Most Holy Trinity, June 7th, 2020
God so loved the world that he gave is only-begotton Son…”John 3:16
Method: Lectio Divina
Commentary from Loyola Press
This week we return to the liturgical season of Ordinary Time. This Sunday and next, however, are designated as solemnities—special days that call our attention to central mysteries of our faith. Today on Trinity Sunday we celebrate the mystery of the Holy Trinity, one God in three persons.
Today’s Gospel is from the beginning of John’s Gospel. The passage we read follows Jesus’ conversation with a Pharisee, Nicodemus, about what it means to be born of both water and the spirit. Nicodemus approaches Jesus at night and acknowledges Jesus as a teacher from God. Jesus tells him that only those who are born from above will see the Kingdom of God. Nicodemus misunderstands and questions how a person can be born more than once. Jesus tells Nicodemus that no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. Jesus is essentially explaining Baptism, which we celebrate as a sacrament today. Yet Nicodemus, we are told, still does not understand what Jesus is saying. Jesus continues by testifying to the need to be born from above so that one might have eternal life.
After the dialogue with Nicodemus, the author of the Gospel offers his own explanation of Jesus’ words. This is what we read in today’s Gospel, John 3:16-18.
In the context of today’s focus on the mystery of the Holy Trinity, the reading calls our attention to the action of God, who reveals himself in three persons: God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God the Father, out of love for the world, sent his Son into the world in order to save it. Through the death and resurrection of the Son, we have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit. As three persons, God acts always as a God of love; he does not condemn the world but acts to save it.
The Gospel also calls attention to the response that is required of us. God’s love for us calls us to respond in faith by professing our belief in God’s son, Jesus, and the salvation that he has won for us. This profession of faith is a sign of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. (See also the reflection by Leah Perrault at Living With Christ)
Questions for reflection:
- What word or words in this passage caught your attention?
- What comforted you?
- What challenged you?
- What conversion of mind, heart, and life is the Lord asking of me?
- How can I share God’s love with the world?
- Do I know anyone who is searching for God? How can I accompany them on their journey?
Other Resources for Lectio Divina of John 3:16-18
- Loyola Press Sunday Connection Year A Holy Trinity Family Faith Suggestions
- Portland Diocese Lectio Divina for Holy Trinity
- Order of the Brothers of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel Holy Trinity
Audio Divina and Video Divina
View the video and answer the reflection questions below.
- What emotions does the song evoke?
- What is the connection between the Gospel and this song?
- How do we experience God’s love?
- How do we help others to experience God’s love?
Visio Divina of The Holy Trinity by Anton Rublev
- Pray in quiet with your eyes closed. Bring yourself towards stillness.
- Gaze at the image. Let your eyes rest on the scene. Note your feelings as you examine the whole and parts of the work.
- Read John 3:16-18
- Gaze at the work again. Imagine that you are in this scene. What do you see from your vantage point? What you hear? smell? sense?
- How do you connect the passage with the painting?
- Read the commentary below. How does these insights enrich your understanding?
- How is the sacred present to you in this experience?
- How does this Visio Divina relate to your life now?
- What insight from this experience do you want to retain? How will you do that?
- Complete the Visio Divina by offering a prayer of thanksgiving.
Commentary on the Rublev Icon from the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.
The icon of the “Holy Trinity” is the most famous work of the brilliant Russian artist Andrei Rublev. According to the testimony of one of the 17th century sources, it was painted “in praise of Sergii Radonezhsky” at the order of his pupil and successor Abbot Nikon. At the basis of the iconography is the Biblical tale (Genesis 18) of the appearance to saint Abraham of God in the form of three angels. Abraham and his wife Sarah entertained the three angels in the shade of an oak when Abraham understood that the angels were the embodiment of God in three faces. Avoiding details which were customary in the subject of the “Hospitality of Abraham”, Andrei Rublev achieved extraordinary symbolic profundity in his work. In Rublev’s icon all attention is concentrated on the three angels and their silent exchange. They are depicted as seated around an altar in the center of which there is a chalice of the Eucharist with the head of a sacrificial calf which symbolizes the lamb of the New Testament, i.e., Christ. The left and centre angels bless the chalice. God the Father blesses God the Son for death on the cross in the name of love for people. God the Holy Spirit (the right angel) is present here to provide comfort, confirming the high logic of sacrificial, all-forgiving love. The content of the “Holy Trinity” is ambiguous. The monument is multi-faceted in its themes. Firstly, it embodies the idea of the triune Divinity. During the times of Sergii Radonezhsky and Andrei Rublev, the subject of the Trinity was understood as a symbol of spiritual unity, mutual love, the world and readiness to sacrifice oneself.
See also the CARFLEO post on the Rublev Icon.
Children’s Liturgy Resources
Children’s Liturgy Resources from Loyola Press
CAFOD Resources for 7 June Children’s liturgy for The Most Holy Trinity (Year A)
Liturgy of the Word with Children, Diocese of Auckland Holy Trinity
Living With Christ for Children Sunday, June 7 Holy Trinity
What Is Trinity Sunday All About? (printable PDF) from Busted Halo