Feast days highlight mysteries of faith
The first two Sundays of this month of June provide opportunities for the contemplation of two profound mysteries of our faith. First is Trinity Sunday, when we reflect upon the triune nature of God. That is followed by the Feast of Corpus Christi, honoring the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Following on the heels of Pentecost, which marks the conclusion of the Easter season, these theologically important feast days highlight the full magnitude of the faith Christ gave His disciples to establish the Church.
Early in the Gospel of Matthew, we begin to glimpse the theology of the Trinity when Christ submits to baptism, declaring, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then we read: “And when Jesus had been baptized, just as He came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to Him and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’”
In this beautiful scene at the Jordan River, the Trinity is revealed as a loving relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It’s a scene that sheds light on the meaning of baptism, when the Holy Spirit is poured out upon us, echoing this moment in Christ’s life and the moment at Pentecost when the Spirit was sent to guide the Church.
Describing the Holy Spirit in the Gospel of John, Christ says, “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
This description of the unseen hand of God at work in the world is the great gift of the third person of the Trinity that enters our lives at baptism and has been guiding the Church ever since that first Pentecost.
The Eucharist works in a similarly mysterious way and is a miraculous gift the early disciples shared with the world. It’s a gift that has been carried forth in a procession of faith ever since – at once tangible but also demanding of belief in the real presence in order to engage with the fullness of its meaning.
In John’s Gospel, after Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes, a crowd sought Him out; and He said to them, “You are looking for Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life….”
This is one of the many Bible passages that prefigure Christ’s institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper, and it illustrates the nature of this healing sacrament, which draws us into a loving relationship with the three persons of the Trinity so that the Holy Spirit can inspire us to speak God’s word and do His will.
This astounding invitation to draw so close to God that He dwells within us remains ever new, enlivening the hearts of all who enter into the deepest mysteries upon which our faith is founded. Let’s resolve to highlight this life-giving invitation in our efforts to share the faith with the world today, so that all who are willing can have the opportunity to respond to the workings of the Holy Spirit and allow Christ to enter their hearts.
By Fr. Ed Dougherty, M.M., The Christophers’ Board of Directors