CELEBRATE-IMITATE OUR 3-IN-1 GOD
Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40; Romans 8:14-17; Matthew 28:16-20
Multi-tasking is a way of life today… with many multi-function devices to help us! Think about the 3-in-1 stylus-laser pointer-pen. AIO printers print-copy-scan-fax. Today’s smartphones do virtually everything! With all these multi-functioning devices, it shouldn’t be difficult to accept the notion that one God can exist as three persons!
Our God is “multi-function” (though we ought not to reduce God to function)! It is proper to attribute the work of creation to the Father; the work of healing and redemption to the Son; and the work of guidance to the Spirit. Three unique persons with three distinct functions!
These unique persons live in community. God is a family!
John’s Gospel highlights the fundamentally social/communitarian nature of God. John 1:18 speaks of the “Son who is close to the Father’s heart.” John 10:30 reads: “My Father and I are one.” In John 6:20, Jesus tells his disciples: “It is I (in Greek I am), do not be afraid.” In five other places, Jesus uses the absolute “I am”, which recalls Exodus 3:14, where Yahweh revealed his name to Moses: “I am who am.”
The Greek Fathers use the word perichoresis (“dancing together”) to describe this loving communion of the Trinity. The Father, Son, and Spirit live in perfect communion, which is essentially a “being there” for one another.
What are the implications of the doctrine of the Trinity for us?
Created in the image and likeness of a trinitarian God, we have similar attributes!
First, we are unique; we want to be recognized and accepted as individuals. We don’t want to be clones.
Second, we desire to be in community/communion. This is achieved not by negating/denying differences, but by respecting and nurturing our diversity, and blending our differences.
Third, like the Father, we are called to be creative and to contribute to building up. Like the Son, we are called to reconcile and to mend broken relationships. Like the Spirit, it is our task to teach and to dispel ignorance.
More important than understanding the doctrine of the Trinity is to experience and imitate our Trinitarian God.
How will I live out the doctrine of the Trinity in my life: will I respect myself and others as unique persons, and form communion and community by blending differences? Will I become a creative contributor, healer, and guide?
May we celebrate and imitate our 3-in-1 God!
(By Fr Vinod, Rector and Secretary of INB Province)
Chawan Matey, a Bosco Bible school past pupil (2004 – 07) won the IYDC Don Bosco Mobile photography Contest. Hailing from Old Paniduria village under Borduria Parish, Arunachal Pradesh, she completed her middle school in the Bible school, Tinsukia in 2007. She won Gold medal with first class in MSc Zoology from the Rajiv Gandhi Central University, Itanagar in 2017 and was selected for the Indo-Austrian student exchange programme in the year 2019 and was visiting research student in the prestigious University of Graz, Austria. She is currently working as a Research fellow at the Zoology department in the University of Lucknow.
The competition was conducted by Integrated Youth Development Centre (IYDC), which is a Salesian training centre for the youth, youth animators and all those who are involved with the youth. It provides programmes, services and facilities for the total development of the young and training for educators and animators in youth ministry.( for more information log on to iydc.org.in)
THE CUSHION OF THE SPIRIT
Acts 2:1-11; 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13 or Galatians 5:16-25
John 20:19-23 or John 15:26-27; 16:12-15
A submarine, under test, had to remain submerged overnight. A terrible storm hit the coast and battered the ships in the harbour.
The next morning, when the sub resurfaced, the harbour master asked the captain: “How did the storm last night affect you?”
The captain looked at him in surprise: “Storm? We didn’t even know there was one!”
The sub had reached an area sailors call the “cushion of the sea.” Though the winds whipped the sea into huge waves and battered the ships on it, they never stirred the deep waters; the submarine remained safe despite the turbulence around.
This is a good image of the peace that comes from the Spirit that Jesus promises his disciples. It does not remove the causes of worry, fear, and suffering, but it does not allow these to swamp the disciples.
The gospel describes the evening of Easter Sunday. The disciples had shut themselves behind closed doors after the crucifixion “for fear of the Jews.” That’s where Jesus finds them on “the first day of the week.” That’s where he finds them a week later even after he had given them his peace.
But on Pentecost, after they were “filled with the Holy Spirit”, when they experienced the “cushion of the Spirit,” they felt a deep peace, and then they moved out to fearlessly proclaim Jesus crucified and risen.
Notice that the situation outside had not changed; in fact, it had worsened! The disciples faced arrest, persecution and death, and they “were scattered throughout the region of Judea and Samaria” (Acts 8:1). But they continued preaching the word – and how! What changed was not the situation, not the disciples; what changed was they found the “cushion of the Spirit.”
We seek the peace that Jesus gave his disciples, peace that abides despite pain and suffering, anguish and fear; peace that is elusive because of the turbulence of the pandemic and other factors. We need the peace that comes from remaining in the “cushion of the Spirit”. Then, we can move out of our “shut doors” to witness to the gospel.
Jesus gives us the Spirit and the peace that he gave his first disciples. Will I rest in the cushion of the Spirit? And then, filled with his peace—despite the turbulence that surrounds me—how will I proclaim Jesus and witness to him?
(By Fr Vinod SDB, Rector and Secretary – INB)
I am happy to announce that the Rector Major has appointed Fr. Karinattu Benny Kurian as the New Provincial Economer of our Province. I congratulate him in the name of all the confreres and wish him God’s blessings in his new responsibility. Currently he is the Rector of the Provincial House and the Secretary of the Province. He was the Principal of Don Bosco College Maram, Headmaster of Don Bosco School Jorhat, Vice Rector of Rua Home Jorhat, Director of Bosco Institute of Information Technology, Maram, warden of Ravalico Hostel, Imphal, assistant professor at Salesian College of Higher Education, Dimapur etc.
PASSING THE BATON
Acts 1:1-11; Ephesians 1:17-23 or 4:1-13; Mark 16:15-20
The 4×100 relay is thrilling. The most exciting/important time is the baton exchange; many a race has been lost because of poor baton exchange. Since 1988, US quartets have been disqualified or haven’t finished the event nine times at the World Championships and the Olympics – even though they had the fastest runners – because of foul ups at baton exchanges.
The Ascension is Jesus passing the baton to his disciples in the great human and Christian race. He has prepared them over three years and especially over the 40 days after the resurrection. It is time for them to take over.
The ascension completes Jesus’ leg of the relay and his mission on earth to bring the good news to the afflicted, liberty to captives, sight to the blind – in short, to bring wholeness to people.
The ascension begins the disciples’ part of the relay: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” Mark establishes an immediate connection between Jesus’ ascension and the disciples’ mission: “So the Lord Jesus… was taken up into heaven… But they went forth and preached everywhere.”
This continuation of the mission is a massive challenge. But the Lord assures us that he is with us through his Spirit.
The scene from the Acts, in today’s first reading, is modelled on the experience of Joshua and Elisha. Joshua received a share of Moses’ spirit and Elisha received a double share of Elijah’s. Jesus assures his disciples that they will receive the power to continue his work: the Holy Spirit.
Despite this promise, they remained there “gazing into heaven.” They have not understood that they must look towards the earth – the locus of their mission.
The baton has been passed to us. The mission is ours; the Spirit and power of the Lord are ours. Am I willing to carry the baton and run my leg of the race? How will I continue Christ’s mission in the area in which I live and work?
PS: It takes time and practice for relay teams to run well. US national teams have little of that; the relay is an all-star team that rarely runs together. I need time with the Lord to receive the baton; I need to be in the correct “exchange-zone”; I need to run with the team… always!
(Fr Vinod SDB, Rector and Secretary, Don Bosco Provincial House, Mumbai)
Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48; 1 John 4:7-10; John 15:9-17
In his book “Love is a Costly Thing”, Dick Hillis describes a mother he encountered during a trip to Africa: “She was lying on the ground, holding a tiny baby in her arms. I put a cooked sweet potato into her hand; it was all I had. Her strength was almost gone, but her tired eyes acknowledged my gift. Taking a bite, she chewed it carefully. Then, placing her mouth over her baby’s mouth, she forced the soft warm food into the tiny throat. Although she was starving, she used the entire potato to keep her baby alive. Exhausted from her effort, she dropped her head on the ground and closed her eyes. I later learned that during the night the mother’s heart stopped, but her little girl lived.”
Love is costly; it cost that mother her life. Her love was a self-sacrificing love, which mirrored God’s love for us that Jesus speaks about in the Gospel and John writes about in the Second Reading.
God manifests his love for us by gifting us his only beloved Son (second reading).
In the gospel, Jesus tells his disciples that he has loved them as the Father has loved him and gives them the new commandment of love: “love one another as I have loved you.”
That last part is the toughie: “as I have loved you.” How has he loved us?
He loves us gratuitously. The gift of God’s love is just that—a gift, not a prize won, not a reward for service.
He loves us as a friend. Servants work definite hours, and often do things only because they receive an order. Friendship goes go beyond; it entails mutual fidelity and loyalty, it is open-ended.
He loves us totally. Throughout his life, he lovingly served his fellow human beings. He gave his body and blood at the Last Supper and sacrificed his body and blood at Calvary.
For Jesus, love is not a mere liking for another; it is a total self-gift. And he exhorts us to love in the same manner.
Will I love gratuitously, as a friend without counting the cost, and totally?
(By Fr Vinod SDB)