Gospel and Homily for Trinity Sunday

Homily for Trinity Sunday, 7 June 2020

Father Shawn Hughes


Homilies are never the creative act of one person. Thus, in posting this homily on St. Mary’s Cathedral’s website I would like to state first and foremost that there will be little original in the following. My homilies are a result of my prayer, reading and study as it pertains to the particular gospel of the week. Thus, I beg, borrow and steal from the wisdom of those who have gone before me and together with the Holy Spirit acting in my own prayer considering the needs of our particular parish community here at St. Mary’s, a homily appears by the weekend. If there is something that edifies you I can take no credit for it: ‘tis the result of the work of the Holy Spirit and those from whom I have gleaned wisdom over time. If there is something that you might wish to discuss I am always available and would welcome any opportunity to speak about the Scriptures and/or the Spiritual Life.

God bless you.

Father Shawn


“The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of our Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in Himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of our faith, the light that enlightens them.” (CCC 234)

“The whole history of salvation is identical with the history of the way and the means by which the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, reveals himself to us and reconciles and unites with himself those who turn away from sin.” (CCC 234)

The Key purpose of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity being incarnated in the Person of Jesus Christ is to reveal to us the mystery of the Trinity. It is something that we could not reason to ourselves. It was necessary for it to be revealed to us. And so the Father sent the Son and the Son revealed the mystery of the Trinity and then this is fully realized in the sending of the Holy Spirit.

Yesterday when I was hearing confessions through the Office Window, I held my hand up in blessing and prayed the beginning of the prayer of Absolution: “God the Father of Mercies, through the death and Resurrection of His Son, has sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sin.” That is exactly what we are celebrating. God is a merciful Father, His Son’s Death and Resurrection has won for us that Mercy, and their Spirit has been sent among us for the forgiveness of sin. There is our faith in a nutshell.

The Trinity is revealed in Scripture. Jesus says in chapter 10 of John’s gospel: “The Father and I are one.” John 10:30

“Whoever sees me sees the Father.” John 14:9

Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.’John 14:23……. we will come to them….

Just last week we celebrated the Father and Son’s Sending of their Spirit on Pentecost. (Acts 2) That is how they come to us.

We see images of the Trinity in Scripture:

At the Baptism of Jesus, with the appearance of the Holy Spirit as a Dove and the Father’s Voice from Heaven. “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)

At the Transfiguration of Jesus …. The Holy Spirit is the cloud just like in the Old Testament and again the Father’s voice from Heaven. “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him” (Matthew 17:5)

Jesus names the three persons of the Trinity together only once in Scripture….. At the end of Matthew’s Gospel: He says in the Great Commissioning: “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….. and remember I am with you always to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20.)

The Old Testament is the revelation of the Father. God outside of us.

The time when Jesus walked the earth is the revelation of the Son.

God beside us.

Since Pentecost is the time of the Spirit/the Church. God inside us.

We have the great privilege as Christians not only to know that there is a God, but to enter personally into the loving communion of Father, Son and Holy Spirit through Baptism and by living our faith in an active, grace-filled way through our prayer and receiving the other Sacraments.

Today’s Scriptures reveal to us how Holy Mother Church wants us to think of God on this Trinity Sunday.   Today’s Scriptures reveal who God is by revealing what God does. Two key aspects of God are highlighted. First who he is: Love. Second, What he does: His giving.

The Scriptures today reveal that Love is an action. Love is not a feeling. Love is an action. Love is expressed in giving.

In the first reading Moses asks God to show him his Glory. He desires to see God face to face. He wants to know the person of God. We want to see God not just as a power but as a person. Moses wants that intimate relationship with God.

Who is God to Moses: Abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness… and mercy : this is the most quoted feature of God throughout the Scriptures

Abounding in Steadfast love and faithfulness and mercy … that is who God is. And his identity corresponds to his action.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son. Two key actions of God…. so loved…. what did he do?…. he gave….. in parallel to love is giving, self-giving. John is revealing the true nature of God and he is revealing the true nature of love…..

This week’s readings highlight first God is love, ….merciful, steadfast love and second, God is giving. Love is an action, not a feeling. Such love is expressed in giving.

God is Love. God is Gift.

Let’s think a wee bit abstractly.

The Father sees His own infinite Goodness. He Gives Himself, His Infinite Goodness, to His Son. The Son Sees the Infinite Goodness that He has been gifted and He gives it back to the Father. That relationship of self-giving of each other’s infinite goodness is so powerful, so dynamic that it is a person… that is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit… that we receive in the Sacraments is the pouring into us of the infinite goodness of God.

That is who God is. God is love. And that is what God does. God loves. Gives His Infinite Goodness.

His identity is love so his deeds are love. Gift of the self. The Father Gives Himself to the Son, the Son gives Himself back and the Holy Spirit is that giving and that is poured out on us in the Sacraments and that is what we receive from the Church.

So if we are going to understand who God is we have to see God as a community of persons that is love and that is giving. And if we are going to imitate the life of that God ….our lives need to embody this giftedness. Not selfishness. Not putting myself first. …… A giving. A self-less giving to others. As His followers our identity must be love and our deeds must be loving. Then we too can live this Love in gift of self.

Some of you will recall in 2006 – in Pennsylvania the very horrible story of when a man broke into an Amish schoolhouse, ordered everyone out but the girls, tied the young girls up and proceeded to shoot them before killing himself. Five died immediately and the others still live with serious wounds. Interestingly, from the Amish, there was immediate forgiveness. Several days later they attended the funeral of the man who had killed and seriously wounded their daughters…….. The Amish formed a human wall at the graveyard so that the press couldn’t get any closer and disturb the burial and grieving of the man’s mother for her son. When asked how they could be so forgiving…….. one of their leaders responded : “It is who we are.” Love is an action. It is not a feeling. Forgiveness is a special kind of love. They hurt. They suffer. Still. An article recently written about the families stated: “They choose forgiveness every single day.” Their Forgiveness, that special kind of love, reveals who they are by what they do. Followers of Christ. The infinite goodness of God has been poured into their hearts and they have received it.

Love is an action. Love is not a feeling. Love is a choice that acts

Love is expressed in the sacrificial giving of self in imitation of our God.

This is how we reveal Him to others.

This is how we reveal that we are His followers.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now and will be forever. Amen.