Sunday Sermon for May 31, 2015, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Year B

Readings: Dt 4:32-34, 39-40; Rom 8:14-17; Mt 28:16-20
In the first reading today we hear Moses addressing the people of Israel after their Exodus from Egypt and after they had spent much time in the desert. Moses marveled, and rightly so, that God had entered into human history, chose a people of Himself, and brought them out from another country where they had been slaves. Moses challenges the people: “Did anything so great ever happen?” “Was it ever heard of?” God had intervened personally before in His dealing with Adam, Noah, Abraham, etc. But there had never been such a clear display to so many people as He had done in Egypt.

As time went along, being human, the Israelites either forgot or ignored the intervention of God in the previous years and went their own way. After many years and much preparation through the writings of the Prophets, God entered personally into history once again in a way that would have astounded even Moses. Moses knew that God was going to raise up a Prophet like himself, but never would he have assumed that the One he was shown would be the Son of God.

Now, as the years have gone by, too many people have either forgotten or ignored the great mercy of God in the sending of His Son and they have gone their own way. In our “scientific age” where we demand proofs for everything, faith is readily rejected (except, of course, of those scientific things that we have to take on faith because they are unproven). Today we celebrate a Feast that must not only be accepted in faith, but one which, one the surface, seems to be unreasonable. For people of today, it would seem to be the height of foolishness to believe that God is three Persons. Yes, it is just as foolish as believing that God loved the world so much that He sent His Son, the second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, to be our Savior.

With no scientific proofs, people are apt to reject these truths. However, the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, has been sent into the hearts of those who are willing to open their hearts to receive Him. He is the One Who has led us to the fullness of truth regarding the Trinity. He is also the One Who brings us into intimate life and love of the three Divine Persons. As St. Paul says in the second reading those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God which allows us to call out Abba, Father.

This is something that had never been done before. How could anyone know he or she is a child of God without some specific revelation of this fact? A mere conscious thought that this is the case would be little more than having some warm, fuzzy idea that might sound cute, but have no real meaning. The truth is that to be children of God is a relational reality. To be children of God also requires that we have to be changed so that we share in the very life and nature of God. Once again, an idea of this could not make it a reality.

The revelation of God has been made and, as we read in the Gospel, a command was given to baptize in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. This baptism incorporates us into the Son of God, thus allowing us to become sons and daughters of God. The incorporation itself is brought about by the Holy Spirit. So we have become children of the Father, members of the Son who are given divine life by the Holy Spirit.

All of these points are based predicated on two facts: that there is only one God and that Jesus spoke the truth. There can be only one God if He is perfect. If God was imperfect there could be a number of gods, but there can be only one being Who is absolutely perfect. The idea that there is only one God is easy enough provided that we have the faith that He is perfect. However, the question of Jesus telling us the truth requires another huge act of faith. As it has been stated, He is either a liar, a lunatic, or He is Lord. We each have to make this determination; there are no other options. If He spoke the truth, then He is God and He is Truth itself. He also revealed and sent the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth and make us children of God. These truths are not only beyond science, they are beyond comprehension. Nonetheless, they are true regarding God and regarding you. Accept these truths and marvel at what God has done.

Fr. Altier’s column appears regularly in The Wanderer, a national Catholic weekly published in St. Paul, Minn. For information about subscribing to The Wanderer, please visit