Trinity Sunday, Classic

2016 Homilies Sunday Homilies

John 16:12-15

Gospel Summary

In this passage from the Last Supper Discourse, Jesus tells his disciples that when the Spirit of Truth comes he will guide them in all truth. He then reveals the true nature of God as a communion of love. Everything the Father has he gives to the Son. Everything the Son has he gives to the Spirit. Everything the Spirit receives he gives to us. Thus the supreme mystery of the gospel: we human beings are offered the gift of living in the communion of eternal truth and love with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Life Implications

The structure of the Eucharistic liturgy that we celebrate enables us to express our faith that our true life even now is communion with the life of God. Each Sunday’s gospel unfolds the mystery of the gift of divine life to us. In each gospel Jesus makes all that he receives from the Father’s love visible and a gift to us through the power of the Holy Spirit.

In the Eucharistic Prayer that follows the proclamation of the gospel and homily, we lift up our hearts to be in union with the love of Christ and pray: “Through him, with him, in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever.” When, with all the angels and saints, we have said “Amen” to entire church’s prayer of gratitude, we ask our Father for the supreme gift of the Bread of Life. In receiving this Bread, which is the Lord, we enter into deeper communion of divine life. And we commit ourselves to allow all that we receive—the truth and the love—to flow through us to everyone we encounter in the circumstances of our lives.

Trinity Sunday is a good opportunity to pay special attention to what we do and pray every Sunday at Mass so that we realize more deeply that every Sunday is Trinity Sunday. In addition, the first Scripture reading (Proverbs 8:22-31) reminds us of the first affirmation of the creed that we proclaim every Sunday. Always and everywhere we ought to give thanks for the marvels of creation—gift of the Father to us through his eternal Divine Wisdom, the Word Incarnate.

We should not allow Trinity Sunday to pass by without mentioning the church’s sacramentals, which remind us of our life in the trinity of divine love. One of my favorites is the famous Russian icon painted by Andrei Rublev in the early part of the fifteenth century. The three persons of the Holy Trinity—Rublev uses the image of the three angels who came to Abraham and Sarah in Genesis 18—sit at the eucharistic table in the unity of an intimately related half-circle, beckoning to be completed. The icon reveals that we are all invited to accept the hospitality of the three divine persons in their eternal home, and to share their gift of holy bread and wine.

Rublev’s Holy Trinity icon reveals the deepest meaning of the mystery of the church as the communion of life with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit around the Eucharistic table of love. The tree of Mamre by which the Lord appeared to Abraham and Sarah is in the background of the icon. It calls to mind the tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden, and also the tree of the cross—the ultimate revelation of divine self-giving love made present for us in the Eucharist. The icon reveals the highest ideal and challenge of human existence. We are called to reflect in the church, in our families, and in our world the communion of love, which is the true nature of God. This is the glory and the joy for which we are created.

Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B.