Proverbs 8:22-31; Psalm 8:4-5, 6-7, 8-9 (R/. 2a), Romans 5:1-5; cf. Revelation 1:8; John 16:12-15
Picture the Trinity. What do you see? Perhaps it is the traditional image found in paintings and stained glass of the Father as a dignified elderly man, the risen Christ standing or sitting by his side, and the Holy Spirit as a dove, hovering over the two. The effect is rather static, frozen in eternity. Better yet to take the lead of today’s readings about an energetic, dynamic, active, God – a God who delights in creating, pouring divine love into our hearts, endlessly calling us, wooing us, surprising us, guiding us to all truth, sharing with all of us.
The mystery of the Trinity, God as Father and Son and Holy Spirit, baffles the mind. Three in One, One in Three! Who can make sense of it? Again and again all mind, heart, and spirit can do is bow down in wonder and awe. We can come to this posture in different ways: experiencing our own delight in creation, opening our hearts to the person of Jesus found in the Gospels, and being attentive to the way the Spirit continues to work in our world and our lives.
How do you imagine the Most Holy Trinity?
Acts 2:1-11; Psalm 104: 1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34 (R/. cf. 30); 1 Corinthians 12: 3b-7, 12-13 or Romans 8:8-17; Veni, Sante Spiritus; John 20: 19-23 or John 14:15-16, 23b-26
The Easter season ends with the feast of Pentecost, celebrating the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the church. Scripture speaks of the Spirit as the gift of the Father and the Risen Christ, who continues the work of creation, redemption, and sanctification in us. Through the Spirit, we are able to enter more deeply into the life and love of the Trinity. Today offers several images of how we experience the Holy Spirit:
- As a mighty wind that blows open the doors, bringing in fresh air to a room full of fearful people;
- As tongues of fire warming the disciples’ hearts and sending them out to witness to Jesus as Lord and Savior;
- As the giver of all good gifts needed by the faith community for the benefit of our world and all its people; and
- As a gentle breath of the risen Lord, bringing peace and forgiveness.
The Spirit is truly the Gift that keeps on giving.
What image captures your experience of the Spirit?
Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9; Ephesians 1:17-23; Matthew 28:19a, 20b; Luke 24:46-53
The Ascension brings the story of Jesus to its conclusion, “He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father,” we profess in the Creed. On the other hand, perhaps that is not quite accurate. The story of Jesus does not really end; it is an ongoing one. The feast of the Ascension presents Jesus as returning to the Father and interceding for us as we continue the work he left us: to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth. The Ascension releases the limits placed on Jesus when he walked the earth, preaching, teaching, healing, and driving out demons. Now he is present throughout the world through his Spirit given to his followers. Jesus has been given as “head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.” But Jesus did not signal, “Mission accomplished!” The angels say to us, “Do not just stand there. Do something.”
How can you find in this feast both comfort and challenge?
The task of interpreting the Word of God authentically has been entrusted solely to the Magisterium of the Church, that is, to the Pope and to the bishops in communion with him (CCC 100).
Acts 15:1-2, 22-29; Psalm 67:2-3, 5-6, 8 (R/. 4); Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23; John 14:23; John 14:23-29
To paraphrase Groucho Marx, “I don’t ever want to be in a club that would let someone like me be a member.” However, the opposite is usually the case. We do not want to belong to any club that would have anyone different from us as a member. The Church is one group meant to have the welcome mat out for everyone, if it is living out its calling. Of course, membership in the Church has its requirements. Baptism brings us into a community of faith given expression in its creed, ritual practices, and governance. Nevertheless, out knowledge of what is essential has developed over the centuries. Thank God for the Holy Spirit, who continues to guide us.
Today, we remember the direct connection between Jesus and the Spirit, “The Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.” The Holy Spirit continues to help us to “keep Jesus’ words” so that Jesus and the Father come to us and make their dwelling in us. The Holy Spirit is always at work to bring us into ever-deeper communion with the Trinity.
How have you experienced the Holy Spirit?