The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

by Fr. Norm Tanck

“… acknowledge today and take to heart that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. Keep his statutes and his commandments…” (Dt 4:32-34, 39-40). One of the familiar images of the Holy Trinity is the 15th century Rublev icon. Three angels representing the Trinity are seated around a square table. The fourth side is left open as an invitation for others to join them in the communion they are sharing. The fourth place at the Trinitarian table is ours. We come to know the life of the Trinity through entering into the mystery itself by loving as God loves. Jesus gave us the great commandment to love one another as he loved us (John 15:12-15). That love is the same love with which Jesus loves the Father and the Father love him, “As the Father loves me, so I love you” (John 15:9). That love is the power of the Holy Spirit to change hearts and renew the earth. But, just as we are invited into this loving communion of persons, Jesus charges us to invite others into the table fellowship depicted in the Rublev Trinity icon. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Mt 28:16-20).

Sunday’s Readings:

Deuteronomy 4.32-34, 39-40

Psalm 33

Romans 8.14-17

Matthew 28.16-20

Vine and Branches

Vine and Branches

by Fr. Norm Tanck, CSB

“I am” statements are characteristic of the way Jesus presents himself to us in John’s Gospel: I am the Light of the World, the Bread of Life, the Good Shepherd. Today he says he is the Vine and we are the branches. These “I am” statements help us to see ourselves and our relationships more clearly, how we relate to Jesus and to others. We are the flock that hears his voice and the branches that are pruned to bear much fruit. When Jesus says that “I am the vine, you are the branches” he is presenting an image of believers who know who they are in and through their relationship to Jesus. The vine and its branches give us an image of a community of believers whose members share in the same divine life. The Church is a mystery that thrives on the resurrected life of Jesus which surges through all its members. We live in Christ and Christ lives in us. As Jesus says, “Abide in me as I abide in you…” Although Jesus looks after us, being a community of believers united in mind and heart with him takes work and commitment. It takes faith and trust, hope and courage. Cooperating with the Holy Spirit, the community must work together to make sure that there is continued growth. St. Paul tells us, “… let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth…”

Sunday’s Readings:

  • Acts 9.26-31
  • Psalm 22
  • 1 John 3.18-24
  • John 15.1-8

The Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God

by Norm Tanck, CSB

We have arrived scripturally and liturgically in Jerusalem. There are two alternate Gospel readings for the blessing of Palms (Mk 11:1-10 and Jn 12:12-16) that remind us that Jesus had come there as crowds of pilgrims were gathering to celebrate the Feast of Passover. For the Jews this was a feast that celebrated their freedom from slavery in Egypt but also looked forward to the time when Messiah would come and free them from the oppression of the Roman Empire. It would not be too much of a stretch of the imagination to see Jesus’ arrival as a protest march confronting the Empire, proclaiming that its power would end, hopefully soon. But it is much, much more than that. Mark’s Gospel tells us that Jesus arrives riding a colt, which could be a horse (only Matthews’s Gospel says it’s a donkey). He comes riding in like a king, while people place their cloaks on the ground, a gesture usually reserved for royalty. At the same time, they are waving leafy branches and shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come! Hosanna in the highest!”. That kingdom would come sooner than, I am sure, the crowds may have expected or hoped for. But it would be much different than the kingdom of their dreams. It would be a kingdom that transcends political powers and boundaries. It would be an eternal, universal kingdom of justice and peace. A kingdom where even death would not hold God’s people captive. It was the Kingdom of God. When we read about the suffering and death of Jesus today and on Good Friday it is important for us to look beyond the Cross, and even the Resurrection, to see that the Kingdom of God is breaking through and that we have been invited to live in it forever. The Triduum (Holy Thursday through to the Easter Vigil) is a celebration of our liberation from sin and death and of our citizenship in the Kingdom of God.

Sunday’s Readings:

Isaiah 50.4-7

Psalm 22

Phillippians 2.6-11

Mark 14.1-15.47

Joy in the Family

Joy in the Family

by Fr. Norm Tanck, CSB

The Gospel for this weekend’s Feast of the Holy Family ends by telling us that, “When Mary and Joseph had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him”. We can assume that not only Jesus grew and became strong, but also that Mary and Joseph continued to mature and that as a family they grew stronger because of their love for one another and their desire to be obedient to God’s plan for them. Their obedience and love for each other gave them hope in the face of adversity and filled them with joy in ordinariness of everyday life. It was their love for one another that sustained them through difficult times. We can look to Mary and Joseph as an example and model of a family in distress as they were forced by conditions beyond their control to flee from Bethlehem to Egypt and move from place to place before they were able to settle in Nazareth. It was their love that brought them moments of peace and consolation in the hardscrabble life in a small Galilean town. And it is their love that is the model for Christian families today and a model for us as a Christian community. Reflecting on the Holy Family, Pope Francis said, “The true joy which is experienced in the family is not something random and fortuitous. It is a joy produced by deep harmony among people, which allows them to savour the beauty of being together, of supporting each other on life’s journey. However, at the foundation of joy there is always the presence of God, his welcoming, merciful and patient love for all. If the door of the family is not open to the presence of God and to his love, then the family loses its harmony, individualism prevails, and joy is extinguished. Instead, the family which experiences joy — the joy of life, the joy of faith — communicates it spontaneously, is the salt of the earth, and light of the world, the leaven for all of society.”

Sunday’s Readings:

Genesis 15.1-6; 17.3b-5, 15-16; 21.1-7

Psalm 105

Hebrews 11.8, 12-13, 17-19

Luke 2.22-40