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User's Guide to Sunday, May 26
BY Tom and April Hoopes
Sunday, May 26, is Holy Trinity Sunday (Year C, Cycle I).
On the Monday after Trinity Sunday, the Church enters Ordinary Time again.
Sometimes "Ordinary Time" sounds like a letdown. It shouldn’t.
As the poet Will Carleton once said, "If there’s a heaven upon the earth, a fellow knows it when he’s been away from home a week and then gets back again."
Ordinary Time in the Church year is like coming home spiritually.
We celebrate the penance of Advent when winter begins and Lent and Easter when it ends. In Ordinary Time, the priest wears green, the color of summer.
Ordinary Time is the time when the world is as it should be, and we are at home with God, experiencing his forgiveness and living in his love. And that is not a bad thing at all.
Proverbs 8:22-31; Psalm 8:4-9; Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15
Today is Trinity Sunday, and later this week is the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is worth mentioning the Visitation as we consider the Trinity in this Month of Mary.
Mary learned about the Trinity when Gabriel came to her and said: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God."
This is a very strange way of talking about God — but, then again, it is not so strange. As the Catechism puts it: "God is one, but not solitary" (254). There is one God and only one God. But "the Divine unity is Triune" (254). The three Persons in God have the same substance — they are consubstantial with each other — but they are three distinct Persons. The Catechism says, "It is the Father who generates, the Son who is begotten and the Holy Spirit who proceeds" (254).
So we can translate what the angel says this way: "God the Holy Spirit will come upon you; the power of the one God will overshadow you. Therefore, the child to be born will be called the Son of God the Father." Mary’s relationship with the Trinity was complete. She was daughter of the Father, the spouse of the Spirit and the Mother of the Son, as St. Louis de Montfort put it.
In addition, at the Visitation, Elizabeth cries out: "How does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" She is saying something extraordinary. Of course Mary is not the "Mother of God" in one sense: She didn’t beget God. That would be impossible. But Elizabeth’s words mean that Mary’s child, still an embryo in her womb, is "my Lord" — it’s her way of calling Jesus "consubstantial with the Father." He is Mary’s son and God’s Son.
In baptism, we enter into a relationship with the Trinity. We are sons and daughters of the Father, we are united in a partnership with the Holy Spirit, and we are incorporated into the body of Christ, who is God the Son.
We enter the inner life of the Trinity that Jesus describes in the Trinity Sunday Gospel. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit share everything with each other, and each calls attention to the others.
That’s what we are to do: Share everything with God, and call attention to him with our lives. This need not be something mysterious. It means doing what Mary did: Talking to God in prayer and saying "Yes" to him and serving others in real, unspectacular ways, in our day-to-day life. Ordinary Time is a great time to start.
Tom and April Hoopes write from Atchison, Kansas,
where Tom is writer in residence at Benedictine College.