The Pastoral Preaching Web Site- Homily

The Pastoral Preaching Web Site




Athenaeum Summer Preaching Institute

Feature Article: Preaching in the Face of Violence.

Meet our Scripture Scholars

Meet our Preachers

Other Homiletic Resources

The Athenaeum of Ohio

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati

June 18, 2000
Trinity Sunday (B)
Deut 4:32-34, 39-40; Rom 8:14-17; Matt 28:16-20
Terrance Callan

On Trinity Sunday we celebrate our belief that God is three persons who have one divine nature.  The readings for this Sunday illuminate various aspects of this belief.

The reading from the book of Deuteronomy tells us that the oneness of God was clearly revealed to the people of Israel.  As the Israelites prepared to enter the promised land, Moses recalled and interpreted their recent experiences.  He reminded them that God had taken them as his own nation from the midst of Egypt by means of signs and wonders.  Then God spoke to them from the midst of fire when he made a covenant with them at Mount Sinai.  Moses told the people to examine the entire history of the universe and discover that nothing so great ever happened before.

On the basis of these experiences the people of Israel must know and fix in their heart "that the Lord is God in the heavens above and on earth below, and there is no other."  And they must keep God's commandments.

The other two readings tell us that the one God is three distinct persons, a mystery revealed to the followers of Jesus.  The reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Romans speaks about our involvement in the relationships among God the Father, Christ and the Spirit of God.

Paul says that those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.  Possession of the Holy Spirit makes us children of God the Father, draws us into the trinitarian life of God.  This is so because possession of the Holy Spirit is an aspect of our union with Christ.  To be a follower of Christ is to be united with him in such a way that "we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him."  As Paul says elsewhere (e.g., Romans 12:4), to be a follower of Christ is to be part of the body of Christ, sharing in the life of Christ as the parts of his physical body do.

As we saw in the readings for Pentecost last Sunday, the Holy Spirit is the breath of Christ, the life he shares with the Father.  When we become part of the body of Christ, the Holy Spirit becomes our life.  Because of this, being led by the Spirit of God is equivalent to being part of the body of Christ.  Being led by the Spirit of God implies union with Christ, so that whatever is true of Christ is also true of us.  Since Christ is son of God, those who are led by the Spirit of God are also children of God.

The reading from the gospel according to Matthew is the story of Jesus' final appearance to his eleven disciples after his resurrection.  Jesus appeared to them on a mountain in Galilee and said, "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me."  What is implied is that God the Father has given Jesus all power.  Then he commissioned his disciples to make disciples of all nations, "baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

In light of the reading from Romans, we can see why we are baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Baptism unites us with Jesus, which means that we also share the Holy Spirit with Jesus and the Father, and become children of the Father, like Jesus.  Baptism begins a life in and with the triune God.