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.


The Chief medical Health Officer of Kingston has ordered that Masks must be worn at all places we gather indoors. That includes us here at the cathedral. We can’t supply everyone with a mask so please come with one. We would have a limited supply available for a loonie at the entrance of the cathedral.
Please read and observe the six key principles outlined below.

1) The key principle is that we come to Mass to worship God. Out of justice and exercising the virtue of religion we must give God what is God’s due. That quite simply is worship, adoration and praise. Thus, the absolute essentials of Mass will be included so that the Sacramental praise of God will take place and we will be exposed to one another for as brief a time as possible.

2) The second key principle is that the health and safety of parishioners, staff and clergy here at St. Mary’s are essential and require our utmost concern and attention. Therefore, the dispensation from the obligation to come to Sunday Mass by Archbishop Mulhall continues to be in effect. Those who are sick, elderly or have other critical health concerns should not come at this time. However, that is left to your discretion. Should you make the choice to come, knowing the risks, you are most welcome.

3) The underlying principle of all of our restrictions in isolating, physically distancing, wearing masks etc. is the common good as we live out the Lord’s commission to “love one another.” We are to care for each other and at this time we are called to be as prudent and careful as we can to protect the health of everyone else and ourselves.
4) The principle for the next few weeks will be brevity. The received scientific wisdom is that the virus spreads within groups who spend a prolonged period of time together. Therefore, we will be reducing the Mass to the bare essentials.
5) Singing is considered more dangerous than speaking so you are asked to please not sing at all throughout the Mass. I will not be singing either.
6) If you have any sickness, are elderly or have a critical illness you should remain at home. The dispensation from the obligation to come to Mass continues through this time of 30% capacity. Of course, if you choose to come you will not be turned away. We will continue to live- stream the Masses until we are back to a more normal arrangement.

The Chief medical Health Officer has ordered that Masks must be worn at all places we gather indoors. That includes us here at the cathedral. We can’t supply everyone with a mask so please come with one. We would have a limited supply available for a loonie at the entrance of the cathedral.
We will pray a shorter Penitential Rite.
The Gloria will be said not sung. There is to be no singing by the congregation during the Mass. Only by a cantor or as we have today a physically distanced choir in the choir loft…3 metres apart.
We will only have one reading followed by the Psalm
The second reading will be omitted.
The choir will sing the Alleluia on Sundays. During the week it will be omitted. Please do not join in.
The Gospel.
A very brief (3-4 minute) homily will follow.
The Creed will not be prayed.
There will be no petitions. Please prepare your own petitions and offer them in your heart during the Mass.
There will be no procession of the gifts.
There will be no regular collections at this time in the Masses. It will happen later. Ushers will be at the doors to receive your offering as you leave.
The Eucharistic Prayer will be prayed. This is the Most Important Part of the Mass.
The Our Father
Sign of Peace. This is a time when we won’t shake hands. Please do not wave to each other or give the two finger sign of peace. Neither of these reflect what is the intention here…You are recognizing the presence of God in the other person and praying they know God’s peace. The most appropriate gesture is a slight bow or nod of the head to the other person. You have seen me do this at the sign of peace to all of you at every Sunday Liturgy.
Please be seated.
Then the ushers will direct you to the place where you will receive Holy Communion. Please do not leave your pew until an usher has indicated you should do so.
Another usher will be close to the Communion Station to receive your Sunday Offering.
When it is your turn to receive Holy Communion. You will stand 6 feet away on the red line. The person distributing Holy Communion will say “The Body of Christ”. You will say “Amen”. Then move forward within arms length and receive the Host. Once you have received go straight out the nearest exit and make your Thanksgiving on your way home.
Aisles 1 & 5 will come forward to receive Holy Communion and leave by the side doors.
Aisles 2, 3 & 4 will go to the back to receive Holy Communion.
Aisle 2 will exit by the exit closest to the rectory.
Aisle 3 will exit out the centre door which you came in
Aisle 4 will exit out the door by the washrooms.
You are strongly encouraged to receive Holy Communion in the hand. Receiving on the tongue endangers the person giving Holy Communion and yourself, the person receiving Holy Communion. If you wish to insist on receiving on the tongue please wait until the very end as the person giving Holy Communion should sanitize their hands after each communicant. The usher will pass you by and will come back to you after everyone else has received. Please don’t leave your pew until that has taken place.