“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)
Who is God? How can we describe God? What makes God so great, so powerful, so extraordinary? Of course, these are questions that the human mind cannot comprehend. What we know is that God is much more than what we can imagine or understand. Speaking to the Israelites, Moses in today’s first reading says:
“Did any people ever hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire? … Know therefore this day, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on earth beneath; there is no other.” (Deuteronomy 4:33-39). In other words, God is both in heaven and on earth at the same time and there is no other. This brings us to our first lesson for today:
1. God is Trinity.
The same one God created the world as Father and at the same time, came to be born as a man; Jesus Christ, and at the same time, descended from heaven upon the disciples gathered in worship on Pentecost Day. Matthew ends his Gospel with the scene of Jesus’ apparition to his disciples after his resurrection when he told them: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19). This means there is perfect equality in the Trinity.
Since we are made in the image and likeness of God who is Trinity, we cannot afford to be lone rangers. We need communion with others for our full potentials and gifts to be materialized. We must, therefore, avoid selfishness, self-centeredness, individualism, the me-myself-and-I syndrome.
2. God is Love
When we say God is Love, we mean God is three persons living in one perfect union of Love. The perfect unity that exists in the Trinity is a great lesson in love. Love is the magic that makes living with others possible. Take love away and every one becomes an enemy, we begin to fight ourselves and soon the life becomes unbearable.
In today’s first reading, we hear Moses saying: “Keep his statutes and his commandments, which I am commanding you today for your own well-being and that of your descendants after you, so that you may long remain in the land that the LORD your God is giving you for all time.” (Deuteronomy 4:40) Guess what, a Pharisee once asked Jesus to summarize all the commandments of God and this was His response:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
In our Gospel passage today, Jesus gives us a divine mandate, to go and make disciples of all nations. How can we fulfil this mandate if there is no love in our hearts? We may be eloquent in speech, we may be able to speak in tongues or work miracles but if our hearts are lacking in love, we wouldn’t win a single soul. (Cf. 1st Corinthians 13:1-3). Love is the answer. Let each one reach one and we would soon have heaven down here.
3. God is Family.
At the concluding part of today’s Gospel passage, Jesus says to us: “I am with you always to the close of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) God who is in heaven above is at the same time always with us. God is in me, and in you. He lives in you. He watches over. He is even in your reflection. The Psalmist asks, “Oh where can I flee from your presence? Even if I climb the highest mountain, you are there and if I say let the light around me be darkness, you are still there.” (Cf. Psalm 139:7-12)
God is Trinity. God is Family. To say God is Father, Son, and Spirit at the same time is to say that 1. God understands perfectly what it means to be a Father to us, his children, 2. God understands what it means to be a brother to us and 3. God understands the depth of our spirits.
In today’s second reading, St. Paul says that all who are led by the spirit of God are sons of God. We are not orphans. We have a Father who is in charge of the universe and we are co-heirs with Christ. This is why we can say “Abba Father”
This is why we pray with confidence knowing whatever we ask we shall receive, whatever we seek we shall find and whatever door we knock, it shall be opened. (Cf. Matthew 7:7-8) What Father is there that would give his children stone when they ask for bread or give them snake when they ask for fish? Let us trust God more.
4. Baptism and the Trinity.
I once saw a video clip where a certain man was teaching about baptism. According to him, baptism must be done in the name of Jesus Christ alone. As I watched the video, I began to question if today’s Gospel passage is not in his own Bible. This is because as we can see, Jesus clearly instructed us to baptise in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Any baptism that does not use this Trinitarian formula is not valid.
Let us pray: God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, teach me to love, to live and act according to your will and promptings. Amen.
Bible Study: Deuteronomy 4:32-40, Psalm 33, Romans 8:14-17 and Matthew 28:16-20).