Trinity Sunday (B)
May 25, 2024
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.

Introit

 

Kyrie

 

Gloria

 

Collect

God our Father, who by sending into the world
the Word of truth and the Spirit of sanctification
made known to the human race your wondrous mystery,
grant us, we pray, that in professing the true faith,
we may acknowledge the Trinity of eternal glory
and adore your Unity, powerful in majesty.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.

FIRST READING  Deuteronomy 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."

RESPONSORIAL PSALM          Psalm 33:4-5, 6, 9, 18-19, 20, 22

R/. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.


SECOND READING  Romans 8:14-17

Brothers and sisters:
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children 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.

ALLELUIA  Cf. Rev. 1:8

GOSPEL Matthew 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."

Catena Nova

It is not easy to find a name that will suitably express so great an excellence, unless it is better to speak in this way: the Trinity, one God, of whom are all things, through whom are all things, in whom are all things. Thus the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and each of these by Himself, is God, and at the same time they are all one God; and each of them by Himself is a complete substance, and yet they are all one substance. The Father is not the Son nor the Holy Spirit; the Son is not the Father nor the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is not the Father nor the Son: but the Father is only Father, the Son is only Son, and the Holy Spirit is only Holy Spirit. To all Three belong the same eternity, the same unchangeableness, the same majesty, the same power. In the Father is unity, in the Son equality, in the Holy Spirit the harmony of unity and equality. And these three attributes are all one because of the Father, all equal because of the Son, and all harmonious because of the Holy Spirit (St. Augustine of Hippo).

Let all of us, wherever we are, in every place, at every hour, at every time of day, everyday and continually, believe truly and humbly, and keep in [our] heart, and love, honor, adore, service, praise and bless, glorify and exalt, magnify and give thanks to, the most high and supreme eternal God, Trinity and Unity, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Creator of all, Savior of all who believe in Him and hope in Him and love Him, Who is without beginning and without end, unchangeable, invisible, indescribable, ineffable, incomprehensible, unfathomable, blessed, worthy of praise, glorious, exalted on high, sublime, most high, gentle, loveable, delectable and totally desirable above all else forever. Amen (St. Francis of Assisi).

Although it was by a common benevolence that the Trinity saved our race, each one of the blessed persons played his own part. The Father was reconciled, the Son reconciled, and the Holy Spirit was the gift bestowed upon those who were now God’s friends. The Father set us free, the Son was our ransom, and the Spirit our liberty, for Paul says, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” The Father recreated us through the Son, but it “is the Spirit who gives life....” God bestowed many blessings on his creation in every age, but you will not find any of them being ascribed to the Father alone, or to the Son, or to the Spirit. On the contrary, all have their source in the Trinity, which performs every act by a single power, providence, and creativity (Nicholas Cabasilas).

I saw no difference between God and our substance, but, as it were, all God; and still my understanding accepted that our substance is in God, that is to say that God is God, and our substance is a creature in God. For the almighty truth of the Trinity is our Father, for he made us and keeps us in him. And the deep wisdom of the Trinity is our Mother, in whom we are enclosed. And the high goodness of the Trinity is our Lord, and in him we are enclosed and he in us. We are enclosed in the Father, and we are enclosed in the Son, and we are enclosed in the Holy Spirit. And the Father is enclosed in us, the Son is enclosed in us, and the Holy Spirit is enclosed in us, almighty, all wisdom and all goodness, one God, one Lord (Julian of Norwich).

Let us then all, learned and unlearned, gain this great benefit from the mystery of the Ever-Blessed Trinity. It is calculated to humble the wise in this world with the thought of what is above them, and to encourage and elevate the lowly with the thought of Almighty God, and the glories and marvels which shall one day be revealed to them. In the Beatific Vision of God, should we through His grace be found worthy of it, we shall comprehend clearly what we now dutifully repeat and desire to know, how the Father Almighty is truly and by Himself God, the Eternal Son truly and by Himself God, and the Holy Ghost truly and by Himself God, and yet not three Gods but one God (St. John Henry Newman).

Because the Christian God is not a lonely God, but rather a communion of three persons, faith leads human beings into the divine communion. One cannot, however, have a self-enclosed communion with the Triune God- a “foursome,” as it were– for the Christian God is not a private deity. Communion with this God is at once also communion with those others who have entrusted themselves in faith to the same God. Hence one and the same act of faith places a person into a new relationship both with God and with all others who stand in communion with God (Miroslav Volf).

The "name" of the Most Holy Trinity is in a certain way impressed upon everything that exists, because everything that exists, down to the least particle, is a being in relation, and thus God-relation shines forth, ultimately creative Love shines forth. All comes from love, tends toward love, and is moved by love, naturally, according to different grades of consciousness and freedom....The strongest proof that we are made in the image of the Trinity is this: only love makes us happy, beacause we live in relationm and we live to love and be loved (Pope Benedict XVI).

Homily

Free At Last

            Have you heard of The 1619 Project?  It’s an effort by journalists that "aims to reframe the country's history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the very center of the United States’ national narrative."  It was launched two years ago to commemorate the arrival of the first African slaves to colonial Virginia.  Not without controversy – and the occasional correction for accuracy – the project had drawn the ire of people like Sen. Mitch McConnell who has objected to including the Project in public school curricula while school boards in several parts of the country have reacted against the teaching of “critical race theory” in schools with an oft-related denial that systemic racism exists in the United States.  Then there’s legislation in state houses across the country whose likely consequence will be voter suppression of Black and Brown persons in particular. McConnell has also made defeat of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act before Congress a priority: All this against the backdrop this past week of the first anniversary of George Floyd’s murder and the centennary of the Tulsa Race Massacre.

            Among those, however, who escaped slavery was the Servant of God, John Augustine Tolton -- the first African-American Catholic priest whose cause for canonization is moving forward.  He escaped with his mother and two siblings by crossing the Mississippi into Illinois.  Once across his mother said to him, “John, boy,  you’re free.  Never forget the goodness of the Lord.”  He would one day found a church, St. Monica’s, in Chicago for black Catholics and died in 1897 at the age of 43.

            A better-known former slave who was able to taste freedom was the famous Frederick Douglass, who directed Rochester, New York’s branch of the Under­ground Railroad, and who helped many a slave “transfer” from South to North.  In the narrative he wrote of his life, Douglass recounted the “bitterest dregs” slavery under his master, Mr. Covey, on a plantation near Chesapeake Bay, when he was but 16 years old.

            He writes, “We were worked in all weathers.  It was never too hot or too cold; it could never rain, blow, hail, or snow, too hard for us to work in the field.  Work, work, work, was scarcely more the order of the day than of the night.  The longest days were too short for him, and the shortest nights too long for him.  I was somewhat unmanageable when I first went there, but a few months of this discipline tamed me.  Mr. Covey succeeded in breaking me.  I was broken in body, soul, and spirit.  My natural elasticity was crushed, my intellect languished, the disposition to read departed, the cheerful spark that lingered about my eye died; the dark night of slavery closed in upon me; and behold a man transformed into a brute!” (Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Chapter X).

            Now it was to an enslaved nation that the God of Israel spoke, out of the fire while they stood at the foot of the mountain, Sinai (I).  To a people who were no people, a God of mercy drew near calling them forth into freedom.  So astounding was this unheard of election, that their leader, Moses, was forced to ask: Has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by terrifying displays of power, as the Lord God did for [them] in Egypt before [their] very eyes? (I)

            Henceforth, ransom from slavery would be a theme central of the Bible.  The main event of the Old Testament, the Exodus, was a passover from servitude to freedom.  While the main event of the New -- Jesus’ Paschal Mystery -- was likewise a passover from the chains of death to a new life of freedom in the Spirit.  Thus could Paul tell a congregation which was itself made up in part of slaves held in bondage to Rome: You did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption (II).

            Of course, little of this makes sense to someone who has never been enslaved.  So the question is, “Do we or do we not know something of this?”  Surely, anyone in bondage to opioids or ensnared by human trafficking knows firsthand what loss of freedom is all about.  As does anyone who has struggled with endless loops of destructive or unhealthy behavior, what Dr. Gerald May did not hesitate to call addiction, namely “any compulsive, habitual behavior that limits the freedom of human desire.” (Addiction and Grace, 24)

            So whether what binds our desire comes in the form of some action, some thing, or some person, we all know what loss of freedom entails.  We know what makes us unfree; what breaks us in body, soul and spirit; what transforms us into something more brutish than human.  And we know, too, the fear that overcomes any slave when faced with such a cruel master; the fear we will be forever barred from the promised land, unable to keep God’s statutes and commandments given for our own well-being (I).  

            But I suspect we know too the hope of freedom, a taste for it given us whenever we muster the courage to resist what enslaves us.  Frederick Douglass found such courage one day in a barn, courage to subdue his master’s cruelty.  He writes how in that moment, “from whence came the spirit I don’t know, I resolved to fight. . . .  My resistance was so entirely unexpected, that Covey seemed taken all aback.  He trembled like a leaf. . . .  We were at it for nearly two hours.  Covey at length let me go. . . .  This battle with  Mr. Covey was the turning-point in my career as a slave.  It rekindled the few expiring embers of freedom, and revived within me a sense of my own manhood.  It recalled the departed self-confidence, and inspired me again with a determination to be free.  The gratification afforded by the triumph was a full compensation for whatever else might follow, even death itself.  He only can understand the deep satisfaction which I experienced, who has himself repelled by force the bloody arm of slavery.  I felt as I never felt before.  It was a glorious resurrection, from the tomb of slavery, to the heaven of freedom.  My long-crushed spirit rose, cowardice departed, bold defiance took its place; and I now resolved that, however long I might remain a slave in form, that day had passed forever when I could be a slave in fact” (ibid.)

            And such a day has passed for us too: who are led by the Spirit of God.  For no matter what threatens our freedom, we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ (II).  This is our birthright, given to us the day we were baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (G) -- a right no one can take from us.  And though we still struggle to be free: suffering, as Paul says, with [Christ], so that we may also be glorified with him (II), nothing can finally rob us of our inheritance, kept for us in heaven, where Jesus lives and reigns, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.  Amen.

Nicene Creed

 

Intercessions (Peter Scagnelli; Prayers for Sunday and Seasons)

Let us pray without fear as a people loved by the Lord, who has done mighty deeds for us.

For the church, sent to make disciples of all nations: May we teach what Christ has commanded in the gospel of love.

For all the peoples of earth, created in God’s image: May the world find the way to peace in God’s statutes and commandments.

For those enslaved by human oppressions or inner fears: May the Spirit within them lead them to the freedom of the children of God.

For married couples, parents and children, for those who live in religious communities: May their mutual love reflect to all the image of the Triune God.

For the sick and suffering members of our community: May they find strength in joining their sufferings to those of Christ and hope in the assurance of being glorified with Christ.

For all of us: May our love and service of others bear witness to the nearness of God’s abiding love.

For those disciples who have died in Christ: Heirs of God, may they live forever in the land God has destined for us.

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 Christ our Lord. Amen. (ICEL; 1998)

Offertory Antiphon

Offertory Hymn

(Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom)

Let us who mystically represent the cherubim,

and who sing the thrice-holy hymn to the life-creating Trinity,

now lay aside all earthly cares./

That we may receive the King of all,

Who comes invisibly upborn by the angelic hosts. Alleluia!

Communion Antiphon

Closing Hymn (St. Patrick's Breastplate)

 

I bind unto myself today

The strong Name of the Trinity,

By invocation of the same

The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this today to me forever

By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;

His baptism in Jordan river,

His death on Cross for my salvation;

His bursting from the spicèd tomb,

His riding up the heavenly way,

His coming at the day of doom.

I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power

Of the great love of cherubim;

The sweet ‘Well done’ in judgment hour,

The service of the seraphim,

Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word,

The Patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls,

All good deeds done unto the Lord

And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today

The virtues of the star lit heaven,

The glorious sun’s life giving ray,

The whiteness of the moon at even,

The flashing of the lightning free,

The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,

The stable earth, the deep salt sea

Around the old eternal rocks.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,

Christ behind me, Christ before me,

Christ beside me, Christ to win me,

Christ to comfort and restore me.

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,

Christ in hearts of all that love me,

Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,

The strong Name of the Trinity,

By invocation of the same,

The Three in One and One in Three.

By Whom all nature hath creation,

Eternal Father, Spirit, Word

Praise to the Lord of my salvation,

Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

 

 

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