June 5, 2017

Reflection for the Solemnities of the Most Holy Trinity and the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, June 11, 2017
Solemnity of the Most Holy
Body and Blood of Christ, June 18, 2017

By Msgr. Bernard Bourgeois

Jesus said to the crowds: “I am the living bread that came down from 
heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever…” (John 6:51)

The month of June is upon us. Summer is making its way into our lives once again and all are looking forward to long, warm days. Schools are emptying out for summer recess (except for principals!) and the recreation paths that dot our beautiful state are filled with bikers, in-line skaters, walkers and joggers. The liturgical calendar for the month of June brings some beautiful feasts, like Pentecost and the Solemnities of the Most Holy Trinity, the Body and Blood of Christ, the Birth of John the Baptist (June 24) and Saints Peter and Paul (June 29). Through the feasts of June, the Church remembers that which is most important to our faith. 

The Solemnities of the Most Holy Trinity and the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ help the faithful bring to speech and prayer some of the most important mysteries of the Christian faith. These are mysteries that stretch the human intellect to its furthest boundaries. The feast of the Trinity states that God is God the Father who created the world; God the Son, Jesus Christ, who redeemed the world; and God the Holy Spirit who sustains the world. The human mind can grasp this mystery so far. Wait! There’s more. These are not three gods but one God in three persons. They are one God who has existed from all time. This is the beauty of the mystery of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Spirit are in complete unity and act together as one. And then there is the celebration of the Body and Blood of Christ. Again, this article of faith will stretch the human to beyond where reason cannot go. The Church believes that with the power of the Holy Spirit and the words of institution spoken by the priest, the bread and wine change in their identity to the body and blood of Christ. It will still look and taste like bread and wine, but its identity has changed through divine power to be something higher and better than anything the person can imagine: the body and blood of Christ.

It is the goal of lifelong faith to embrace, know, and understand these great mysteries of faith. The person lives in a world that does not necessarily support this kind of deep faith. Today’s culture is one of instant knowledge with a strong reliance on the empirical sciences. Modern technology gives the person an ability heretofore unknown to our predecessors. The answer to most any question on earth can be found through various media that will take the person to the Internet and to the answer. Today’s youth are known as “digital natives,” as they have not known a world where such a connection was unattainable.

This modern, quick access to knowledge, however, does not apply to one’s prayer and unity with Christ. Although modern technology can help the inquirer to learn more about faith, prayer and belief are ultimately beyond human reason. They are matters of the heart. The goal of prayer and belief is union with Christ. While reason and the mind can lead one to this union, ultimately the person must be united at the level of the heart with the God who loves and calls him to Himself.

It is only when the person experiences the power of the Trinity that he or she will believe in it. At baptism, the person is swept up into the life of the Trinity through water and words of the sign of the cross. When the person experiences that power of baptism, he or she will know the power and presence of God. The same can be said for the Eucharist. In holy Communion, the faithful are fed with the body and blood of Christ. In faith, one knows that that which looks like bread and wine is the body and blood of Christ. How? The recipient of the Eucharist has known and experienced the power and love of Christ in receiving him at Mass. There is no other way to explain it! In fact, it cannot be explained; it is a lived experience of the person at the core of his or her being. Human reason will not be able to explain everything there is to know about faith. The person with mature faith has come to peace with this, gone beyond it, and simply embraced God through the Trinity and the Eucharist.

The feasts of the Trinity and Body and Blood of Christ remind the faithful of what is important!

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