Lectionary Reflections: Trinity Sunday [b] May 31, 2015

Engaging Faith | Thu, May 21, 2015

By John Bucki, S.J.
Source: Center of Concern

Trinity Sunday [b]

May 31, 2015

Copyright © 2015 Center of Concern


Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40

Romans 8:14-17

Matthew 28:16-20



May 31: Trinity Sunday 

May 31: World No Tobacco Day:  

June: World Refugee Awareness Month 

June: Torture Awareness Month

June 1: Stand for Children Day: 

June 5: World Environment Day:

June 7: Feast of Corpus Christi



“… family goes well beyond blood lines.  Family is the human community, the Christian community, and we must learn to love one another as a family.”

- Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, The Gift of Peace, 70


“Each member of the human family is equal in dignity and has equal rights because we are all children of the one God. We are sisters and brothers to each other. We understand God to be a trinity of persons and so we see the image of God reflected not only in individuals, but also in communities. Together in community we bear the image of our God whose very nature is communal.”

- Sandie Cornish


“The solidarity which binds all people together as members of a common family makes it impossible for wealthy nations to look with indifference upon the hunger, misery and poverty of other nations whose citizens are unable to enjoy even elementary human rights. The nations of the world are becoming more and more dependent on one another and it will not be possible to preserve a lasting peace so long as glaring economic and social imbalances persist.”

- John XXIII, Mater et Magistra, 157


The communion of Christians with Jesus has the communion of God as Trinity, namely, the unity of the Son to the Father in the gift of the Holy Spirit, as its model and source, and is itself the means to achieve this communion: united to the Son in the Spirit's bond of love, Christians are united to the Father.

- John Paul II, Christifideles Laici, 18


Whenever a human community resists its own destruction or works for its own renewal; when structural changes serve the liberation of oppressed peoples; when law subverts sexism, racism, poverty, and militarism; when swords are beaten into ploughshares or bombs into food for the starving; when the scores of old injustices are healed; when enemies are reconciled once violence and domination have ceased;  whenever the lies and the raping and the killing stop; wherever diversity is sustained in koin?nia; wherever justice and peace and freedom gain a transformative foothold – there the living presence of powerful, blessing mystery amid the brokenness of the world is mediated.

- Elizabeth Johnson CSJ, She Who Is, 126


Thoughts for your consideration

Someone once described the purpose of life as relationship. 

On Trinity Sunday, we celebrate the wonder of relationship. It exists even in God. 

We have been created with a desire for mutual and loving relationships. Catholic Social Teaching invites us to work together to create healthy relationships between all of God’s people – relationships between individuals and also between nations and groups -- relationships of mutual respect and collaboration – relationships leading toward justice and peace and the fullness of life.

At the same time, we past year we have been contemplating the failure of relationship. We have contemplated Ferguson, Baltimore, Syria, refugees crossing the Mediterranean, unaccompanied children crossing the board into the United States, and so many other failures.

The first reading from Deuteronomy reminds the people of the great things that God has done for them, leading the people from slavery into liberation and making them a community. God always desires healthy, just relationships between peoples. God wants community. God wants to free people from all slavery and lead them to live with dignity as children of God. Today we are invited to enter into this vision.  In the gospel, Jesus commissions the disciples to go out and share this vision with the whole world. 

The second reading from the letter to the Romans reminds us of our dignity as children of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.  This vision reminds us of our Catholic commitment to respect the human rights and dignity of every person.  This vision reminds us that God calls us to live in mutual respect for each other.  This is the way to peace and justice.

Economic systems have gotten “out of whack.” Some people make and hoard excessive amounts of money and others are trapped working long hours in low-income jobs and others have no jobs at all.  So many people feel financially insecure or fearful of debt.

Our relationship with the earth has also gotten “out of whack.”  The climate is changing.  Species are dying out. Consumption is out of control. Our way of living is not sustainable.  

We read today from Deuteronomy: “You must keep his statutes and commandments that I enjoin on you today, that you and your children after you may prosper, and that you may have long life on the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you forever."  We need the wisdom of God and the way of Jesus Christ to get our relationships back in order.


Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

How do you see relationships that are “out of whack” or unhealthy in our global world?  

What needs to be renewed?


Paul in Romans reminds us that we are children of God and heirs with Jesus Christ.  What experience has helped you to realize that we are all children of God?  What experience has shown you that we still have things to do to make sure that everyone is treated as a child of God?


How has God’s Spirit called you into being part of a community?  

How does the Spirit of God help you to live in community with others?  

How is your community called to connect to other communities?



There are many versions of this story built around the question “How do you know when the night is over the and the day has begun?” 

It was dusk on the bank of a river that curved from the sea to the mountain. There, perched in the deep bend of a branch of an oak tree, sat a rabbi, and at his feet were students from nations near and far. As the evening slowly reached up from the horizon and spread across the vast expanse of the sky, the rabbi and his students spoke of the great issues of the day. As they did each night, they spoke of issues of the heart, of humanity, and of hope.

The rabbi peered into the distance and turned to his students to ask, “Tell me – if you can – how we will know when the night is over and the day has begun?”

The students sat back for a minute and gazed at the horizon and witnessed as the deep blue of evening began to blend with the golden canvas of sunset. And they knew that the rabbi spoke neither of timetables nor of the earth’s rotation on its axis. No, the rabbi spoke of larger things.

After regarding the question for a while, one of the students raised his hand and said, “Rabbi, we will know that the night is over and the day has begun when we can see the difference between a goat and a lamb.”

The rabbi shook his head and said, “No, you have made a thoughtful effort, but that is not it either.”

The rabbi paused and said, “No, that is a good answer, but I don’t think that is it.

Soon, another student offered her hand and said, “Rabbi, I think the night is over and the day has begun when we can see the difference between a fig tree and an olive tree.”

The students seemed confused and were discouraged. Quietly, they gazed upwards where scattered stars and a full moon replaced the sun and brightened the deep dark of the endless sky.

After a moment, a soft voice could be heard from the bank closest to the river. It came from one of the Rabbi’s most reluctant students. Shy and somewhat hesitant, she began, “Rabbi, I think we will know that the night is over and the day has begun when we can see a rich man and a poor man and hear them say, ‘He is my brother.’”

The student continued, her voice growing stronger.

“When we see a black woman and a white woman and hear them say, ‘She is my sister.’ It will be then when we know that the night is over and the day has begun.”

The rabbi nodded his head, pleased with the wisdom of his student and said, “That is right.”

- Masechet Berachot of the Babylonian Talmud


Actions - Links

Bread for the World

-  Join Bread for the World’s efforts to fight hunger among children in the United States.

June is Torture Awareness Month

- The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) is a membership organization committed to ending U.S.-sponsored torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.  

- The Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International (TASSC) is an organization founded by and for torture survivors.“The mission of TASSC is to end the practice of torture wherever it occurs and to empower survivors, their families and communities wherever they are.” For more info about their activities and actions, go to: 

- Education for Justice Resources on Torture

June 5 is World Environment Day. Get more info at the United Nations:


“Crazy Facts”

On any given day, roughly 80,000 incarcerated adults and youth are held in conditions of solitary confinement. Isolated confinement has a variety of names: segregation (“seg”), “the hole." 

Incarcerated people are confined to a cell (alone, or with another person) for 22-24 hours per day, with an hour alone in an exercise cage, for months, years, even decades. Food is pushed through a small slot in the door. Denied all meaningful contact with other people, those who have survived it describe the experience as being "buried alive."

Syria:  In the past four years, more than 200,000 people have died - overwhelmingly civilians - and mostly in attacks by government forces. Around 4 million people from Syria are now refugees in other countries. More than 7.6 million are displaced inside Syria. Amnesty International Report 2014/15:

More than 50,000 unaccompanied migrant children were apprehended crossing the southern border of the USA in 2014, some as young as five. The US Border Patrol detained unaccompanied children for days or weeks in insanitary facilities and without access to legal counsel, translators or proper medical attention. Amnesty International Report 2014/15: 


Prayers of Intercession

Response:  May we share the fullness of life in Christ.

For the people of our world who go to bed hungry tonight, we pray….

For the people of our nations who are without meaningful work, we pray…..

For those children of the world who still do not have access to education, we pray….

For all the people of the world caught up in our wars, we pray….

For all those who are in our prisons and jails, we pray….

For all those who are victims of torture and other forms of extreme violence, we pray….

For those who are trapped by poverty, discrimination, and injustice, we pray….

For those who are privileges in our societies and especially those who don’t realize their privilege, we pray….

For our earth and its creatures who suffer from human abuse and overuse, we pray….


From Prayers for a Privileged People by Walter Brueggemann

We listen beyond jeering protesters and soaring jets and

       faintly we hear the mumbling of the crucified one.

       something about

       feeding the hungry

       and giving drink to the thirsty,

       about clothing the naked,

       and noticing the prisoners,

       more about the least and about holiness among them.


    We are moved by the mumbles of the gospel,

       even while we are tenured in our privilege.


We are half ready to join the choir of hope,

       half afraid things might change,

       and in a third half of our faith turning to you,

       and your outpouring love

       that works justice and

       that binds us each and all to one another.


       ... Come by here and make new,

       even at some risk to our entitlements.  (Pp.21-22)


Prayer - Meditation

Prayer for Peace, Pax Christi UK

We pray for those leaders of our communities,

our church, our country and our world,

that they may make decisions that are in accord

with God’s commandments that bring life, justice and peace.


For those who have died by actions of violence,

that they may be raised with Christ who died for them

and that they may know the unending life and glory

of the kingdom of peace and light.


For those who have survived violence,

that they will be sheltered in the compassion

of God and our community and that, feeling the compassion of Jesus,

they may find healing and hope.


For those who commit acts of violence against others,

that their hearts may be moved by Christ’s grace,

and that they may be transformed

by the Spirit of love.


For ourselves, that we will work together to end violence

and bring life, peace and security to our world.  


Teach me Your Way, O Lord by Pedro Arrupe, S.J.

Lord, Teach me your way of treating others – sinners, children, Pharisees, Pilates and Herods, and also John the Baptists. 

Teach me your way of eating and drinking, and how to act when I'm tired from work and need rest. 

Teach me compassion for the suffering, the poor, the blind, and the lame. You who shed tears, show me how to live my deepest emotions. Above all, I want to learn how you endured your Cross. 

Teach me your way of looking at people: the way you glanced at Peter after his denial, the way you touched the heart of the rich young man and the hearts of your disciples. 

I would like to meet you as you really are, since you change those who really know you. If only I could hear you speak as when you spoke in the synagogue of Capernaum or on the Mount of Beatitudes!

Give me grace to live my life, within and without, the way you lived your life, O Lord.