Gospel Reflection May 30 – Sr. Teresa
Sunday, May 30
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
Matthew 28: 16-20
The eleven disciples went to Galilee,
to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.
When they all saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.
Then Jesus approached and said to them,
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
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,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Trinity. We are familiar with the many ways we express our belief in the Trinity. If you pray the Liturgy of the Hours, every psalm ends with a trinitarian doxology. If you pray the rosary, you say the prayer: “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit” multiple times. At our Baptism, as the water is poured, the celebrant says, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” At the end of every Mass, we are sent forth to preach the Gospel. Then we are blessed, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Every time we make the Sign of the Cross, we declare the Trinity. Believing it is not the problem but explaining the meaning of the Trinity is very difficult. All I can say about the Trinity is that is it a mystery and one that we deeply believe.
However, the Trinity is not what caught me in today’s Gospel passage. I have read this passage many times before. I have preached about this passage and heard others preach as well. I would say that nearly 100% of the time the focus has been that we have been sent out to bring the word to others.
This time the line that caught my attention was, “ When they saw him, they worshipped him, but they doubted.” They doubted! They doubted, but Jesus sent them out to preach his message despite their doubt. Really!?! – is it really a good idea to send out people who doubt the message? That mystifies me. Even though they doubted, he sent them out anyway. He called them; he calls me; calls you disciple and sends us with his mission and message. That made me do a lot of reflection.
How does doubt fit into the life of a disciple? Is it a sin to doubt? I do not think it is. I think it is one of the steps in deepening my faith. Yet, I do wonder how to move forward with the good news, the Gospel, when I doubt some of the things Jesus tries to teach us. Maybe what Jesus is teaching us today is that the very act of moving forward with his message is the only thing that will help our doubting. Maybe it gives us greater clarity.
Let me share some of my doubts. I hear Jesus say, “Love your enemies and do good to those who hate you.” I must admit that sometimes I doubt that this is possible or even desirable. How can I love someone I consider my enemy much less do good to people who hate me or maybe I say I hate? How do I look at George Floyd and Derek Chauvin and see that each one is my brother? How do I look at both men and see someone who is deeply loved by God? How do I widen my heart to see both men, to love both men? Perhaps, it is only by trusting in the message, trusting in Jesus and believing in his words that I can work through whatever blinds my eyes from seeing as God sees.
Sometimes, I doubt that good will triumph over evil, when I see time after time that it seems that evil is winning in our world. Violence continues to take the lives of so many and the poor continually get the short end of the stick. The immigrant is still unwelcomed in so many places. Self-interest and greed continue to win out over the interest of the common good. The social injustice of racism is still ignored. People are still trafficked, and drugs are easily and readily available. My brothers and sisters are still discriminated against because of ethnicity, gender identification, economic standings, political, religious, or sexual preferences. So, yes, I often doubt that good is triumphing over evil, but still I feel compelled to spread the Gospel. Why is that? Why did Jesus send out those who saw him, worshipped him but doubted him?
Perhaps, Jesus knew that the only way to transform my doubts into believing is by spreading his message over and over again. Perhaps, spreading the message of the good news of the Gospel is the only way to open the doors of my heart and make room for others, especially those I shut out or make judgements about according to my standards.
Perhaps, Jesus knew that the only way to transform my doubts is by spreading his message over and over again. Perhaps spreading the message of Jesus is the only way to open the windows of my soul to let out the stagnation that can settle in the air and let in the always fresh air of the Holy Spirit.
Perhaps, Jesus knew that the only way to transform my doubts is by spreading his message over and over again. Perhaps spreading the good news is the only way to penetrate the walls I set up because of my recognized and unrecognized prejudices and biases I harbor in my mind.
Perhaps, Jesus knew that the only way to transform my doubts is by spreading his message over and over again allowing me to dream of a world that is reflected in today’s responsorial psalms…a world that is upright, trustworthy, just, righteous, loving and kind and acts in a new way despite any doubts I might have.
I see him, I worship him, but I doubt, and yet, Jesus still sends me out as his disciple to bring the Good News of the Gospel to others.
Sr. Teresa Tuite, OP