Last Sunday, I had the privilege of celebrating the Baptism of five children, including my granddaughter. In the Baptism service, as the water is poured over the child’s head, the celebrant says, ‘I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.’ Notice, that the celebrant says the ‘name’ and not the ‘names’. This is significant, this is because “there is only God, the almighty Father, his only Son, and the Holy Spirit: the Most Holy Trinity.” [CCC233]
Through our baptism we became new creations, called to obey the Father, by following the example of the Son, enriched and empowered by the graces we receive through the Holy Spirit.
In today’s first reading; which is taken from the Book of Exodus immediately after the Chosen people had strayed by worshipping a Golden calf; Moses pleads for the people and calls upon God to be merciful; he begs God to forgive them and to restore the Covenant; which God does. God being merciful, gracious, slow to anger, faithful and kind.
How many of these qualities are we able to muster when someone offends us? I know that I can get angry very quickly but am also blessed to be able to calm down reasonably quickly too. I try to forgive and see the best in people, often giving people a chance to make amends, I will try to help those close to me to calm down, asking them to try and see things from the other person’s perspective.
In the second reading we have a familiar blessing, which is taken from the end of the 2nd Letter of St Paul to the Corinthians. “The grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.” This was preceded by a hope that they can be united, live in peace so that the God of love and peace can remain with them. If we look at social media and in the Catholic Press there appear to be many factions gathering pace within the Church; some even contemplating life outside of the Church. This is not to happen with us. We are called to be brothers and sisters to one another. The only way to live as brothers and sisters is to stay united, remain close to God; that way God remains close to us.
What can I do to support unity in the Church? For me it means learning when to listen and help the speaker feel listened to and balancing that with challenging if I believe the speaker is harming the unity of our Church. I can also choose which Church commentators to listen to and which to drop. Starving some of the more destructive elements of their oxygen; reduces the spread of their disruption.
In today’s Gospel we hear the message Jesus gave to Nicodemus. God the Father sent his only Son to save the world. Salvation is secure for those who believe, but those who refuse to believe are condemned. This message was not just for Nicodemus or the Jewish people. It is for the whole world. It is still valid today. We need to believe in The Holy Trinity, the One True God who lives in unity and desires us to be in union with Him.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
CCC 202, 232-260, 684, 732: the mystery of the Trinity
CCC 249, 813, 950, 1077-1109, 2845: the Trinity in the Church and her liturgy
CCC 2655, 2664-2672: the Trinity and prayer
CCC 2205: the family as an image of the Trinity
I found this posted on Twitter by a Catholic priest [Fr. R.M. Vierling] –
When we cross ourselves, let it be with a real sign of the cross. Instead of a small cramped gesture that gives no notion of its meaning, let us make a large unhurried sign, from forehead to breast, from shoulder to shoulder, consciously feeling how it includes the whole of us, our thoughts, our attitudes, our body and soul, every part of us at once. how it consecrates and sanctifies us. It does so because it is the Sign of the universe and the sign of our redemption. On the cross Christ redeemed mankind.
By the cross he sanctifies man to the last shred and fibre of his being. We make the sign of the cross before we pray to collect and compose ourselves and to fix our minds and hearts and wills upon God. We make it when we finish praying in order that we may hold fast the gift we have received from God. In temptations we sign ourselves to be strengthened; in dangers, to be protected. The cross is signed upon us in blessings in order that the fulness of God’s life may flow into the soul and fructify and sanctify us wholly.
Think of these things when you make the sign of the cross. It is the holiest of all signs. Make a large cross, taking time, thinking what you do. Let it take in your whole being,–body, soul, mind, will, thoughts, feelings, your doing and not-doing,– and by signing it with the cross strengthen and consecrate the whole in the strength of Christ, in the name of the triune God.Romano Guardini, Sacred Signs (1911)
Please keep in your prayers this week
- The success of the pastoral area formation programme ‘The Wild Goose’ which we are using as part of the Year of the Holy Spirit.
- The success of the forthcoming Diocesan Life in the Spirit programme starting in June.
- Those who are sick, those recovering from surgery, those who are dying, the recently deceased and those who mourn.
- All those struggling to feed their families at this time.
- Those working to help others who are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.
- Our young people preparing to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation next weekend in Portsmouth Cathedral.
- Those discerning a vocation.
- Those preparing to be ordained to the priesthood or diaconate.