Opening the Word: The Trinity and mission


Trinity Sunday has become abstract. Maybe, it is because the doctrine of the Trinity functions as a supreme abstraction by most of those who preach and teach in the Church.

On the one hand, there are those who never mention the Trinity at all, except with a bit of embarrassment on the first Sunday after the Easter season has ended. It is enough to say that God loves us, there is a guy named Jesus in the Bible, and we should pray for the Holy Spirit to inspire us. Language like Father and Son and Spirit — does it really help anyone be a better person?

On the other hand, some preachers and catechists spend all their energy explicating the grammar of the doctrine of the Trinity. How is the Son consubstantial with the Father? What does it mean to speak about the Trinity as three “persons” or hypostases?

The danger of this latter approach is that we lose the narrative, liturgical and thus sanctifying function of the Trinity.

Trinity Sunday is a feast of the Church not because it is an occasion to study a doctrine, employing the proper intellectual tools.

No! It is a feast because of what it means for us to worship God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

At the conclusion of the Gospel of Matthew, the disciples ascend a mountain. At this moment, they see Jesus. And then they worshipped, but they doubted.

What do they doubt?

Do they doubt that the one to whom they bend the knee is Jesus?

No! It seems that they are worried about worshipping Jesus at all.

Jesus recognizes this. He approaches them, speaks to them and consoles them. All power has been given to him. All power on heaven and earth has been given to him.

And then Jesus tells the befuddled disciples, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit …” (Mt 28:19).

We often treat this verse from Matthew as the charter of evangelization. But there is more to it. After all, we are exhorted to baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. To go to the ends of the earth in the name of the triune God.

This is why we celebrate Trinity Sunday. It is not just an occasion to ensure that everyone knows the grammar of the doctrine of the Trinity.

Rather, the God who is a total communion of love, three persons in one substance, longs for every man and woman to share in this communion of love.

The Father, who is the origin of all love, keeping nothing for himself.

The Son, who gives and gives himself in love to the Father.

The Spirit, which is the communion of love shared by the Father and Son.

We who are baptized into this relationship of total communion, of total love, must bring this to the ends of the earth.

For the disciples, those ends were closer. It was Greece. It was Rome.

For us, it is different. Those ends are every place where there is no love, no communion, all bitterness, an economy of scarcity rather than generosity, power rather than prestige. It is the margins, addressed by our Holy Father, the loveless places that too many poor and hungry and thirsty and lonely and suffering dwell in.

Go to the ends of the earth. And baptize men and women. Baptize all men and women into a communion of love that transforms their identifies, that transforms culture, that creates spaces of communion in a world of isolated monads.

Baptize it.

May 30 – Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
Dt 4:32-34, 39-40
Ps 33:4-5, 6, 9, 18-19, 20, 22
Rom 8:14-17
Mt 28:16-20


This article comes to you from OSV Newsweekly (Our Sunday Visitor) courtesy of your parish or diocese.


Catholic News & Perspective

Provides information on the Church, the nation and the world from OSV, America's most popular and trusted national Catholic news source


A move toward praying together in the Mass

Monday, July 26, 2021
By: Msgr. Owen F. Campion Action taken by Pope Francis to restrict celebration of the Mass in Latin came as no surprise to some, while a great... Read More

Opening the Word: The Bread of Life discourse: Part 1

Friday, July 23, 2021
By: Timothy P. O'Malley In years when the Church reads the Gospel of Mark, which is the shortest of the Gospels, we spend mid-summer Masses... Read More

A call to give the elderly the care and attention they deserve

Wednesday, July 21, 2021
By: Our Sunday Visitor Editorial Board Have you called or prayed for your grandparents lately? How about visited your elderly neighbor? As the... Read More

How can the Church tackle the problem of educating Catholics on the Eucharist?

Monday, July 19, 2021
By: Msgr. Owen F. Campion They are missing the forest because they see only the trees. This old saying much applies to the news media, and to... Read More

Opening the Word: Sheep without a shepher

Friday, July 16, 2021
By: Timothy P. O'Malley Jesus and the disciples have been on mission. They have walked from town to town, proclaiming the Good News. They have... Read More

Pew: Catholic homilies mention election, racism less than Protestant ones

Wednesday, July 14, 2021
  By: Mark Pattison WASHINGTON (CNS) — As news events made headlines across the United States for months last year — particularly... Read More

‘Arise’ event is a homecoming for Catholics kept from church by pandemic

Monday, July 12, 2021
By: Zoey Maraist CHANTILLY, Va. (CNS) — Everyone thought that Jairus’ daughter was dead. Jesus, however, assured them she was only... Read More

Opening the Word: The return to basics

Friday, July 9, 2021
By: Timothy P. O'Malley Jesus sends the Twelve out in groups of two. Their supplies are basic. No food. No money. Not even a change of... Read More

Editorial: How do we spread the Gospel amid an increasingly secular culture? We offer three possible solutions

Wednesday, July 7, 2021
By: Our Sunday Visitor Editorial Board At the Religious Liberty Summit hosted by the University of Notre Dame’s Law School at the end of... Read More

A National Eucharistic Revival may be coming. What does that mean?

Monday, July 5, 2021
By: Brian Fraga Commissioning “Eucharistic missionaries” is an idea that has “captured the imagination” of people involved... Read More

Online Giving

Online Giving

Secure and Convenient Donate now!