Trinity Sunday – June 19 2011
Food for thought for homilists
(Colette Furlong – Pastoral Development Officer IEC2012)
• This Sunday’s Gospel is what we proclaim it to be – good news. God’s plans for humanity are indeed plans of peace and not destruction (Jer 29:11), fullness of life and not condemnation.
• The first reading presents the first fruits of this plan, entrusted to the people of Israel in the form of the 10 Commandments. These commandments were given to Moses to help the people live out their part of the Covenant entered into with God– I will be your God, and you will be my people. The choices taught by the observance of the commandments were to be characteristic of the lifestyle of those who were to be God’s people for all time.
• As children, and throughout our lives, we are taught how to relate well with others by learning the rules – learning to share can be difficult for some, indeed for some of us adults sharing continues to be a difficult choice – terms and conditions tend to apply.
• The obligatory observance of the covenant had not been God’s plan, the law had been given as a teaching tool, to be received as a gift. The attitudes underlying the commandments were to be the beating heart of the law.
• In the fullness of time God sent his son, (Gal 4:4) who summarised the whole law with two commandments – love God and love your neighbour. Jesus did not simply teach about a law of love, but showed the people of God what love for God looks like, manifested in prayer and in love of neighbour. To love one’s neighbour is an expression of ones love for God. This is a love born not of obligation, but of the experience of having been loved first by God, which is remembered and nourished each time we gather for Eucharist.
• Trying to find language for the relationship of love between the Persons of the Trinity, St Augustine once put it like this – The Father, the source, is the Lover. The Son, begotten of the Father is the Beloved and loves the Lover. The Holy Spirit is the Love of the Lover and the Beloved shared. Sit with this for a moment. Whilst it is tidy and neat as an image, it begs the question: where do we – God’s People – fit in?
• This might be of use – invite the assembly to call to mind André Rublev’s icon of the Trinity (have one there perhaps, or in the porch for people to view on their way out, or refer to it in the parish newsletter.) Notice how the Son and the Spirit both lean towards the Father expressing their relating to each other. Notice also the empty space at the front of the icon – the space left for us. One can indeed agree with Augustine, the Father is the Lover; the Son is the Beloved; the Spirit is the Love and us? Are we not the ‘loving’, the on-going expression of God’s love? Love of God and love of neighbour finds a home in the people of God and is the heart of Christianity – Christ has no body, no hands or feet now on earth with which to reach out in love but yours, ours.
• God’s plan is one of reconciliation – the healing and re-launching of relationships. Through Christ and the Spirit we are reconciled with God the Father and with one another. Our reconciliation is expressed in our communion as one body, the visible sign (Sacrament) of which is our communion in the one bread, the one Body of Christ, to which we say ‘Amen’ – the Aramaic (Jesus mother tongue) for ‘the truth’- my truth.• As the celebration continues, invite the assembly to be more alert to the Spirit, the Love between the Father and the Son, at work in this Eucharist, and at work in their lives – helping us to embrace God’s plan of fellowship and communion – with Christ and with one another – the theme of next week’s Eucharistic Congress in Knock.
Suggestions for the liturgy:
One could say that every Sunday is Trinity Sunday, and every Christian liturgy brims over with reference to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. To mark this solemnity attention could be drawn to one, or some, of the following:
• In the Introductory Rite: Highlight the Trinitarian formula in the Sign of the Cross at the beginning and/or at the conclusion of the celebration. It draws our attention to our Baptism and the life it promises.o Use the greeting in the Missal which is that of St. Paul to the Corinthians in today’s second reading : The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
• The Profession of Faith: Introduce the Creed drawing attention to the community’s profession of faith in the Trinity. To enhance the experience, invite all to pause briefly between each statement of faith to allow time for the mind to be attuned to the voice. (SSC § 11).
• The Communion Rite: As the Communion Rite begins remind all that we are already experiencing communion with the Trinity – we join Jesus in loving the Father as we call God by name, recalling that it is by the power of the Spirit that we can ‘cry out: Abba Father’. The first word of that prayer confirms that the assembly is in communion with one another as they say/sing “ ‘OUR’ Father”.
Prayer of the Faithful
As children of God, members of a universal family, let us present our prayers with confidence to the Father.
1. For the Church.That we may ever more effectively proclaim Christ, who leads all to the Father in the Holy Spirit. Lord in your Mercy … hear our prayer.
2. For all entrusted with responsibility.May they be guided by the Spirit of love to act justly serve sincerely and walk humbly before God. Lord in your Mercy … hear our prayer.
3. For all who are on the margins of society.Through the ministry of the Church may they know the presence of the Triune God and be strengthened by the experience of belonging in community.Lord in your Mercy … hear our prayer.
4. For reconciliation and peace.May all involved seek an end to conflict, be committed to reconciliation and be united in pursuing peace for all concerned. Lord in your Mercy … hear our prayer.
5. For all who will attend the National Eucharistic Congress.May this pilgrimage lead to a new understanding of the Eucharist in the life of the Church in Ireland today as communion with Christ and with one another. Lord in your Mercy … hear our prayer.
6. For all who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith.May they be brought to their heavenly inheritance and share the life of the Trinity. Lord in your Mercy … hear our prayer.
Lord our God,You have lavished love upon us and allowed us to be called your children. Hear our prayers, made with the help of your Holy Spirit and in the name of Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. Amen