Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
27 May 2018 at St. Peter the Apostle and St. William Churches in Naples, FL
Deuteronomy 4, 32-34, 39-40 + Psalm 33 + Romans 8, 14-17 + Matthew 28, 16-20
There are some unique and important features to Matthew’s Gospel at this point. In this Gospel, after the Resurrection Jesus never appears to anyone except the women. There is nothing about Peter and there is no upper room. The disciples meet Jesus only one time. In Matthew’s Gospel the first appearance is to some women. At the instruction of Jesus, they go to the eleven and tell them what Jesus told them: “Go to Galilee.” Notice that Matthew refers to them as “the eleven” making certain that we remember the failure and betrayal. Now, Galilee is about a 60-mile journey from Jerusalem, no easy walk. When they arrived, Jesus was there, and Matthew tells us that they worshipped and doubted. Jesus gives them a command which in the original language is quite unique. It is a command that does not easily translate into English.
Matthew uses the noun disciple as a verb. A disciple then is no long a person, place, or thing. It is something you do. They are to “disciple” others. This is more than teach or preach to. This is about entering into a relationship. Jesus does not tell them to start up a study club or a teach a Scripture course. Discipling has to do with a relationship, with a bond between the message and the one who accepts it. Christians after all, are not simply people who listen to teaching, study it, and contemplate it as something outside of themselves. They are people who absorb the message into their lives so much so that it changes their identity, their very makeup. There is a conversion. They become something else. They become a disciple, a person who lives in union with the Divine Persons, and this begins at Baptism for those are “Baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” We are Baptized into a relationship with the Divine, which means Baptism makes us a people who share in the life of the Trinity.
This relationship is always and best described as being God’s children, a member of God’s family. Like the children of any loving parent, we inherit everything that parent has to give. We are co-heirs with the Son to the Kingdom of Heaven. It is our inheritance.
It is lonely not knowing God. People seek security in wealth, possessions, connections, and even more, but God is the ultimate refuge. The discipled are secure however, more secure than anyone who seeks security in things. One fire or big storm and it’s all gone. Those who are discipled have the blessed assurance anyone could hope for. Even though disciples are not promised a trouble-free life, or even success, they know that as long as Jesus Christ is with them, they will have the courage and strength to face whatever difficulties lay ahead. Knowing that does not change the world, but it gives us all the courage to face it.
Discipled people and people who are discipling are a people of prayer which nourishes a sense of the presence of God. An old wise man once said: “When you are with everyone but me, you are with no one. When you are with no one but me, you are with everyone.”