Treasures From Our Tradition
Today’s feast, extending a dimension of Easter joy into Ordinary Time, reminds us that every aspect of worship centers on the mystery of God in three persons. At baptism, we are initiated into Christ and the Spirit. The Creed we recite at Mass every Sunday has its roots in the ancient celebration of baptism, when a new believer was questioned at the edge of the waters of the font with three questions: Do you believe in God, the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit? Three questions, three affirmations, three immersions into the saving waters. Because every liturgy abounds with references to the Trinity, not only in words but in blessings by the sign of the cross, this feast was not easily accepted into the calendar. Pope Alexander in the eleventh century remarked that the liturgy is so laden with praise of the Trinity that there was no need for a special feast. Two hundred years later, while in exile in France, Pope John XXII proclaimed the feast, but it was not until 1911 that Pope St. Pius X gave it status as a solemnity.
A favorite image in art for today is the Icon of the Trinity, showing three glorious winged men seated at a table laden with bread and a cup of wine. It recalls Abraham’s hospitality to angels and gives expression to the inner life of God, a life lived in relationship, a life poured out in abundance whenever Christians gather at the table of the Eucharist to give praise to the Father, in Christ, in the embrace of the Spirit.
—James Field, Copyright © J. S. Paluch Co.