31 May 2015
Homily of the Apostolic Nuncio
His Grace Archbishop Petar Rajič
In order to understand the significance of today’s liturgy, in honour of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, which is one of the great mysteries of our faith, let us reflect on some of the words of Pope Benedict XVI, who previously provided some teaching on the theme of the Holy Trinity.
“Thanks to the Holy Spirit, who helps us understand Jesus’ words and guides us to the whole truth (Cf. Jn 14: 26; 16: 13), believers can experience, so to speak, the intimacy of God himself, discovering that he is not infinite solitude but communion of light and love, life given and received in an eternal dialogue between the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit – Lover, Loved and Love, to echo St Augustine.”
In this world no one can see God, but he has made himself known so that, with the Apostle John, we can affirm: God is love (1 Jn 4:8,16) and we have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us (Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, n.1; cf. 1 Jn 4:16).
Our entire Christian lives are centered on this great mystery of our faith – the Most Holy Trinity. In our liturgical prayers, especially the opening prayer or Collect, we pray to the Father asking him to hear our prayers which we offer through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. We are always praying therefore to the Holy Trinity and expressing our belief in the triune God.
One of the first things, if not the very first introduction we had to the faith by our parents or grandparents was the making of the sign of the cross in the name of the Holy Trinity. Our parents took our small hand and showed us how to touch our foreheads, hearts and shoulders and thereby symbolically remember that God is one being in three persons and that the sign of Christians is the cross of Christ. We make the sign of the cross at the beginning and end of Mass, at prayer, when we receive the sacraments, when we enter churches, when we start and end our day at home. This shows us that the Holy Trinity is with us in all our actions and in our daily Christian lives. Everything we do as believers is done in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. God works through three persons and we are called to adore him and worship him as such in his eternal majesty.
This special sign cannot be overlooked lightly or taken for granted when we pray and come to Mass. All too often, we don’t even realize the great sign we are making when we make the sign of the cross on our bodies. Some people simply are not aware of what they are doing and so their sign of the cross is oftentimes one of habit and a very sloppy one. Some people do it very quickly as if they were almost afraid or ashamed to make the sign of the cross. Others simply make a motion of their arm over their faces and chest that oftentimes appears as if they are trying to scratch themselves or shoo flies away. Others still overdo it, and make so many motions and crosses that it appears as a nervous disorder. The same is true of the three little crosses we make at the beginning of the reading of the Gospel, on our foreheads, mouths and hearts.
When we make the sign of the cross, we must call to mind that we are invoking the name of God, and that we are making the sign of our salvation – the cross of Christ. We call upon God to be with us in our actions, in our daily lives, in everything we undertake so that his divine presence accompany us along the way, strengthen us, and encourage us to go on. We cannot therefore just routinely make the sign, but it should be an act of prayer, done in a dignified way and in humility before God. The Lord our God wishes to communicate his life to us through his Son in the Holy Spirit. Let us take advantage of the great presence of God in our lives to enrich ourselves with his resources, his life and above all his love.
“The Virgin Mary, among all creatures, is a masterpiece of the Most Holy Trinity. In her humble heart full of faith, God prepared a worthy dwelling place for himself in order to bring to completion the mystery of salvation. Divine Love found perfect correspondence in her, and in her womb the Only-begotten Son was made man. Let us turn to Mary with filial trust, so that with her help we may progress in love and make our life a hymn of praise to the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit.” (Benedict XVI, Angelus, 11 June 2006).