Msgr. Joseph A. Pellegrino
The Solemnity of the Holy Trinity: An Invitation into Intimacy
Throughout the year, our parish receives inquiries from people who feel attracted to the Catholic faith. Some of these people have never been baptized into any faith. Others have been baptized. Now when people who have been baptized decide to take the step from inquiring into Catholicism to become members of our faith, we ask them to obtain a copy of their baptismal certificate. We do this for two reasons. The first reason is to be sure that they were in fact baptized. What can happen at times is that people might have grown up in a family that attended church rather infrequently. They may have been told by their parents that they were baptized, but when they have to obtain a certificate, their parents might then realized that an older brother or sister was baptized, but this particular child wasn’t.
The second reason that we need to see a copy of the Christians baptismal certificate is to be sure that he or she was baptized into the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Name of the Trinity. Jesus was quite clear into today’s Gospel and throughout the Scriptures that we are to baptize others in the Name of the Trinity, not just in His Name. Why? When a person is baptized into the Name of the Trinity, that person is brought into the intimate Life of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We celebrate the intimate life of God today. We celebrate the mystery of the infinite community of Father, Son and Holy Spirit and the eternal unity of God. We celebrate today the gift that we received at our baptism. Through baptism, we have been brought into the intimate life of God, the community of the Blessed Trinity. God’s life flowed into us at our baptism. This life was not ours to hoard. God gave us the mandate to be his instruments on earth. He called us to lead others to accept intimacy into the Divine Community: “Baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”
Jesus commands all his disciples, including us, to provide the Life of the Trinity to all who will accept his Good News, His Gospel. “Baptize in the Name of the Trinity. Extend your relationship with God to others.” To do this we have to teach others all that Jesus has taught us. We are to continue the work of Jesus.
Let’s put ourselves on the hill in today’s Gospel. We are there, basking in the love and joy of our Risen Savior. And then Jesus says to each of us, “I’m going now, but you, you take my place.”
“What?” we ask. “How can I take your place? What should I say to people?”
“Just teach people everything I have taught you. That’ll work just fine,” Jesus responds.
“But, Lord,” we protest. “How can we do that. How can we be you for others?”
“Just do what I have told you,” Jesus says, and know something, you won’t be doing it alone. I am with you always until the end of the time.”
And so we have become part of a great force, a great army. We join God, Infinite Goodness, in waging war against evil. We are fighting for the victory of good. Our goal is nothing less than the complete transformation of the world from a place of selfishness and hatred into a haven of giving and love. We are called to confront evil with good, kindness and generosity. It is not enough for us to make the world a better place. We have to make the world God’s place.
How are we to do this? Well, we simply call upon God to be present in our lives, and God does the rest. In today’s Gospel Jesus doesn’t leave the disciples or us alone. No, he tells us that He will be with us always.
Our lives are immersed in the battle for God’s Kingdom. We are involved in one of these skirmishes every time we make a decision that puts God first. But the war is not easy. The enemy is devious. We need strength to fight for God, to win for Him.
Often when we make a decision for the Lord, we are ostracized from the society that has rejected Him, or at least, put His Presence on hold until a more convenient time. For example, we make a decision that we will not get drunk, we will not take drugs, we will not engage in immoral sex. Then we are treated by people we love or at least want to be friends with as though we are religious fanatics. We pray regularly, every day and as a community on Sundays, and we are treated as though we are some sort of a religious fanatics. There are times that it seems as though everyone is against us. But everyone is not against us. Jesus is with us. He and any one of us make a majority.
“Look at the Life I have given you,” the Lord says today. “It is my life, the Divine Life of the Trinity. Give this Life to others. Proclaim my Gospel with your lives. And know that I will be with you through every situation, every choice, every
rejection, every success.”
The Kingdom of God is flourishing throughout the world. We are the Kingdom.