Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
“In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit”… this is not only the most effective way of getting the attention of a room full of Catholics, but it is also our most basic and simplest profession of faith. As we cross ourselves and call out in the name of the Most Holy Trinity we are, in essence, acknowledging our belief in the greatest two mysteries of the Church; the redemption obtained for us by Christ through his salvific work on the cross and the three distinct persons of the Most Holy Trinity. Today, in the modern age, the significance of this simple profession of faith may be somewhat diminished, but its importance and relevance is essential and necessary to the life and well-being of the Church.
The development of the doctrine of the Most Holy Trinity was not without controversy and conflict. Throughout the centuries the church’s efforts to clarify this teaching required many councils and the theological work of many Church Fathers. The doctrine itself, after years of struggle against heresy and false doctrine, was ultimately formulated in both the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 and, finally, in the Council of Florence in 1442.
The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is considered to be the central mystery of the Christian faith. Though we, as modern day disciples of Christ, may not truly appreciate the struggle and the effort represented in the simple act of crossing ourselves “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”, this profession of faith did not come to us without struggle and sacrifice. Countless men and women endured and preserved in order that this essential truth remained firmly at the center of our faith and witness.
It is this central belief in the mystery and power of the Most Holy Trinity which we find in today’s Gospel reading. It is also in today’s Gospel reading that we find the challenge given to us by our Lord and Savior. The challenge of living our faith in such a manner that others will also become disciples of Christ.
In order to meet this challenge we must first be willing to examine our life and how we live it. We must ask ourselves difficult questions. Questions such as, “How am I fulfilling the command of Christ to go and make disciples?”, and, “Am I intentionally, purposefully, prayerfully, and visibly living each day in order to fulfill this challenge?”
As Catholics we sometimes fall into the trap of; that is what the Priests and Deacons are supposed to do. They are responsible for baptizing and instructing. As good Catholics we are only required to pray, pay, and obey. We are not responsible for making disciples.
Christ’s call to “go and make disciples” is universal and encompasses all who call themselves followers of Christ. It is not a right, a privilege, or even a “calling”; it is a commission. A commission from our Lord and Savior to spread his light and love throughout all the world; regardless of title, position, or ordination.
Jesus Christ called his disciples to him on the mountain and, in spite of their doubt, commissioned them to go and make disciples. We, the fruit of their labor, are held to that same expectation. Though our individual responsibilities and authority vary according to our unique and specific gifts and talents we all have opportunity to teach and guide others in the ways of our Lord.
We teach others by how we live. When we stand up against injustice; when we show kindness; when we take the time to listen; when we respond in love; when we provide comfort and support; when we offer friendship; when we give direction… we are teaching others what we have learned from those holy men and women who gone before us.
Our responsibility to make disciples does not require formal formation and the Sacrament of Ordination. Our responsibility to make disciples rests in our willingness to let Christ, through the mystery and power of the Holy Spirit, to minister through us. This willingness comes from a choice. A choice to fulfill the commission of Christ to go and make disciples.