The followers of Jesus were first devastated by his death and then bewildered by his resurrection and ascension. They had come to treasure his presence and friendship; they were captivated by his words and his actions. Most of all, they realized that his message was destined for all people in every time and place. But now he had been taken from them. How could his work be continued?
In the aftershock of Easter, they remembered his promise of Pentecost. He had said very clearly that he would send "His Spirit" to comfort, teach and strengthen them. They began to understand that it would be the abiding presence of "His Spirit" in them that would guarantee the continuity of His redemptive Life and teaching for future generations.
The whole purpose of our faith life our prayer, our worship and our sacramental experiences is to keep us aware and sensitive to the workings of "the Spirit of Jesus" In our daily lives, in all of our words and works, choices and commitments. St. Paul expressed this so beautifully in today's second reading: "For those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a Spirit of adoption, through whom we cry, "Abba, Father!"
The constant challenge of our Christian faith, then, is for each of us to allow the Spirit of Jesus to live fully and forcefully in us. The Spirit of Jesus should touch our vision, our hearing, our speech, our relationships, our recreation, our study, our sickness, and our well being. We should begin each day by breathing in that Spirit, awakening it, and acknowledging its presence deep within our being. Whenever we are confronted by the challenge to be Christ like in a particular circumstance, we should pause momentarily to draw strength and insight from His Spirit within us… to draw strength from the community of Love which we call "The Trinity."
Today we acknowledge our belief in One God as Three Persons. The feast of the Holy Trinity is timeless. It is the continuous outpouring of the Spirit of Jesus, the Word of the Father, upon all of us who believe. Paul again reminds us: "The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him."
We don't like very much to think about the cross and suffering, but on this feast of the Holy Trinity, it is good for us to recall how central the sign of the cross is to our life of faith. We learned the words and the actions as infants. We struggled to pronounce "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" while our hands traced the cross from forehead to heart, from left shoulder to right shoulder. Growing older, this simple sign accompanied us through the various stages of our development. We used it to begin and end our prayers; we learned to dip our hand in holy water and make the sign of the cross each time we entered the church. It accompanied us through the sacraments of First Eucharist and Penance and Confirmation. We use it to introduce morning and night prayers, grace before and after meals. It is the seal of marriage vows and the symbol used to anoint us in serious illness. We pray for the grace to be able to sign ourselves with the cross at the moment of our death.
Each and every time we use this sacred symbol, we are professing our faith in God - Father, Son and Spirit. We are remembering the saving death of Jesus on the Cross, proclaiming that through His death we have come to fullness of life.
The sign of the cross marks us publicly as Christians and Catholics. It gives testimony to our gratitude and pride for the gift of faith that makes us members of the Body of Christ. It is our simple but powerful way to profess our faith in the mystery of the Holy Trinity. And it is a critical reminder to us all of our call to proclaim the Gospel to all nations.
We believe that our good and gracious God continues to reveal Himself to us out of love: as Creator, Savior and Sanctifier. He fills out our understanding of His greatness by speaking to us through the power and majesty of creation, through the life, death and resurrection of His Word-Made-Flesh, Jesus Christ, and He continues to reveal Himself to us by the indwelling of the Spirit, which enables us to live our faith with courage, wisdom, reverence, and abiding trust.
We are indeed privileged to believe that our God is with us always. He is our shield in danger, our powerful ally in times of crisis and challenge, our source of hope in moments of despair, and our promise of final victory.