If you are looking at a particular sermon and it is removed it is because it has been updated.

For example Year C 2010 is being replaced week by week with Year C 2013, and so on.

Saturday, 27 June 2020

SS. Peter and Paul 2020

SS. Peter & Paul 
(Acts 12:1-11; 2 Timothy 4:6-8; Saint Matthew’s Gospel 16:13-19)

Today we are “called out” – that is what the word ‘ecclesia’ translated into English as ‘church’ – means.  Today we are called out to church (where coronavirus allows!) to praise and glorify God in and through His beloved Son; for, gathered together in Mother Church we are in true contact with, and are called to have intimate P/personal communion with Jesus, and to be filled with His most Holy Spirit Who is the very Life of the Church.  Therefore, with joy and great gratitude we should today celebrate Peter and Paul as chosen and commissioned by Jesus -- each in their own way -- as founders of Mother Church.

Let us first of all notice the differences between the two as founders.  Take Peter first of all.  Jesus said to him:  

And so I say to you, you are Peter (which means ‘rock’ in Aramaic the language Jesus spoke) and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.   I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Jesus willed to build, establish, His Church on the rock of Peter’s confession of faith, that faith for which Jesus Himself prayed:

I have prayed for you, Simon (Peter) that your faith may not fail.  And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.  (Luke 22:32)

Now listen to the Lord telling Ananias about the work Paul would do for His name among the Gentiles and Jews of the Diaspora (Acts 9:15):

The Lord said to Ananias, ‘Go!  The man is My chosen instrument to carry My name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.

Peter was established by Jesus as the foundation rock for the faith of the universal Church; he was also, as the ultimate support and defence for the Church, given supreme authority in the Church.  Paul, on the other hand, was commissioned by  Jesus for the spread of the Church and the world-wide proclamation of His Gospel message; he it was who would take the name of Jesus to the Gentiles and still today, Paul as the first and greatest theologian of Mother Church, continues in his mission by helping us to an ever richer appreciation of Jesus’ Good News as we try to deepen our understanding of his writings.

There is yet something more about Peter which I wish to draw to your attention, dear People of God, because in the Gospel we are not only told that Jesus chose Peter as the foundation rock for His Church, but also why Jesus made that choice:

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”  They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

Notice that!  When Jesus asked ‘Who do people say I am?’ all the apostles answered Him.  But when He then went on to ask:

            But who do you say that I am?

then only one of them answered, one speaking clearly for himself and also for all the others silently accepting his words:

             Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus then chose Peter as ‘Rock’ because He saw that His heavenly Father had already chosen him by giving him a unique awareness of Jesus’ true identity:

Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My heavenly Father.

What confidence we should have in Mother Church!  She is founded on the rock of Peter’s confession of faith which, as the Foundation Rock, can never be denied, lost or taken from the Church and which is therefore, a Rock still with us today in the figure of the Pope; and Jesus Himself still prays for the faith of that foundation rock of His Church because, as God’s well-beloved Son, He sees that such is His Father’s will. 

Moreover, we should also have sure trust in God’s loving Providence at work in Mother Church for the continual spread, unfolding, and appreciation of the authentic understanding of Jesus’ Gospel, begun in Paul’s lifetime and committed to posterity in his letters (heard  and approved first of all by the other Apostles gathered in Jerusalem (cp. Galatians 2:1-5) some of which are the earliest, surely acknowledged, pages of our New Testament Scriptures, a continuing process which is being guided and sustained by the Holy Spirit given, as Jesus promised, to lead Mother Church into all truth.

Notice that, People of God: Jesus prays for the faith of Peter -- the Rock – with us in the person of the Pope; the Holy Spirit spreads and deepens, purifies and confirms, the faith of Paul proclaimed to the Gentiles in his letters.  There have been troubles for Mother Church only when men (even cardinals!) have tried to use the person of the Pope to the detriment of the teaching of Paul.

Notice also that we celebrate Peter and Paul together in one great solemnity which seems a little strange when you think that there is a Pope among us, a living successor of Peter, but there is no named and acknowledged person who is successor to Paul.  What therefore is the ‘duality’ we celebrate today with such pomp and with such fitting and enduring gratitude and expectancy?  It is the oneness of their duality in Rome, the oneness of their duality in Mother Church.

Ancient Rome was the ideal place for both of them, for, being the capital and the world-wide, supreme, social authority and power, it was, indeed, the most fitting location for Peter’s authority in and over the new-born Catholic and universal Church.  It was also the ideal place for Paul, chosen Personally by the Risen Lord Himself to proclaim His Gospel to the Gentiles, because people from all nations – especially the flower of those nations – came to Rome for a multitude of reasons and purposes: people with important missions and who were, therefore, educated; people searching for guidance, for contact with, teaching from, and the acquaintance of, powerful individuals and important thinkers, prestigious holders of rare talents and skills in the arts and sciences necessary and desirable.  That was the place where large sectors of the Gentile world – not forgetting the Jews of Rome -- first came into close contact with Paul proclaiming Jesus despite, nay, even inspired by his chains.  Rome was most truly the ideal place for Paul’s Christian dynamism to forge a vibrant unity of Jews and gentiles as one flock for Jesus’ shepherding in the pagan world ruled by Rome.

Thus we have the centripetal authority of the Rock of Peter, holding all as one, and proclaiming for all the common faith of the Apostles, and the centrifugal, expansive dynamism of Paul’s teaching and theological development of Catholic universalism; both are absolutely necessary to give suitable expression to the vitality and life of the One Body of Christ; and that is what we gratefully celebrate and ardently pray for, above all, on this special solemnity of Peter and Paul.  What God has joined together let not man separate!

Perhaps our greatest failing in Mother Church today is lack of trust in God.   Our Western technological and consumerist society is characterized by the will to make things for our use and enjoyment in many fields of activity; and people thereby come to think they should be able to produce desired results even in spiritual matters.  For such people it is not always easy to wait for God when His blessings seem slow in coming, nor are they inclined  to beg even Him, let alone Mother Church and human guides, for wisdom to understand better His laws and teaching when they seem to conflict with their modern attitudes and their own, very personal, desires.  Indeed, too many modern disciples are inclined to produce their own version of the truth they seek and to supply their own justification for what they want to believe.  There is little trust afforded to a seemingly silent God.  And yet, it was such trust that characterized Abraham, our father in faith, and the great Patriarchs and Prophets of Israel, and above all perhaps Saint John the Baptist, alone in a dark, damp and cold dungeon awaiting death whenever the whim of a weak and dissolute monarch -- goaded by a bitter woman -- might order it.  And that monumental and inspiring trust reached its apogee in the patience of Jesus throughout the course of His Passion and Death after His agonizing prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Following the example of their Lord and Saviour, the Apostles and teachers of our faith, Peter and Paul whom we celebrate today, undertook, in similar patience, confidence and faith, to evangelize and convert the mighty, pagan, Roman Empire, trusting totally in God alone.  Did we not hear in the first reading:

Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord sent His angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were anticipating.”

Likewise, St. Paul learned to trust God in all circumstances and situations:

The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom.  To Him be glory for ever and ever.   Amen.

Peter and Paul each had a unique role to fulfil for the Church and both were blessed and spared for the good of all who were to become children of God and Mother Church.  They were given to Mother Church by the choice of Jesus and the heavenly Father Himself; let us, therefore, take seriously and wholeheartedly the words of the letter to the Hebrews (12:1):

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.   

Yes, let us throw off the sin that so entangles many in Mother Church today, the sin that hinders all progress in the ways of God, namely lack of confidence and trust in the Lord Whose Goodness and Providence governs all times and circumstances for the fulfilment of those who believe in Jesus and the Good News He brings from the Father of all.       

Friday, 19 June 2020

12th Sunday of Year A 2020

  12th.Sunday of Year (A)
(Jeremiah 20:10-13; Romans 5:12-15; Matthew 10:26-33)

Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness. (Mt. 10:1)

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, Our Blessed Lord was preparing to send the Twelve on a mission to Israel, exclusively; and in today’s gospel episode we heard Him warning them what to expect and how to deal with it as disciples of His: witnessing to, and practicing, His Truth.

He wanted to encourage them to fear neither those who would speak evil of them nor, indeed, those who might even seek to kill them:  Fear no one!

If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household!  Therefore, do not fear them.

Or, in today’s world-society, one might transcribe it, ‘If they have called Me and My Gospel discriminatory, divisive, how much more will they call you, ‘Racist, racist, racist!’, for preaching what is not popular: preaching what calls for disciplined courage and humble understanding now, while promising and even initiating rewards that transfigure life as we know it.

Then, continuing, He tells them as you heard in today’s Gospel reading:

Fear no one!  Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, no secret that will not be known.

St. Paul (1 Corinthians 4:5) helps us understand those words when he writes:

(When) the Lord comes, He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will manifest the motives of our hearts, and then everyone will receive praise from God;

so, let us now, with that guidance, give close attention to one who heard the words of the Lord, treasured them in his heart, and brought forth fruit in due time.

The prophet Jeremiah suffered much from malicious tongues, and survived the attempts of powerful enemies to kill him.  As you heard him speaking in the first reading:

I have heard the whispering of many, "Terror on every side! Denounce him; yes, let us denounce him!" All my trusted friends, watching for my fall, say: "Perhaps he will be deceived, so that we may prevail against him and take our revenge on him."  But the LORD is with me like a dread champion; therefore, my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will be utterly ashamed, because they have failed, with an everlasting disgrace that will not be forgotten.   Yet, O LORD of hosts, You who test the righteous, who sees the mind and the heart, let me see Your vengeance on them, for to You I have set forth my cause.  Sing to the LORD, praise the LORD, for He has delivered the soul of the needy one from the hand of evildoers!
You can guess from that passage that Jeremiah had a hard time proclaiming the word of God to a people who did not want even to hear the word, let alone obey it.  However, notice what was happening to Jeremiah as he persevered in his work for God: he was himself being formed into the likeness of Jesus by the very sufferings which he encountered as he walked obediently along the way of God’s command.

I have heard the whispering of many, "Terror on every side! Denounce (him), yes, let us denounce him!" All my trusted friends, watching for my fall, say: "Perhaps he will be deceived, so that we may prevail against him and take our revenge on him."

Surely you recognize there the Scribes and Pharisees, the Sadducees and the lawyers, whispering about Jesus, maligning Him before the people, and plotting to hand Him over to the Romans?  Can you catch a glimpse of Judas too, his trusted friend setting a trap for Him and taking 30 pieces of silver as a reward?

Jeremiah soon had occasion to praise the Lord for His goodness to him for we find him crying out shortly afterwards:

Sing to the LORD, praise the LORD, for He has delivered the life of the poor from the hand of evildoers!!

But only when Jesus is freed from the sufferings of His crucifixion and the ignominy of His burial by His Resurrection from the dead are those words of Jeremiah to be seen in all their beauty and understood in the fullness of their significance:

Sing to the LORD! Praise the LORD!  For He has delivered the soul of the needy one from the hand of evildoers!!

As you heard, Jeremiah prophesied concerning those who were persecuting him:

The LORD is with me, like a dread champion; therefore, my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will be utterly ashamed, because they have failed, with an everlasting disgrace that will not be forgotten.

Were not those words fulfilled absolutely in the case of the opponents of Jesus?  Did the soldiers sent to take Him not fall back?  Have not the Scribes and the Pharisees, the doctors of the Law and the Temple authorities, one and all, been covered with an everlasting disgrace for their persecution of the Lord of Light?

So you can see, People of God, that Jeremiah, by remaining faithful through his tribulations, was being formed, by those very sufferings, into a likeness of Him Who was to come, that he might thereby be enabled to share in Jesus’ future glory, and to live a life that would serve for the comforting and strengthening of all who – like himself  --  would faithfully hear and proclaim the words of their Lord.   For Jeremiah not only courageously proclaimed the Word of God in his time, but he also served to forewarn and thus to protect God’s Chosen People of Israel for what would eventually turn out to be their great stone of stumbling, the Messiah coming as a Suffering Servant:

            Meek and riding on an ass and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden (Mt. 21:5),

not as a warrior-champion reining-in his prancing stallion.

And so, though Jeremiah lived some 600 years before Jesus, we Christians hold him in special honour today: as a prophet of God, indeed, but also as more than a prophet: one who not only (like the great Isaiah) foretold the Suffering Servant, but one who was most specially privileged to personally pre-figure the suffering Son of Man.  Finally, however, above and beyond the expectations and needs of the Jewish people, Jeremiah has also a special significance for us Christians in so far as he helps us to recognize and appreciate more of the truth and the beauty, the wisdom and the goodness, of the Father Who loves us to the extent that He gave His only begotten Son up to such suffering and to such a death for our salvation.

People of God, that is what happens to all disciples of the Lord who walk according to His word fearing neither malicious tongues nor violent threats: they are gradually formed in the likeness of Jesus by the Spirit of Jesus Who, dwelling within them, sustains and uplifts them in and through all their trials.  Those who turn away from the Lord through fear of verbal and physical violence break off contact with the Spirit of Jesus, being unable to entrust themselves to His power, and are left in their sinfulness and powerlessness.  On the other hand, those who trust, abide, and at times suffer, in and with the Lord, enjoy the sweetness of the Gift of God, that is, the presence of the Spirit of Jesus, Who abounds in them -- as St. Paul told us – and, becoming increasingly powerful within them, forms them ever more closely in the likeness and love of Jesus.

Remember, dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, the words of Jesus at the end of today’s Gospel: 
Whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father Who is in heaven.  But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny before My Father Who is in heaven.”

Let those words be etched in your memory and on your heart: fear the Lord Who will make those words reality at the end; and, fearing Him reverentially, do not fear subserviently any man’s violence or any woman’s tongue.

Friday, 12 June 2020

Corpus Christi Year A 2020

  Corpus Christi (Year A)
(Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14-16; 1st. Corinthians 10:16-17; John 6:51-58)

Anyone who loves Jesus will occasionally think “How wonderful it must have been to actually see Him, hear Him speak, experience His presence and Personality!”  At such times it would be easy also to think that those who did actually see, hear, and experience His Personal presence, were privileged far beyond all subsequent generations,  and to wonder what  difference it might have made to me in my own life if I had known the Jesus Who walked and talked in Palestine, Who taught and guided His disciples, blessed, and at times admonished, the following crowds, Who looked on the poor and needy with Personal sympathy and an understanding deeper than words.   Oh, to have seen Him thus!  Surely nothing could compare with that, and I myself might have been so much better for it!

Let us now, however, recall these words of Jesus to His disciples distressed at the thought of losing Him:

Nevertheless, I tell you the truth.  It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. (John 16:7)

It was for our good that He was going away, Jesus said; what, then, about our longing to have been actually present among His disciples as they followed their Master around?

The fact is that we do not always value the blessings we have: we tend to take for granted what is commonly to hand and overestimate absent blessings.  Now, the blessings which are ours today and which Jesus gave us in place of His earthly presence, are the Holy Spirit, the Sacred Scriptures, and the Eucharist Sacrifice and Blessed Sacrament in Mother Church, and we need to look much more closely at them in order to appreciate them more.

Had we heard and seen Jesus Himself, we would have been looking upon One other than ourselves, looking outside ourselves to Another.  Moreover, we would have been listening to Him with ears and eyes that – at times due to our lack of attention, admittedly -- do not always hear clearly, and often see only a very general picture; with ears and eyes, moreover, that hand over their data (so to speak) to a memory we have made our own over years and which may have become prone to overlook the unexpected, forget what was not easily understood, and even reject emotionally unwanted items.

Then, having thus seen, heard and recalled in our own way that which others have seen and heard somewhat differently in their own way, it is not difficult to appreciate how hard it can be at times for researchers to reconcile eye-witness accounts in their search for objective facts.  It would have been indeed a wonderful blessing to personally hear and see Jesus on earth, but let us not fail to appreciate what He has bestowed on us who have the fulness of faith in the Church.

He has given us His own Spirit, to be Guide and Guard for us all in Mother Church, and in our individual lives as Comforter and Strength through all the circumstances of our daily lives, no matter what the joys or sorrows, the difficulties or trials.  We can now know more of Jesus’ words than did those disciples of old because the Spirit has brought, and is constantly bringing, to the Church’s mind all that Jesus said and did, all that He intended to be for us and now wants of us.

In fact, the real difference between then and now is that then it was Jesus Who was preparing for our salvation, now it is we who have to respond to and co-operate with the Spirit He had given us that we might work out our salvation on the basis of the teaching Jesus left us, all the while aspiring with Him to the Father Who originally called us to Jesus, and Whom – Jesus assures us – is sublime beyond all measure in Fatherly Goodness and Love.

Then, in company with His disciples, we would have watched and admired Jesus in His work but we would not have realised just how much that work was for love of us, for our saving and exaltation; neither would we have been able, as the disciples themselves proved unable, to reject the fear that originally closed their mouths from confessing His Name and turned their feet to leave Him alone and go each on their own way.

Now, however, we are enlightened by His Spirit to understand much more clearly the Love that drove Jesus to sacrifice Himself for us, and to learn from the original disciples initially poor example; with the result that recognizing more readily the devil’s snares, we can now -- empowered by that same Spirit – give our all to working with and for Jesus, and using to the full the plenitude of blessings He has left us.

All this is what was shown when Our Lord ascended to heaven and left the disciples gazing after Him:

"Men of Galilee," (the angels) said, "why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven." (Acts 1:11)

“Why stand gazing up into the sky?”  Admiring indeed, but not involved.  That is what we were doing at the beginning thinking about how wonderful it would have been if …

Now we are not just watching, we are involved, having been given riches beyond all our imaginings, riches given to enable us to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” as St. Paul said.  We are now no longer children who, innocent of any responsibility, watch, wait, and wish; but rather we are called by the Spirit of Jesus at work within the Church and in each one of us, to actualize what Jesus planned, suffered and died for, by bringing forth acceptable fruit in our lives and growing to full maturity in Christ, sharing with Him in His work and sufferings for the salvation of mankind, thereby attaining to a share in His Resurrection under the guidance, and in the power of, His Spirit within us.

The Spirit was indeed given to each of us at our Baptism.  However, the Spirit is a Divine Person to Whom we must respond; He is not a thing we can irrevocably possess; and the presence of the Spirit to us, His activity and effect in our lives, is dependent upon our response to His initiatives in our minds and hearts.  To enable us to respond to the Spirit Who is invisible we have been given the sacramental presence of Jesus in our midst, in Mother Church:

And Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My Body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.

Likewise, He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My Blood, which is shed for you.”  (Luke 22:19-20)

Dear People of God, we must never forget that Jesus, though now in heaven at the right hand of the Father, is still one with us bodily: He has taken to heaven -- in His own Person --  our body and blood, the body and blood He received from His mother Mary, our sister, and that Body and Blood was glorified at His Ascension.  Because of that abiding bodily oneness with us Jesus is able – through His own glorious Body and Blood becoming sacramentally present to us – to confer His Spirit upon us by our reception of Holy Communion in the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

In our Holy Communion, Jesus is present to us as He promised – under the appearances of nourishment, bread and wine -- He comes, however, offering us nourishment for eternal life, indeed, a share in His glory. He bestows His Spirit on us in Holy Communion because we – earthly flesh and blood though we be – can be adapted (so to speak most un-theologically) for life with Him in heaven by our embracing the rule of that most Holy Spirit in our lives here and now.   In that way our continued growth in understanding of, love for, and likeness to, Jesus may know no limits until we are totally one with Him for the Father.  On earth, Jesus was necessarily leading His disciples from the outside; now, through His Spirit, Whose presence in us is refreshed and renewed in unfailing abundance through our loving reception of the Eucharist, He wills to make us ever more intimately one with Himself -- He in us and we in Him by the Spirit -- so that we might be loved by the Father as His adopted children, and He might show Himself to be for us the most true Father, loving and good beyond all imagining.

Friday, 5 June 2020

Trinity Sunday Year A 2020

Trinity Sunday (A)  

(Exodus 34:4-6, 8-9; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; John 3:16-18)


The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is the ultimate and defining mystery of the Christian faith, but has sometimes been liturgically constructed and expressed in such a way as to be appreciated as something not only beyond our understanding but also far from plucking our heart strings, with repeated variations of one in three and three in one, unity in trinity and trinity in unity, and even ‘una Unitas’, one Unity (!), with the overall result sounding something like a mathematical extravaganza or a collection of cold, abstract, concepts.

And yet, as our readings today illustrate, the Holy Trinity, though most certainly the supreme mystery of Christian faith, is not far from our human make-up and personal heart.   

God created all things by His Word John tells us in his Gospel (1:1-3):

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.   He was in the beginning with God.   All things c\me to be through Him, and without Him nothing came to be. 

“In the beginning was the Word”; what is a word?   Commonly, it is understood to be an expression of intelligence or meaning using breath: when we communicate with a word, we express our thought by using the breath of our mouth; and in Psalm 33: 6 we are told:

By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.

This led St. Irenaeus, when writing his famous work "Against Heresies" around the year A.D. 180, to say: "God has created the world with His two hands -- the Son and the Spirit – by His Word, that is, and by the Breath of His mouth. 

And when it came to the creation of human kind there is a vibrancy in Scripture which is far, far removed from dry mathematics and abstract conceptions; for there, the Son -- the Word of God -- gives form and structure to God's creation, while the Spirit -- the Breath of God -- gives life and vitality:

God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness."  And the LORD God formed man out of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.  (Genesis 1:26; 2:7)

And that scriptural, background, impression of Personal and loving involvement on the part of the mysterious God of Israel creating by His two hands, so to speak, is now maintained and indeed intensified in His loving commitment to saving fallen Israel according to an ancient tradition concerning the Prophet Moses as recounted in our first reading (Exodus 34:5-6):

The LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him (Moses) there as he called upon the name of the Lord.   Then the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in goodness and truth.  

In the New Testament St. John never tires of telling us that God is a God of love Who demonstrates His love for us most sublimely through the gift of His Son, as we have just heard in the Gospel reading:

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

And St. Paul -- Jesus’ choice to be Doctor for, and teacher of, us Gentiles -- proclaims that same truth to our Western world when comforting his converts at Corinth, as you heard in the second reading, by reminding them of the fellowship of the Holy Spirit:  

Brethren, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Dear Brother and Sisters in Christ, the Holy Trinity is not some abstract concept but a Personal Reality mirrored at the very centre of our being, a Reality that is capable of fulfilling us and, indeed, transfiguring us by drawing us -- as members of Jesus’ Body -- into sharing the glory of Its own plenitude of Personal Love and mutual Commitment.

Let us now, therefore, give our minds and hearts to a short, appreciative, overview, so to speak, of this sublime mystery of God which can only be adequately expressed in terms of love, manifested throughout our human history, and experienced now through faith in Jesus Christ by hearts warmed by the Holy Spirit of Truth and Love. 

The devil had deceived Eve, and Adam subsequently followed Eve into sin, with the result that the world,  originally created for the glory of God and the joyful well-being of mankind and creation as a whole, became degraded, with humankind -- intended as creation’s crown and glory -- being subjected to suffering and death, ignorance and selfishness. 

God the Father, out of love for mankind thus degraded, sent His only-begotten Son to become a sinless man in a world where sin, suffering, and death, now held sway, that He might save mankind so dear to Him: and, taking human flesh from the pure and sinless Virgin Mary, the eternal Son of God became Jesus, the Son- of-God-made-man.  He thereupon spent His sinless life proclaiming saving Truth and witnessing to divine Love: setting at naught the devil's snares, thwarting his power, exposing his deceits and lies, until the contest reached its ultimate and inevitable climax in the suffering and death of the Pure and Holy One on Calvary, in the fulfilment of which divine love definitively triumphed over Satan’s power and the world’s sin, when Jesus the Son of man rose from death into heavenly glory leaving man free NOT to sin, able to respond anew to God’s great goodness.

Then there began a re-creation of mankind in the Son by the Spirit of Holiness, the two hands of God the Father, moulding us anew as in the beginning, though this time not without our consent and co-operation: His Love would heal and renew each and every one of us if we would embrace His Good News of salvation.  God the Father would thus make -- in the Son and by the Spirit -- a new creation: a saved humanity, which, in its turn, would itself learn to triumph over the devil who once had brought it low.

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

The new humanity would, as I said, be formed in Jesus -- sent by the Father -- from those who would believe in the name of God's only Son and who, committing themselves to Him through faith and baptism, would, in loving obedience, follow the lead of His Holy Spirit bestowed at Pentecost to guide His Body, the Church, to follow where He, her Head, had already ascended to the Father.

People of God, let us here recognize the true nature of love; for God’s love does not just do things for us, it leads Him primarily to make something of us.  It is true that He does for us what we could not do for ourselves: He saves us from sin.  Subsequently, however, He goes on to make something of us and do something with us: in true love He dignifies and even glorifies us with a share in His own glory!   For, once baptized into Jesus and washed clean of sin, we are then -- as temples of His Most Holy Spirit -- to be guided, glorified, and sublimely dignified as adoptive children of God able to call upon God as ‘Our Father’.  Moreover, even while still here on earth, all these our blessings are to be crowned by our being enabled to become instruments of the Holy Spirit and co-workers with Jesus our Saviour for the glory of the Father, as Jesus Himself said (John 14:12):

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.

That work, to which we and all Christian peoples are privileged to contribute under the power and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is spoken of by the Psalmist who reveals that:

The LORD said to my Lord: "Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool". (Psalm 110:1)

The ultimate fulfilment -- when Jesus returns in glory as Judge, when our work will be finally seen to be fruitful, and when God’s plan is ultimately revealed in all its wisdom and beauty, goodness and glory -- will come, St. Paul tells us,:

When everything is subjected to Him, then the Son Himself (the whole Christ, Head and Body), will also be subject to Him Who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.  (1 Corinthians 15:28)

People of God, the mystery of the Holy Trinity is a mystery because it is infinitely beyond the full comprehension of our minds; but it is not a mystery in the sense that it is something foreign to us: for Divine Love, which is the essence of the Trinity, is able to penetrate and transform our lives, and indeed become the motivation and fulfilment of our very being, and in that way the most Holy Trinity becomes present to us, living in us, forming us, even working through us (John 14:23, 26):

Jesus said, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.  

On this day, People of God, let us therefore take to ourselves, with pride and gratitude, the words first addressed by the prophet Moses (Deuteronomy 4:7) to Israel of old; words which only now, thanks to Jesus and the Holy Spirit, begin to reveal something of their full beauty and significance:

What great nation is there that has gods so close to it, as the LORD, our God, is to us, whenever we call upon Him?