Background on the Gospel Reading
This week we return to the liturgical season of Ordinary Time. This Sunday and next Sunday, however, are designated as solemnities, special days that call our attention to central mysteries of our faith. Today, on the first Sunday after Pentecost, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. This feast invites us to consider what we believe about God, who has revealed himself to us in the Trinity—one God in three persons.
The verses of today’s Gospel come near the end of Jesus’ long discourse at the Last Supper. In the early part of this discourse, as we saw last week on Pentecost, Jesus offers assurances to the disciples. Even though he must leave the disciples, he tells them that they will have a future because of the help he will send them in the Holy Spirit. In this section he focuses more on the shape of the future, which will include Jesus’ victory over the world that they will share in. The disciples of Jesus cannot know the future. They can only know that, whatever shape the future takes, they will not have to face it alone. They have the Spirit of Truth, who will continue to provide the teaching of Jesus in the future.
Reading this passage on Trinity Sunday reinforces our understanding of the unity shared by the members of the Trinity. Although the idea of one God in three persons remains a mystery, we have the assurance that, as Jesus and the Father share all, Jesus and the Spirit share all.
Gospel: John 16:12-15
The Spirit of truth will lead you to the complete truth
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘I still have many things to say to you but they would be too much for you now. But when the Spirit of truth comes he will lead you to the complete truth, since he will not be speaking as from himself but will say only what he has learnt; and he will tell you of the things to come. He will glorify me, since all he tells you will be taken from what is mine. Everything the Father has is mine; that is why I said: All he tells you will be taken from what is mine.’
Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. The Nicene Creed articulates the mystery of the Trinity with the wonderful phrase “begotten not made,” meaning that the Son is not a creature but rather shares in the selfsame nature as the Father. The Holy Spirit is then the life-giving love breathed out between the Father and the Son.
In today’s Liturgy we’re swept through time in glorious procession—from before earth and sky were set in place to the coming of the Spirit upon the new creation, the Church.
We begin in the heart of the Trinity, as we listen to the testimony of Wisdom in today’s First Reading. Eternally begotten, the first-born of God, He is poured forth from of old in the loving delight of the Father.
Through Him the heavens were established, the foundations of the earth fixed. From before the beginning, He was with the Father as His “Craftsman,” the artisan by which all things were made. And He took special delight, He tells us, in the crowning glory of God’s handiwork—the human race, the “sons of men.”
In today’s Psalm, He comes down from heaven, is made a little lower than the angels, comes among us as “the Son of Man” (see Hebrews 2:6–10).
All things are put under His feet so that He can restore to humanity the glory for which we were made from the beginning, the glory lost by sin. He tasted death that we might be raised to life in the Trinity, that His name might be made glorious over all the earth.
Through the Son, we have gained grace and access in the Spirit to the Father, as Paul boasts in today’s Epistle (see Ephesians 2:18).
The Spirit, the Love of God, has been poured out into our hearts—a Spirit of adoption, making us children of the Father once more (see Romans 8:14–16).
This is the Spirit that Jesus promises in today’s Gospel.
His Spirit comes as divine gift and anointing (see 1 John 2:27), to guide us to all truth, to show us “the things that are coming,” the things that were meant to be from before all ages—that we will find peace and union in God, we will share the life of the Trinity, we will dwell in God as He dwells in us (see John 14:23; 17:21).
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe in you. I believe you have called me to the faith and to share that faith. I trust that you will fill me with your spirit of courage and truth, so that I might faithfully assimilate and transmit the faith. I love you. I want to love you more with my prayer and with my life, and so grow in the unity of the love you share with your Father and the Holy Spirit.
Petition: Lord Jesus, help me to understand better and adore this great mystery of the Holy Trinity.
1. Standing Between Heaven and Earth: Jesus Christ stands on the mountain of the Ascension, drawing all creation back to his Heavenly Father. He stands between heaven and earth as our God, our redeemer, our best friend, and as one who will walk with us every step of the way. Together with the disciples, let us adore him. Lord, we worship you, we thank you, we adore you. We thank you for your great goodness, burning love and unfathomable mercy. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
2. Go Therefore and Make Disciples of All Nations: What does Jesus do with his power over heaven and earth? He uses it to unite sinful men with the all-holy God. How almighty his power must be to transform sinners into children of God and heirs of heaven. And how does Jesus bring about this transformation? He empowers his apostles to teach his truth and transmit a participation in his divine life. Lord Jesus, thank you for the light of truth that dispels the darkness of our minds. Thank you for the life of grace bestowed upon us in baptism. And thank you, Lord, for the bishops and priests who bring us — through your divine power — God’s own truth and a share in the life of the most blessed Trinity. Thank you for St. Peter and all his successors who keep us united in one, holy and universal Church as we journey toward the heavenly kingdom.
3. Baptizing Them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: Without water, we would die of thirst. Without the Redemption, we would die in our sins, forever excluded from our destiny — union with God in the eternal happiness of heaven. How fittingly then, Jesus uses water to give us the fruits of his glorious Redemption. Not water alone, but water blessed in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Let us bow down in adoration before the infinite power of Our Lord. Through the ministry of his priests, Jesus raises the dead to the supernatural life of grace. Thank you, Lord, for the awesome gift of baptism and for adopting me as your child.
Conversation with Christ: Dear Heavenly Father, you are now my own Father. I am your beloved child in Christ. Holy Spirit of God, gift of the Father and the Son, make your home in my heart. Direct my every thought, word and deed to glorify the most Holy Trinity.
Resolution: I will often repeat with the holy children of Fatima: “O Most Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most Precious Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of thy dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world.”