment, early leaders of the Church were commanded to 'speak no more to anyone in this name.' But even this did not deter evangelism. Why not? The answer my friend is blowing in the wind. The Holy Spirit, sometimes described as a 'wind from heaven,' made the friendship of Jesus as real to His followers as he was when he walked among them.
Let us take our mountain top experiences with Jesus and become His face in our homes, our places of work, and for our brothers and sisters sitting next to us in the pew.
Let us pray: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.