Sunday reflection by Very Reverend Stephen E. Salocks, Rector of Saint John's Seminary - May 30, 2021
Today, the Church's celebration and prayer focus on the central belief of our Christian faith: The Most Holy Trinity. We take it for granted and readily profess that there are three persons in one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. When we come together to pray, whether for mass and the celebration of the sacraments or the less formal and more private moments of prayer and devotion (for example, the Rosary), we always celebrate and profess our common trinitarian faith that acknowledges One God in Three Persons.
We believe in a God who is always near us, always caring for us and always forgiving us. In the First Reading today from the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses encourages the people to think about and recall their experience of God’s presence and actions in their lives. Beginning with the moment of creation, Moses points to the way that God spoke to the people, adopted them, rescued them from slavery in Egypt, and brought them to the promised land. When we appreciate and gratefully accept what God has done for us, then, with Moses and the people of old, we declare “that the Lord is God in the heavens above and on the earth below, and that there is no other.” We want to strive to keep His commandments so that we may know and receive his promise of prosperity.
The foundation of our faith in God and our profession of God as a Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit reaches its highpoint in the event of Jesus Christ, whose life, words, and actions reveal the relationship of three persons in one God. Through Jesus Christ, you and I are brought into that same loving and life-giving relationship with our God. Saint Paul tells the Romans and us that “those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God” (Romans 8:14). Having received the Spirit of adoption, that Spirit gives us not only the confidence to call on God as “Father” but also the courage to align and join ourselves with Christ in both his suffering and his glorification.
Lastly, and most significantly, the closing verses of Matthew’s Gospel reassure us today, in a passage that was chosen especially because of its trinitarian baptismal formula “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” These are the words of the risen Christ as he commissions his apostles about how they are to carry on the work that he had begun. Over the years, many people of faith have cherished this passage because of the comforting promise Jesus makes to his disciples then and now. Jesus, who is called Emmanuel (“God with us”) at the beginning of Matthew’s Gospel, now promises his disciples, the people of God for all time, that he is with us and for us until the end of time itself. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we rely on this promise and understand that he is sending us to teach others to observe his commandments and come into this intimate relationship with God.
Today, in praise and adoration of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we pray that He who unites us to himself will continue to protect and guide us and bring us all more deeply into His divine life. May the God of perfect relationship strengthen our relationship with Him and with one another and strengthen our witness to His presence and saving power in our world.