The Lord bless you with abundant graces this Trinity Sunday! Franciscan Gospel reflection and questions are written by Fr. Paul Gallagher, OFM. They are edited by Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Anne Marie Lom and Joe Thiel. The excerpts from the Sunday readings are prepared by Joe Thiel. To read or download the complete pdf with excerpts for your prayer, please click here: Franciscan Gospel Reflection May 27 2018. Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner. Please include this information when printing.
Photos: St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, Green Bay, Wisconsin; St. Joseph Parish, Cold Spring, Kentucky
The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
Matthew devotes only twenty verses (chapter 28) to the resurrection. It would be worth reading the chapter in its entirety. But here is a summary of the events as they are recorded by Matthew.
Both Mary and Mary Magdalene went to the tomb as dawn arrived on the first day of the week. They witnessed an earthquake and an angel rolling back the stone from the cave. The angel instructed them to go to the disciples and tell them, “He has been raised from the dead, and he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him.” (Matthew 28:7) The Marys left the tomb fearful yet overjoyed and ran to the disciples. On their way they encountered Jesus himself who told them, “Do not be afraid, go tell my brothers to go to Galilee and there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:10) They were frightened but ran to tell the disciples. Soldiers who had been guarding the tomb told the high priests what had happened. The chief priests and the leaders met and decided to bribe the soldiers to say that Jesus’ disciples had come in the night and carried off the body. The soldiers took the money and did as they were told. The people of Judea still tell this story. The remainder of the chapter is the text for this Sunday’s gospel.
The gospel text for today demonstrates that the Marys were faithful to what they were commissioned to do: go tell the disciples. Despite being caught in the two emotions of joy and fear, they acted. The opening of the text reminds the reader that the disciples were also faithful to what was asked of them. They were instructed to go to Galilee to meet Jesus. They too were caught between two emotions: doubt and worship. But they were still commissioned “to make disciples of all the nations,” to baptize, and to teach. (Matthew 28:19-20) Jesus’ earlier instruction to the disciples not to enter a pagan or Samaritan area had now been set aside. (Matthew 10:5) They were to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In actuality it was not until the end of the first century that the Christian community baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but Trinity was at least somewhat understood. The Christian community was still developing its understanding of the Trinity.
The fact that we will gather to celebrate this feast is evidence that the disciples were also faithful to the commissioning they received from Jesus in today’s gospel. They were faithful, as well as all those who came after them have been faithful in passing on their relationship with God from one person to the next, down to us. Because of this faithfulness from generation after generation, we gather as a Church to celebrate our relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
1. How do you experience God as Father, as Son, and as Holy Spirit?
2. When you enter into times of personal prayer, do you find you pray to one person of the Trinity more often or even exclusively? Has that changed over the years?
3. How do you understand your relationship to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit?
4. When the disciples saw Jesus, they worshiped and they doubted. What does that suggest to you about their relationship to Jesus?
5. Jesus’ command is that we are to make disciples of people of every nation, to baptize, and to teach everything that Jesus taught. Where do you find examples of our faithfulness to this command?
6. Where are the places that you are trying to live Jesus’ instruction?
7. Can you take some time to talk with God about how you are feeling as you listen to this gospel?