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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, May 29, 2011

By Jeff Hedglen
Catholic News Service

May 29, Sixth Sunday of Easter
Cycle A Readings:

1) Acts 8:5-8, 14-17

    Psalm 66:1-7, 16, 20

2) 1 Peter 3:15-18

    Gospel: John 14:15-21

            One of the hardest things I have ever done was try to explain the Trinity to a 13-year-old girl who was preparing for baptism in our parish youth Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program. Having not attended church while growing up, she was learning in class many concepts that were brand new to her.

            When I began explaining the Trinity, that there is only one God in three persons -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit -- she got a strange look on her face.

            Then I explained each person. As I started with the Father -- almighty, creator, pure love, etc. -- her expression relaxed. But when I said that Jesus is God, too, the strange look returned. I explained that God loved the world so much that he became human to help us be reunited to God. Finally, her hand went up.

            She hardly knew what to ask first. Not only were Jesus and the Holy Spirit God, but God was also a human! Suffice it to say all her questions were not answered during that one-hour class.

            Most Catholics ease into the idea of a triune God with Jesus being both God and man. But this 13-year-old -- smack dab in the middle of moving from childlike concrete thinking to adult abstract thinking -- could not wrap her head around it.

            Today’s Gospel in seven short verses speaks to all of these mysteries. Jesus says he and the Father will send the Spirit of truth to be with us always and that he and the Father are one. He also says that we are wrapped up in this oneness.

            It is the clearest, most concise explanation of the Trinity I have found in Scripture, yet it still falls short of saying that: There is only one God in three individual, equal persons, all sharing the same divinity; the second person of the Trinity, at the appointed time, took on human form for the salvation of all; and after his death, resurrection and ascension into heaven, in conjunction with the Father, he sent the Holy Spirit to unite us all to this wonderful mystery.

            Yet, even if it had said all that, I do not know if it clears things up much. The Trinity continues to be a mystery only slightly grasped by mere mortals. Thankfully, grasping the truth is not a prerequisite for experiencing it.

            How would you explain the Trinity to a non-Christian? In your life of prayer, to which persons of the Trinity do you address your prayers?

            “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you” (John 14:20).


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