SR-2018-05-27

SUNDAY READINGS REFLECTIONS
Trinity Sunday of Ordinary Time (Cycle B) – May 27, 2018


This Sunday’s Theme: The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.

This week we return to the liturgical season of Ordinary Time. This Sunday and next Sunday, however, are designated as solemnities, special days that call our attention to the central mysteries of our faith. Today, on the first Sunday after Pentecost, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (next Sunday we celebrate the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ – Corpus Christi). Today’s feast invites us to consider what we believe about God, who has revealed Himself to us in the Trinity, one God in three Persons.


Reading 1 – Deuteronomy 4:32-34,39-40     Moses teaches the people that Yahweh is the only God.

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 33:4-6, 9, 18-20, 22     Praise to God for what He is and does.

Reading 2 – Romans 8:14-17     Through the Spirit, we have been adopted as children of God.

Gospel –  Matthew 28:16-20     Jesus sends His disciples to make disciples of all nations.


Reading 1     Deuteronomy 4:32-34,39-40                (The One God)

Context – The book of Deuteronomy (means second law, ie. the second giving of the Law) consists of three sermons or speeches delivered by Moses (when he was 120 years old), just prior to his death, to a new generation of Israelites shortly before they entered the Promised Land.  God kept the old generation in the desert for 40 years until they died out due to their refusal to follow His way as their God. Therefore, this new generation had not experienced the miracle at the Red Sea nor heard the law (Ten Commandments) given at Sinai, and they were about to enter a new land with many dangers and temptations. The book of Deuteronomy was given to remind them of God’s law and God’s power – it is a book of remembrance. Jesus quoted from this Book the most.
Today’s Reading –  On the plains of Moab, God charges Moses, now close to death, once more to proclaim the Law which he received through the revelation at Mount Sinai. This reading is filled with awe for the greatness of God.  In response to God’s goodness to them, they must be diligent in following God’s ways. If they are obedient, they will prosper in the land that God is about to give them – The Promised Land.

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?[i] 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?[ii] 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.”


PAUSE and reflect on how the above speaks to you.          The best way to motivate people to obey God is to expound upon His character and upon examples of His past loving, caring, and protective conduct, as Moses did here. Note too that Moses appealed to the self-interest of the Israelites to obey God: “that you and your children after you may prosper, and that you may have long life on the land …”
When you are getting weary waiting for God to act and wondering if He still cares, remember the following: “Memories of God’s activity in the past enable us to embrace the future. Let God do God’s work without trying to figure it out.” – From “Jesus, A Pilgrimage” by Fr. James Martin SJ. No character in a novel is ever forgotten by its author, therefore we can be confident and unafraid in this life since God is our author – ie. our Creator, our Savior, and our Comforter! 


Responsorial Psalm.     Psalm 33:4-6, 9, 18-20, 22                         (God’s People Hopes in Him)

Today’s Psalm – This psalm highlights the privilege of the people who are called to respond to the goodness and justice of God – praise to God for what He is and does. The psalmist assures the readers that God will be faithful to those who trust in Him.

R. – Blessed (i.e. Divinely favored, fortunate. One who hears the word of the Lord and keeps it.) the people the Lord has chosen to be His own.
Upright is the word of the LORD, and all His works are trustworthy. He loves justice and right; of the kindness of the Lord the earth is full.
R. – Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be His own.
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made; by the breath of His mouth all their host. For He spoke, and it was made; He commanded, and it stood forth.
R. – Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be His own.
See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear Him
(i.e. love, obey, trust and promote Him), upon those who hope for His kindness, To deliver them from death and preserve them in spite of famine.
R. – Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be His own.
Our soul waits for the LORD
(i.e. to hope, to anticipate, and to trust. ), who is our help and our shield. May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us who have put our hope in You.
R. – Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be His own.


PAUSE and reflect on how the above speaks to you. 


Reading 2     Romans 8:14-17                       (Children of God)

Context – Paul’s Letter to the Romans is the most influential of all his Epistles, and the only writing of Paul’s which is addressed to a church (congregation) which he did not establish. He addresses the grounds we have for hope in Christ. Sin and death came by Adam: grace and life by Christ. The saving work of Jesus is a major theme of Paul’s letter to the Romans – salvation is offered through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Today’s Reading –  Today we hear Saint Paul tell us that it is through the Holy Spirit that the Christian becomes a child of God, destined for glory. To be a child of God implies a willing-ness to be taught and led by Him.

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[iii] so that we may also be glorified with Him.


PAUSE and reflect on how the above speaks to you.          “those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” = The Holy Spirit animates and activates the Christian and makes one a child of God. If you put your confidence in baptism to the point that you neglect your behavior after it, Paul says that, even if you are baptized, if you are not led by the Holy Spirit afterward you will lose the dignity bestowed on you and the honor of your adoption. This is why he does not talk about those who received the Holy Spirit in the past but rather about those who are being led by the Holy Spirit now.” – Saint John Chrysostom.

Gospel     Matthew 28:16-20                                     (Disciples of the Trinity)

Context –  Matthew’s Gospel, written prior to 70 AD, is the first book of the New Testament, not because it was written first – some of Paul’s epistles take that honor – but because it is a bridge between the Old and New Testaments. His purpose was to prove to his fellow Jews that Jesus is the One to whom all the Jewish prophets point: the Messiah, the Christ, the King of the Jews. To accomplish his mission, He uses more Old Testament quotations and references than any other Gospel.
Today’s Reading –  Our Gospel reading for today is from the last five verses of the Gospel of Matthew; the five verses which Protestant Bibles call “The Great Commission.” Today’s reading takes place with Jesus’ second appearance after His resurrection in Matthew’s Gospel, the first appearance having been to the women who had come to the empty tomb.
Just as Moses gave his people a farewell speech, Matthew presents us with Jesus’ farewell speech to His apostles. He commissions them to go and “make disciples of all nations baptizing them and teaching them”—not the Law of Moses but rather “all that I have commanded you.” Matthew, writing mostly for Christians who were raised as Jews, presents Jesus as the new and greater Moses who gives them a new and greater Law. The mention of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is a clear expression of the Trinity. They are distinct and equal persons in the One God. The message ends with the assurance that Jesus will be with His Church at all times.

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[iv]. 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[v] 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 (i.e. The coming of the kingdom of God in its fullness).”


PAUSE and reflect on how the above speaks to you.          Great Commission – When God created man and woman, He gave them a cultural mandate (Gen, 1:28 – “God blessed them and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that crawl on the earth.”) Essentially this was to rule over the earth. This involves the advancement of civilization. This is the responsibility of every human being. When Jesus arose from the dead, He gave His disciples another mandate as identified in today’s Gospel reading. Essentially this was to evangelize the world. This involves the advancement of Christianity. This is the responsibility of every Christian. We should not set back and let any other religion nor ideology supplant Christianity. America was founded upon Judeo-Christian principles and precepts and we must insure it always remains that way. Plus, we must support Christian Missionaries throughout the world. We must support Jesus’ Great Commission with our time, talent and treasury.  

Catechism 266 – “Now this is the Catholic faith: We worship one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity, without either confusing the Persons or dividing the substance; for the Person of the Father is one, the Son’s is another, the Holy Spirit’s another; but the Godhead of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one, Their glory equal, Their majesty coeternal (i.e. existing with something else eternally)”

Catechism 267 – Inseparable in what They are, the Divine Persons are also inseparable in what They do. But within the single divine operation Each shows forth what is proper to Him in the Trinity, especially in the divine missions of the Son’s Incarnation and the gift of the Holy Spirit.


TRINITY

Laud and honor to the Father, Laud and honor to the Son, Laud and honor to the Holy Spirit,
Ever three and ever one,
Consubstantial, coeternal, While unending ages run. (Unknown)


[I] Reading 1 Footnotes:
“the voice of God speaking from the midst of fire” = This is a reference to when the Israelites heard God’s thunder at Mount Sinai while Moses was on the mountain.
[ii] “your God, did for you in Egypt before your very eyes” = A reference to the Exodus, the ten plagues which preceded it, and the many signs performed in the desert.
[iii] Reading 2 Footnotes:
“suffer with Him” = Carry our own crosses as Jesus did His, while continuing to have faith also as Jesus did.
[iv] Gospel Footnotes:
“but they doubted” = They doubted not of the resurrection nor divinity of Christ, but whether the person that now appeared to them after the resurrection was really their Master, Jesus Christ. – Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
[v] “in the name of” = All ambassadors, delegates, representatives speak “in the name of” the one whom they represent. In this case, Jesus tells His apostles that they are representing the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) when they are evangelizing and baptizing.