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The Most Holy Trinity Sunday – Year B – OT
Readings: Dt. 4:32-34, 39-40; Rom 8:14-17; Mt 28:16-20.
Reading 1 (Dt. 4:32-34, 39-40):
Moses said to the people:
“Ask now of the days of old, before your time,
ever since God created man upon the earth;
ask from one end of the sky to the other:
Did anything so great ever happen before?
Was it ever heard of?
Did a people ever hear the voice of God
speaking from the midst of fire, as you did, and live?
Or did any god venture to go and take a nation for himself
from the midst of another nation,
by testings, by signs and wonders, by war,
with strong hand and outstretched arm, and by great terrors,
all of which the LORD, your God,
did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?
This is why you must now know,
and fix in your heart, that the LORD is God
in the heavens above and on earth below,
and that there is no other.
You must keep his statutes and commandments that I enjoin on you today,
that you and your children after you may prosper,
and that you may have long life on the land
which the LORD, your God, is giving you forever.”
Reading 2 (Rom 8:14-17):
Brothers and sisters:
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear,
but you received a Spirit of adoption,
through whom we cry, “Abba, Father!”
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit
that we are children of God,
and if children, then heirs,
heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ,
if only we suffer with him
so that we may also be glorified with him.
Gospel (Mt 28:16-20):
The eleven disciples went to Galilee,
to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.
When they all saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.
Then Jesus approached and said to them,
“All power 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, until the end of the age.”
Written by: Fr. Anthony Dinh Minh Tien, O.P.
I. THEME: Three persons of the Trinity work together to take care of human beings.
King David, the author of Psalm 8, after meditated about God’s love and human worthlessness, cried out: “When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars that you set in place– What are humans that you are mindful of them, mere mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them little less than a god, crowned them with glory and honor” (Psa 8:4-6). Not only one but all three persons of the Most Holy Trinity work together to take care of human beings. This reminds people that they have a invaluable position before God so that they must live in a way that is worthy of God’s love.
Today readings illustrate the Most Holy Trinity’s love for human beings. In the first reading, Moses reminded the Israelites two privileges which they enjoyed: God chose them as His people and gave them the Ten Commandments. In the second reading, St. Paul reminded the faithful their privilege of God’s children through their faith in Christ; they shall inherit His inheritance which is the eternal life. In the Gospel, Jesus commanded his disciples before his ascension, “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, until the end of the age.”
1/ Reading I: The Lord is the only God, there is no other.
We need to understand God’s love for the Israelites before we can understand His love for all people.
1.1/ God’s love for the Israelites: The Jews are very proud because they were chosen by God as His own people from all nations on earth. They are also proud of their Ten Commandment because there is no nation on earth whom their gods appeared and gave the law for them. Today passage generally reminded God’s love for the Israelites through some particular events.
(1) God revealed Himself for the Israelites: After crossed the Red Sea, Moses led the Israelites to the desert to be purified by God. Before they can enter the Promise Land, God wanted to give people the Ten Commandment. In order for the Israelites to recognize His power and might, He made the Sinai mountain burned like fire and He spoke to Moses from the fire. Witnessed this terrible sign, the Israelites were frightened because their eyes and ears couldn’t stand God’s power. They asked Moses that let God talk to him alone, then he shall convey to them what God wants. The Jewish tradition believed that none can survive after he saw God or His messengers, as Moses reminded the Israelites: “Did a people ever hear the voice of God speaking from the midst of fire, as you did, and live?” The Israelites enjoyed such privilege.
(2) God chose the Israelites as His own people: Moses continued to ask them, “Or did any god venture to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, with his strong hand and outstretched arm, and by great terrors, all of which the LORD, your God, did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?”
The Exodus out of Egypt is the memorial event because God showed His love and power for the Israelites by liberated them from their slavery of the Egyptians.
1.2/ The Israelites’ duties: The relationship between God and the Israelites is the covenant, ratified by both sides. God promises to love, to protect and to give His blessings for them; in exchange, the Israelites must fulfill the two following obligations:
(1) They must worship God alone: Moses said, “This is why you must now know, and fix in your heart, that the LORD is God in the heavens above and on earth below, and that there is no other.” To worship idols or not to worship above all things violates this covenant.
(2) They must keep His commandments: Moses solemnly commanded the Israelites: “You must keep His statutes and commandments which I enjoin on you today, that you and your children after you may prosper, and that you may have long life on the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you forever.” Not keeping the law, no matter how small it is, violates this covenant.
From Israel, God’s love is extended to all other nations when Christ came. From his time, the privileges to be God’s children and to have eternal life belong to all people.
2/ Reading II: Those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
2.1/ The Holy Spitit’s role: The Father is the one who sends the Holy Spirit. When He sends the Holy Spirit to anyone, that one becomes God’s children, as St. Paul declared: “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.”
There are different spirits in the world, but only one Holy Spirit. The spirit which people possessed before they receive the Holy Spirit is the spirit of slavery and of fear. When people receive the Holy Spirit, they become God’s children, and the Holy Spirit urges them to cry out to God: “Abba! Father!”
St. Paul confirmed: “The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” When we confess our faith in Christ, we become God’s adopted children (Rm 3:28, Jn 1:12). We have another witness who is the Holy Spirit, because no one can profess Christ is God without the Holy Spirit’s guidance (1 Cor 12:3). Our faith in God is the Trinitarian work.
2.2/ The Christians inherit God’s inheritance.
(1) The privilege to be God’s children: As said above, people become God’s children by professing their faith in Christ, not by any other reasons (Jn 1:13).
(2) The privilege to co-inherit with Christ: St. Paul reasoned: “And if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.” This is the great blessing which God grants to people. This means that all things God has, people have; all things Christ has, people have; all things the Holy Spirit knows, people can know. Of course, to inherit God’s inheritance, people must unite with the Trinity and be faithful with their obligations as God’s children.
(3) Those who share his sufferings shall also share his glory: In order to co-inherit with Christ, people must share in his sufferings, not only in his glory. The sufferings which Christ is enduring now is in his body, the Church which are all the faithful because all are members of the one body. This concept opens up many new ways so that we can share in Christ’s suffering:
– To soothe others’ sufferings is to soothe Christ’s suffering.
– To help others to love God and not to sin are to lessen Christ’s suffering.
– To suffer ourselves to lead others to God is to soften Christ’s suffering.
3/ Gospel: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.”
Jesus commanded his disciples: “All power 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, until the end of the age.”
3.1/ The call for missionaries: Jesus’ disciples must continue his mission which is to make all people to become the Trinitarian disciples. Jesus emphasized the two duties:
(1) To baptize them: The condition for one to be baptized is that he believes in Christ. In order for him to believe in Christ, there must be preachers of the Good News. Therefore, the most important duty of Christ’s disciples is to preach the Good News before people can believe and be baptized to become God’s new children.
(2) To teach them God’s commandments: To certify their faith, the faithful must keep all the commandments. Therefore, the second duty of Christ’s disciples is to teach people God’s commandments so that they can keep them. When the believers keep the commandments, they remain in the Trinitarian love (Jn 15:10; cf. 14:21).
3.2/ Christ’s promise to his disciples: All three persons of the Most Holy Trinity shall always be with them.
(1) Jesus was given all powers in heaven and on earth by his Father: Christ has authority over all events that happen on earth. If we eagerly preach the Good News, we shouldn’t be afraid of any power of the devil, the world or people. This conviction shall help us to be confident in preaching the Good News.
(2) Jesus is always with his disciples until the end: Jesus isn’t absent after he ascended to heaven, he presents with his disciples in different way, not in a human figure. The disciples have Jesus to help and to protect them from outside because he is sitting on the Father’s right side to intercede for them. When Jesus asked favors for his disciples, the Father shall never deny him (Jn 16:23-26). The disciples also have the Holy Spirit who works inside them, to help them to fathom what Jesus has said and to guide them to understand all the truth. If the disciples ascertain the presence of the Most Holy Trinity in their life, they shall not be afraid of anything that happen in their life and they shall be faithful to witness for Christ.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– We have an invaluable dignity before God; therefore, we must always live our life in a way that is worthy of God’s love.
– If we share in Christ’s suffering, we shall also share in his glory. In opposition, if we refuse to share in his suffering, we shall not be shared in his glory.
– The call to evangelize must always instigate us who are Christ’s disciple so that we must put our time and effort for evangelization.
– We must always be conscious of the Trinitarian presence in our life. This conscience shall help us to fulfill our faithful’s duties.