National Catholic Register

Culture of Life

Sunday Football Verse

User’s Guide to Sunday

BY Tom & April Hoopes

May 11-17, 2008 Issue | Posted 5/6/08 at 4:37 PM


Sunday, May 18, is Holy Trinity Sunday (Year A, Cycle II). On May 17 and 18 Pope Benedict makes a pastoral visit to Savona and Genoa, Italy.

Parish offers best practices from parishes.

Shiner Catholic Church/Sts. Cyril and Methodius parish in the diocese of Victoria, Texas, offers “The Theology of the Body for Teens.”

“I’ve seen how teenagers are at a most spiritual time,” says Father Robert Knippenberg of the Diocese of Victoria. “This program is extremely timely and it touches all aspects of their development: mind, body, soul, and spirit.”

The program’s three primary authors — Brian Butler, Jason Evert and Crystalina Evert — are recognized leaders in youth ministry and chastity education.

Find more information at the EPriest website.

Family offers an idea to help teach the Trinity to children. It cites the 1963 book Teaching Religion at Home by Mary Reed Newland.

“It occurred to me, after reading Frank Sheed’s explanation of the Trinity in Theology and Sanity, that one could use it in teaching children (which proves it is superbly done).”

“Literally, I said this. ‘Think of who you are in your own mind. Do you see yourself in your mind?’ Let us say it was Christopher who nodded Yes. He sees himself in his mind; he knows himself. One is always seeing one’s self in one’s mind. ‘Now say the word that is your name.’ ‘Christopher.’ ‘Christopher, as best as I can explain it, that is how it was when God the Father thought of who he was and saw himself in his mind, and said the Word that was his name. And the one he saw was God the Son. The Father looked at the Son and loved him so; and the Son looked at the Father and loved him so, that their Love became another Person in God whom we call the Holy Spirit. Out of their loving that was going on forever came the idea: ‘I am going to make Christopher — because I want him.’”

Readings for Mass

Exodus 34:4-6, 8-9; Daniel 3:52-56; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; John 3:16-18. offers free homily packs for priests.

Our Take

The Compendium of the Catechism is remarkable for its brevity.

However, in writing about the Trinity, the Compendium indulges in one of its only quotations, when it quotes Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity saying:

“O my God, Trinity whom I adore ... grant my soul peace; make it your heaven, your beloved dwelling, and the place of your rest. May I never abandon you there, but may I be there, whole and entire, completely vigilant in my faith, entirely adoring, and wholly given over to your creative action.”

That’s the attitude expressed in the three readings today: Souls finding solace in God because he is the Holy Trinity.

In the first reading, souls find solace in the fact that he is One. It was a relief to the Moses to know that there is only one God, not several competing gods. The glory of that one God was so great, that Moses had to hide himself when the Lord passed by.

In the second reading, the new Christians find solace in the fact that God is “Three.” The people live in relation to one another, and so it makes sense that God has “relationships” built within him. Paul describes to the Corinthians how to imitate “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit”: “Mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.”

In the third reading, it is revealed that we don’t take solace in the Trinity so much as God, through the Trinity, reaches out to us. It’s the famous “football verse” named for the signs held up in football stadiums saying “John 3:16”: “God so loved the world that he sent his only Son.”

We don’t have to worry about trying to figure out the Trinity so much as we just have to believe in it, and do our best to love God in return. God’s efforts to find us will always be more insistent, and more effective, than our efforts to find him.

The Hoopeses are co-editors of

Faith & Family magazine