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The Trinity and His Dwelling

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The Trinity and His Dwelling

Roman Rite – Year C – May 22, 2016 “€“ Most Holy Trinity Sunday

Prv 8.22 to 31; Ps 8; Rom 5, 1-5; Jn 16, 12-15 –

Ambrosian Rite

Gen 18, 1-10a; Ps 104; 1 Cor 12.2 to 6; Jn 14.21 to 26

1) The Sign of the Cross and the Trinity.

Today we are called to celebrate the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. To help living and celebrating this feast of love, before commenting the Gospel, I”€™d like to recall that the profession of faith in the Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit- is related to the sign of the Cross. This practice of piety “is and remains the fundamental gesture of the Christian prayer … The sign of the cross is above all an event of God: the Holy Spirit leads us to Christ and Christ opens for us the door to the Father. God is no longer the unknown God; He has a name. We can call him, and He calls us “(Benedict XVI).

With the sign of the Cross we immerse ourselves in God Trinity, as  it is written in the Greek text of the Gospel according to St. Matthew (Mt 28:19). In fact, sending his disciples on a mission throughout the world, Christ tells them to baptize “in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”€. In the Greek text it is used the preposition “eis and not “en. Here “in the name of the Trinity has not the same meaning used, for example, when an ambassador speaks “in the name “of the government, that is by authority, representing those who send him.

The Greek text has: “eis to onoma”€ which means “to or inside (indicating a movement) the name. “Therefore the sign of the Cross is an immersion in the name of the Trinity, an entry in the name of the Trinity, an interpenetration of the being of God and of our being, a being immersed in the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in the same way as in marriage two people become one flesh, a new and only one reality with a new and only one name “(Benedict XVI).

“€œTo make the sign of the cross is also  “to say yes to Jesus Christ, who suffered for us and, in his body given up for us, has made visible the love of God up to the total gift of himself.

Moreover “to make the sign of the cross is to put ourselves under the protection of the cross as a shield that protects us in the small and great hardships of life in general and of our daily life in particular. The cross is a sign of passion, but at the same time also a sign of the resurrection. It is, so to speak, the walking stick of salvation that God offers us, the bridge over which we overcome the abyss of death and of all the threats of evil so that we can reach him.

Finally (but these reasons for making the sign of the cross are not the only ones), in making, at least in the morning, the sign of the cross we thank God the Father for the new day that he gives us, we pray Christ and entrust our lives to him, and we ask the Spirit to illuminate all our daily actions. We start the day in the sign of the Trinitarian love, entering the communion of love of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

2) The Trinity in today”€™s Gospel.

Let me now comment the very short Gospel text (Jn 16, 12-15) of the Mass for this Sunday of the Trinity. In these few verses the close relationship of love, knowledge and communion among the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit emerges. The words of Jesus make us plunge into the mystery of the Trinity with the fundamental need of the knowledge of the truth that is nothing but love. In this way, more and more we understand that God is Father (the fruitful source), Son (the Word made flesh, near and brotherly love) and Spirit (love made embrace).

Therefore the Trinity is a mystery to adhere to even if it is irrelevant for the everyday life. On the contrary, these three divine persons are more “intimate in life: in fact, they are not outside us, like a wife or a husband, but within us. They “dwell in us (Jn 14, 23), we are their “temple and we dwell in them.

Our life unfolds throughout the sign and in the presence of the Trinity. At the beginning of life, we were baptized “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. It is in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit that we have been confirmed, the bride and groom are united in marriage and the priests are consecrated by the bishop. At the end of our life let”€™s make sure that these words are prayed: “Leave, Christian soul, this world in the name of the Father who created you, the Son who redeemed you and the Holy Spirit who has sanctified you “.

To believe in the Trinity is to believe that God is love because from the eternity he has “in his bosom a Son, the Word, who loves us with an infinite love that is the Holy Spirit. As recalled by St. Augustine, in every love there are always three realities or subjects: one who loves, one who is loved and the love that unites them. This great holy Bishop wrote: “God the Father is the Lover, the Son is the Beloved, and the Holy Spirit is Love.

The Christian God is triune because he is communion of love. He is also the answer to certain atheists who say that God is a projection that man makes of himself, like a person who mistakes for someone else his or her own reflection in a puddle of water or in a lake. This could be valid for any other idea of God, but not for the Christian God. What need would have a man to separate himself in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, if indeed God were the projection that he makes of his own image?

To the objection that says that this mystery of the Trinity is too difficult, I answer with an invitation to humbly celebrate God as he is known in himself also paying the homage of a constant gratitude to the glorious Trinity. God One and Triune not only has created us in his image and likeness, but has taken possession of our loving person and has elevated him or her to an extraordinary magnitude: the Father has adopted us in his incarnate Son; the Word illuminates our intellect with his light; the Holy Spirit has chosen us as his home.

3) The Trinity in us.

At this point one may wonder how to guard this carnal Temple of the Spirit. Not only by avoiding the sin which profanes this house and offends God, but living in the grace of God and cultivating a pure and docile heart to the Spirit.

It is true that through Baptism we have all become the Temple, that is, the sacred abode of the Holy Spirit.

It is also true that every “woman has in her some peculiar connotations that, already in the Old Testament, have made her a symbol of the spousal relationship between God and his people. These are physical characteristics, so that in the current language the word “virgin is applied almost exclusively to a woman, and psychic and spiritual characteristics related to her innate ability to be open to welcome and to give herself with fidelity (see Mulieris dignitatis, 20). Therefore it is more for a woman than for a man that consecrated virginity has value as a sign and a reality.

In this regard it is of help the solemn prayer of the consecration of the Virgin that says: “€œLoving Father, chaste bodies are your temple; you delight in sinless hearts. The souls pure and pristine … now look with favor a handmaids. They place in your hands their resolve to live in chastity You inspire them to take this vow; now they give you their hearts“€¦ Through the gift of your Spirit, Lord, give them modesty with right judgment, kindness with true wisdom, gentleness with strength of character, freedom with the grace of chastity. Give them the warmth of love, to love you above all others. Make their lives deserve our praise, without seeking to be praised. May they give you glory by holiness of action and purity of heart. May they love you and fear you; may they love you and serve you”€¦ They have chosen you above all things; may they find all things in possessing you.”€ (Rite of the Consecration to a life of virginity for women living in the world)

By grace, all Christians are a Temple where God takes his dwelling, but the consecrated virgins testify in a special way to be the holy home of God. For this reason, already in the Middle Ages, John of Ford has summed up the Church’s teaching: “€œThe temple of God is holy, and I refer to the whole church of the saints who live in the married state, in the state of widowhood or in virginal chastity. But the most inner part or, so to speak, the ‘holy of holies’ of this temple is occupied by those who, free from marital ties by their purity, yearn to the highest peaks of virginity “. (Sermo 52)

Patristic Reading

Saint Augustine of Hippo (354 “€“ 430)

Tractate CI. On Jn 16,16-23.

1). These words of the Lord, when He says, “€œA little while, and ye shall no more see me: and again a little while, and ye shall see me; because I go to the Father,”€ were so obscure to the disciples, before what He thus says was actually fulfilled, that they inquired among themselves what it was that He said, and had to confess themselves utterly ignorant. For the Gospel proceeds, “€œThen said some of His disciples among themselves, What is this that He saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again a little while, and ye shall see me; and, Because I go to the Father? They said therefore, What is this that He saith, A little while we know not what He saith.”€ This is what moved them, that He said, “€œA little while, and ye shall not see me: and again a little while, and ye shall see me.”€ For in what precedes, because He had not said, “€œA little while,”€ but only, “€œI go to the Father and ye shall see me no more,”€1 He appeared to them to have spoken, as it were, quite plainly, and they had no inquiry among themselves, regarding it. But now, what was then obscure to them, and was shortly afterwards revealed, is already perfectly manifest to us: for after a little while He suffered, and they saw Him not; again, after a little while He rose, and they saw Him. But how the words are to be taken that He used, “€œYe shall no more see me,”€ inasmuch as by the word “€œmore”€2 He wished it to be understood that they would not see Him afterwards, we have explained at the passage where He said, The Holy Spirit “€œshall convince of righteousness, because I go to the Father, and ye shall see me no more;”€3 meaning thereby, that they would never afterwards see Christ in His present state of subjection to death.


1 Chap. 16,10.

2 The English version has here, “€œYe shall not see me,”€ reading ouj in the original, with the Alexandrine Codex. Several of the others, however (including the Sinaitic), have oujkevti (“€œno more”€), rendered by Augustin jam non, which has thus the greater weight of authority on its side.-Tr.

3 Above, Tract. XCV.

4 (Jc 4,4).

5 (Rm 6,9,

6 Greek, ejrwthvsete.

7 (Ac 1,6,

8 (Ac 7,59,

9 Chap. 20,27.

10 Chap. 14,21.

11 (1Jn 3,2,

12 Chap. 17,3.

13 (1Co 13,12,

14 Chap. 14,8, 10.

15 (1Jn 2,18).

16 (Ac 1,3 Ac 1,9.

17 (Mt 28,20,

18 (Rm 12,12,


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