The Holy Trinity

Sunday Church at Home

during the Coronavirus Pandemic

 

 

What Kind of God Do We Believe In?

 

The leader makes the sign of the cross, saying:

 

Leader:          In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

 

All reply:        Amen

 

Leader:          Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

All reply:        Blessed be God for ever

 

Leader:          God the Father invites us into a relationship of love through his Son and by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are God’s children. In this name we rejoice and are glad.

 

LITURGY OF THE WORD

 

First Reading: Deuteronomy 4:32-34,39-40

 

Introduction to the reading: The book of Deuteronomy contains a lengthy speech that Moses addressed to the people as they prepared to enter the Promised Land. This was a place where the people worshipped many gods and goddesses. Moses reminds them that there is only one God – the One who brought them out of Egypt.

 

A reading from the Book of Deuteronomy

Moses spoke to the people, saying,
“Ask now of the days that are past,
which were before you,
since the day that God created humanity upon the earth
and ask from one end of heaven to the other,
whether such a great thing as this has ever happened
or was ever heard of.
Did any people ever hear the voice of God
speaking out of the midst of the fire,
as you have heard, and still live?
Or has any god ever attempted
to go and take a nation for himself
from the midst of another nation,
by trials, by signs,
by wonders, and by war,
by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm,
and by great terrors,
according to all that the Lord your God did for you
in Egypt before your eyes?

Know therefore this day,
and lay it to your heart,
that the Lord is God in heaven above
and on the earth beneath;
there is no other.
Therefore you shall keep his statutes and his commandments,
which I command you this day,
that it may go well with you,
and with your children after you,
and that you may prolong your days
in the land which the Lord your God gives you for ever.”

The word of the Lord.

 

 

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 33:4-5.6 & 9.18-19.20 & 22 (R. cf. 12b)

Let us pray the Responsorial Psalm:

R/. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen as his heritage.

The word of the Lord is faithful,
and all his works to be trusted.
The Lord loves justice and right,
and his merciful love fills the earth.

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
by the breath of his mouth all their host.
He spoke, and it came to be.
He commanded; it stood in place.

Yes, the Lord’s eyes are on those who fear him,
who hope in his merciful love,
to rescue their souls from death,
to keep them alive in famine.

Our soul is waiting for the Lord.
He is our help and our shield.
May your merciful love be upon us,
as we hope in you, O Lord.

R/. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen as his heritage.

 

Second Reading: Romans 8:14-17

Introduction to the reading: Paul’s letter to the Romans is his most detailed and important theological work. In this portion of the letter, Paul stresses the importance of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians. Through the Spirit’s presence within us, we enjoy not only new life but also a new relationship with God, whom we can call by a new name.

 

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans

Brothers and sisters:
All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons and daughters of God.
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery
to fall back into fear,
but you have received the spirit of sonship.
When we cry, “Abba! Father!”
it is the Spirit himself
bearing witness with our spirit
that we are children of God,
and if children, then heirs,
heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,
provided we suffer with him
in order that we may also be glorified with him.

The word of the Lord.

 

Alleluia. Alleluia.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; to God who is, who was, and who is to come.
Alleluia.

 

Gospel: Matthew 28:16-20

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew

At that time:
The eleven disciples went to Galilee,
to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.
And when they saw him, they worshiped him;
but some doubted.
And Jesus came and said to them,
“All authority in heaven and on earth
has been given to me.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father
and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you;
and behold, I am with you always,
to the close of the age.”

The Gospel of the Lord

 

Reflection on the Readings

The leader reads the text prepared by the priest and leads the sharing.

 

Homily

Cardinal Richard Cushing was the Archbishop of Boston, USA until he passed away in 1970.  The cardinal told of an occasion when he was administering last rites to a man who had collapsed in a large shop. Following his usual custom, he knelt by the man and asked, “Do you believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit?” The Cardinal said the man roused a little bit, opened an eye, looked at him and said, “Here I am, dying, and you ask me a riddle?” 😊

Call them riddles. Call them Mysteries. There are things about life and Faith we do not fully understand.

Our roots are in the Jewish faith and Jews would never speak of a trinitarian God. They have a strong, monotheistic faith. Belief in one God is important.Even in the New Testament the doctrine of the Trinity is not spelled out. Yet, when we were baptized it was the Trinitarian formula that was used as the water was poured over us.

“I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

Every celebration of Mass begins with the Sign of the Cross – In the name of the Father and the Son and the holy Spirit. At the end of Mass, the priest sends us forth to preach the gospel, blessing us, “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus instructs his disciples in today’s gospel, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Our hymns and prayers refer to the divine nature and unity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In other words, when we say we believe in God, we are really saying we believe in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – the Trinity. And without this there is no Christian faith.

When I was young I had the impression that God the Son would try to intercede on our behalf with God the Father, to get God to change God’s mind and intentions towards us. Or, to put it another way, to save us from God’s wrath. That would mean God the Son trying to placate God the Father. We cannot attribute to one person in the Godhead what we wouldn’t to the other two. The Son is our Saviour – but so are the Father and the Holy Spirit. Thus, when we look at God the Son we are also seeing God the Father’s thoughts and feelings towards us. The Father is not the angry judge ready to smack us sinful creatures down, were it not for the Son interceding on our behalf.

The same is true for the Spirit, who is not an independent agent working at odds with the Father and Son.

When we spend time in prayer, in dialogue with God, we can begin to discern aspects of the nature of God. We discover that our God is a tender parent who wants to show a parent’s loving face to us, all the time. We find a compassionate brother in Jesus, who came to serve us and offer us forgiveness, before we even asked for it. We find a liberating Spirit, who invites us into the very life that the Son shares with the Father.

Jesus sent his disciples to “make disciples of all nations.” All nations. They were to preach to others what they learned about God in Jesus. The apostles have passed onto us their experiences of their life with Jesus. Today, through the Word of God and the Sacraments, we are able come to know God who is with us always.

To know the Spirit is to know the divine life which is present in us. It is to experience the free gift of grace and love and to be able to respond to it by living in the image and likeness of Jesus. The Spirit lifts us above fear. Paul tells us today that the Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are “children of God.” Receiving Paul’s words in faith we believe that we are already beloved children of God, called to love as God loves.

We have been accustomed to describing the Trinity as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In the history of the church, theologians and poets have used other metaphors or images for the Trinity. For example: God as fire, light and heat. God as composer, singer and song. And one we are more familiar with from our Scriptures, God as speaker, word and breath (“ruah). Some people describe God as Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier. These metaphors may give us some insight into the nature of our God, but still, God’s mystery is beyond all words and images.

Jesus used the masculine noun “Father” to refer to God. We know God has no physical body. God is not a man. Julian of Norwich, the mystic, referred to our Almighty God as Father and that we have our being in our Mother of mercy. This is what she said, “Our substance is in our Father God Almighty, and our substance is in our Mother, God all wisdom….”

We put names on God as a valiant effort to describe our experience of our infinite divine Being.

Remember, the bottom line is, as hard as we try, we humans can never capture who God is – yet we can try.

And we know that God will reveal himself to us in our efforts!

From today’s Gospel reading: 

Jesus said to his disciples:

“All power in heaven and on earth has been given me.

Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations….”

Reflection:

Jesus chose to give power and send out as witnesses, the least likely of his day. Doesn’t that speak to us “ordinary folk” who may not feel particularly gifted in matters of religion? Still, we are the ones upon whom Jesus pours his Spirit and appoints to “make disciples of all nations.”

So we ask ourselves:

  • From your experience in prayer, what images would you use for God?
  • How do we give daily witness to our faith in Christ?
  • Do we meet any opposition to our witnessing?

 

 

Prayer of the Faithful

 

Leader:          As we celebrate the love of God the Holy Trinity, we offer our prayers to the Father through his Son in the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Reader:

We pray for Pope Francis and the bishops of the Church: (pause) that they may shepherd the Church with tender love and mercy which welcomes others.

LORD HEAR US

 

We pray for all who feel abandoned by God: (pause) that the Spirit will give them insight into the events in their life so that they may recognize how God is always with them

LORD HEAR US

 

We pray for all families: (pause) that they may witness to the love of God present in their midst by the love they show to others.

LORD HEAR US

 

We pray for all who have experienced abuse, injustice, or prejudice: (pause)  that God will heal their pain, give them strength to live life fully, and reveal the structures that have contributed to their  pain.

LORD HEAR US

 

We pray for an end to the covid-19 pandemic: (pause) that the wisdom of the Holy Spirit may guide medical staff and researchers, heal those who are sick, and work towards all receiving the vaccine.

LORD HEAR US

 

We pray for deceased members of our families and friends whose anniversaries occur about this time.

LORD HEAR US

 

Leader:          Let us pray our PRAYER TO THE HOLY TRINITY

 

Father,

You sent your Word to bring us truth

and your Spirit to make us holy.

Through them we come to know the mystery of your life.
Help us to worship you,

one God in three persons.

You reveal yourself in the depths of our being,

by proclaiming and living our faith in you.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God forever and ever.

Amen.

 

 

 

Spiritual Communion

We can unite ourselves to the Eucharist through making a spiritual Communion.

By making an Act of Spiritual Communion, we express our faith in Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist and ask him to unite himself with us.

 

My Jesus, I believe you are really here in the Blessed Sacrament.
I love you more than anything in the world, and I hunger to receive you.
But since I cannot receive Communion at this moment, feed my soul spiritually. I unite myself to you now as I do when I receive you. Amen.

 

 

 

CONCLUDING RITE

 

Leader:          Let us pray to the Father in the words Jesus our Saviour gave us:

 

All say:           Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  Amen.

Leader:          God our Father,

you have given us a share

in the life that is yours

with your Son and the Holy Spirit.

Strengthen that life within your Church,

that we may know your presence,

observe your commands,

and proclaim the gospel to every nation.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God for ever and ever.

All:                  Amen.

 

Leader:          May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life.

 

All:                  Amen.