Holy Trinity - Feast

  From Fr. Jude Botelho:

In today's first reading from the book of Deuteronomy, Moses offers us a vision of God who goes all the way back to creation and then across history. Moses had led the people to the Promised Land and in his last words to the people, he speaks of God's fidelity and love. Other people had their gods but there is only one true God, the God who is creator, the God who revealed himself to his people; the God of Israel, who had bound himself to the chosen people. Moses reminds them of what a privilege it is to have this God revealing himself to them right through their journey to the Promised Land. Moses' advice to them was that they remember that their Lord is God and there is no other and that they show their fidelity by keeping his commandments. 

Can I see God?
Once there was a king who at the end of his life was beset by melancholy because he had not seen God. He called his wise men and priests and stated, "How I would dearly love to see God before I die." A kind shepherd who lived in the hills approached the king and said: "Allow me to help your majesty." The king followed the shepherd into the hills and rubbed his eyes in anticipation of what he hoped to see. But the shepherd said to him: "Majesty if you want to see God, it's your heart you have to purify, not your eyes. At last, the shepherd stopped on a hill top and pointing to the sun said: "Look up!" The king tried but the glare dazzled him. "Do you want to blind me?" he said. The shepherd replied "but, my lord, this is only a small reflection, a tiny spark of His radiant light. How can you expect to look at God with your weak and imperfect eyes? You must begin to search for him with eyes other than your physical eyes." The king said: "Where does God live?" The shepherd pointed to above them where wild birds were flying. "Look at these birds," he said. "See how they are surrounded by air. In the same way we are surrounded by God. Just be still. Open your eyes and look. Open your ears and listen. You can't miss him." The king stopped and looked and listened. As he did so a peaceful expression came on his sad face. The shepherd added: "There is something else your majesty ought to know." What's that?" asked the eager king. Then the shepherd showed him a well. Growing impatient, the king asked: "Who lives down there?" "God does" replied the shepherd. "Can I see him?" "Sure just take a look." "But all I see is me!" "Now your majesty knows where God lives. He lives in you." The king returned to his palace the wiser. No one knew if he had seen God but they could tell something had happened to his heart. This was evident from the kindly way he dealt with even the least of his servants, people who prior to this he hardly knew existed.

Flor McCarthy in 'Sunday and Holy day Liturgies' 

The Gospel gives us the final commendation of Jesus as he is about to leave his disciples and return to his Father. Just as he had one mission on earth to reveal that God is our Father, so also every disciple is given this same mission. "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations." Jesus is authorizing every one of his followers, to invite everyone to enter into a relationship with God and become part of his family through baptism. The essence of our religion is not laws and precepts and doctrine but a personal relationship with God, which is made possible through Jesus Christ and gifted to us in and through the Holy Spirit. Just as the chosen people journeyed to the Promised Land, our faith too is a journey to God. Ordinarily when we are planning our journey we have to depend on our own resources. If on the other hand we are sent on behalf of our company or country or state or nation we don't have to do anything because everything is taken care of by the authority of those who sent us. On this our faith journey in life, we are not on a do-it-yourself programme; we do not go on our own steam, but are sent on this journey on God's behalf, in His name and what is best, we are not alone. "And remember, I am with you always, to the end of time." 

Sent in His name

"A nephew of mine went on a world trek a few years ago. He felt the time was right and, if he didn't move now, he might not get the opportunity again. He traveled lightly with the usual rucksack, and several extras hanging on it. The one thing that impressed me however was the number of papers he carried on his person. He had the usual passport, ID, driver's license, etc. He had visas from several embassies, and he had quite a collection of letters from people he knew, that he hoped to use as introductions to people they knew, in the different countries he intended to visit. It was important for him to have some contact, wherever he went; to have someone who could verify his legal status wherever he went. He wasn't on a mission, a contract or an assignment, so he needed to surround himself with all the supports he could muster. As a Christian, I am commissioned to go anywhere in the world, to carry a message, and to rely on divine immunity."

Jack McArdle in 'And that's the Gospel Truth' 

Attracting rather than promoting

At an international Conference on Evangelization, people from different countries were presenting their preferred methods in their missionary work. Some spoke of food, others spoke of housing, while others spoke of health and medicine. Between them, there was a wonderful spirit of generosity and of missionary zeal. One of the surprise packages presented came from a group of Christians in the Far East. Of course, they saw the need for food, for health, for housing, and they tried what they could to provide that. The most important thing for them, however, was, once they had selected an area in which they wished to implant the Christian message, the first thing they did was to send a Christian family to live there. Their first line of evangelization was always the witness value of Christian living. It has always been the Catholic tradition that its strongest message was the witness of its members, in their daily living. This, of course, could be disputed, but there is no doubt about it, Christianity is more attracting than promoting.

Jack McArdle in 'And that's the Gospel truth'
Belief in God
The following prayer was found on the body of a young soldier, killed in action during World War I. 'Look, God, I've never spoken to you before, but now I just want to say 'hello'. They told me you didn't exist, and like a fool I believed them. But last night I looked up at the sky from a shell hole. When I saw the beauty of the stars, and thought how big the universe is, I knew they were telling me a lie. I wonder if you will shake hands with me when we meet. Somehow I feel you will understand all my failures. Strange how I had to come to this horrible place to get to know you. What was I doing before this? There isn't much more to say, but I am sure glad I got to know you today. I feel zero hour will soon be here. This is going to be a horrible fight. Who knows but I may come to your house tonight. I'm crying! Fancy me crying! I never thought this would happen to me. I have to go now. Strange, since I met you, I'm no longer afraid to die.'
Flor McCarthy in 'Sunday and Holy Day Liturgies'
A window into the beyond
A man was confined to a prison cell. His only view of the outside world was through a small window high up on the wall. At first he hated his confinement, and despised the miserable view he had of the outside world, which was the only world he believed in. But time passed, and that little window became his friend. True, it offered only tiny morsels of life - a wisp of cloud, a free flying bird, a passing plane, a falling leaf, a raindrop, a snowflake. But he realized that this was not such a bad thing. It forced him to concentrate on the particular, and to make much of little. He was amazed at discovering how much life there can be in a small sample. 'Through a chink too wide there comes in no wonder' (Patrick Kavanagh). Thus, the little window helped him to appreciate the things of heaven as well as the things of earth.
Flor McCarthy in 'Sunday and Holy Day Liturgies'
Understanding one another
John and Josephine have just celebrated their fortieth wedding anniversary. Since their four children have left home and married, they have spent seventeen years on their own, a time they describe as "a new growing towards each other." When they were asked why they still enjoyed each other's company, Josephine replied: "We've always had a healthy respect for each other's differences. And we're still growing to know each other better. I just wish that we could have communicated with each other years ago the way we do now. But perhaps our easiness with each other now could only come about because of all the struggles we went through." The longer we are acquainted with people, the more we grow to realize how little we know them. Family and friends continue to surprise us, reminding us that they are always more than our understanding of them. We can all give instant impressions of people after knowing them only for a week, but if we're honest with ourselves we have to admit that our clarity is born of ignorance. We can have epic conversations about a new acquaintance, but the lengthy talk is mostly guesswork, makeshift images built from a few clues. Unless we settle for stereotypes, understanding other people is a lifetime's task. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that when it comes to understanding God we can become paralyzed by the sheer magnitude of the mystery.
Denis McBride in 'Seasons of the Word'
May we know the family of God by living for others and for God!


A preacher proudly boasted that he does not preach doctrinal sermons. They are boring he asserts and people do not understand or relate to them. Further, he claimed, I am a preacher and not a theologian. I get down do the practical issues and simply preach Christ crucified.  

His thinking is faulty at several points. First, he is wrong when he says that he is not a theologian. The fact is that everyone to a certain extent is a theologian. Theology is nothing more than what you think about God. Well, shouts one person, I don't believe In God. That then is your theology. I would also take issue with him when he claims that he does not preach theology but gets down to practical issues. In my thinking there is no difference in good theology and good practice. Good, solid theology gets down to the very core of our existence. 

Finally, I would disagree with him when he says that we should only preach Christ crucified. I know that is what the Apostle Paul said but this preacher doesn't mean what Paul meant. He is saying that he only preaches about the cross and saving the sinner. I submit to you that the cross is not central in Paul's theology; rather, it is Christ. It has always puzzled me why some ministers preach the message of salvation to people who have been sitting in the pews all their life when they need so much more of Christ's teaching on life's other issues. There are many strings on a guitar. To make beautiful music all of them must be played and not just one. That is why in the United Methodist Church we honor the lectionary and the seasons of the church year. That insures a witness to the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ. How can one go through the season of Advent and not touch upon the doctrine of the incarnation. How can one go through Lent without touching upon the doctrine of the resurrection? Likewise, how can we embark upon the season of Pentecost, as we did last week, without mentioning the doctrine of the Trinity?  

Today is Trinity Sunday... 
The soul has its seasons. "There is a time to be born, a time to die." 

The Bible has its seasons. The biblical New Year begins at the appearance of the first "new moon" of spring, when nature comes to life.   

The West has its seasons. The New Year begins in the depths of the winter, which is often when the new comes, in the midst of winter, the soul most often coming to life in the wintry seasons of life.  

The church has its seasons.   

In the church our "seasons" are not determined by climate changes or a vernal equinox. Instead of fall, winter, spring, and summer, the church calendar recognizes seven "seasons:"   

Holy Week
Kingdomtide (unique to Wesleyans and Presbyterians)   

Unlike those other "four seasons" that neatly divvy up the year into four equal parts, the church seasons are all of different lengths. Advent is only four Sundays long. Lent is observed for six Sundays. Epiphany and Eastertide both extend over seven Sundays. The week of Holy Week gets its own "season." But by far the majority of the church calendar year is designated as the "Sundays after Pentecost" - depending on what church calendar you are using, up to twenty-seven Sundays in all, with this week being the first of those many "Pentecost Sundays."  

The reason for such a lop-sided division of the "seasons" in the church is explained in part by this week's gospel text. Matthew 28:16-20 is identified as the "Commissioning of the Disciples" text. It is a hotly contested text, to say the least. The phrase "The Great Commission" doesn't appear in the Bible, and wasn't widely used until the early 20th century, when the phrase and the text became wed-locked forever.   

In these few verses Matthew manages to encapsulate the whole of his gospel story...
Understanding the Trinity  

This is Trinity Sunday. God in three persons--Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Do we fully understand this wonderful doctrine? No, but some of us will fight for it. 

You may remember that ancient story about St. Augustine. One day he took a break from writing about the Trinity to take a walk along the seashore. There he came across a child with a little pail, intently scooping up a pail full of water out of the ocean, then walking up the beach and dumping it out into the sand, then going back down to scoop out another pail of water to pour into the sand, etc. 

Augustine asked the child what he was doing, and the child explained that he was "emptying the sea out into the sand." 

When the Bishop tried to gently point out the absurd impossibility of this task, the child replied, "Ah, but I'll drain the sea before you understand the Trinity." 

There's truth to that child's comment. We don't understand the Trinity, but we're ready to go to war to defend it. Well, maybe not anymore. But there was a time when battles were fought over church doctrine, and even today churches are being split over whose interpretation of the Word is correct. And it's tragic. 

King Duncan, Collected Sermons.
The Image of the Father

Thomas Troeger, a Presbyterian pastor and gifted preacher, tells a story of an experience he had once. He wrote: 

"One day several years ago I was in a department store buying myself a new shirt when a complete stranger walked up to me and said, 'You must be Henry Troeger's son.' 

"I looked at this person and I said, 'I don't believe I have ever seen you.' 

"He said, 'Oh, no, you have never met me at all, but a long time ago I worked with your father. I was a close colleague of his and when I saw you across the aisle of the store, I said to myself, `I'd know that face anywhere.' You are the very image of your father.' 

"For several weeks after that, I would sometimes be going down the street, and maybe come around a corner, and catch my reflection in a store window. I started to see myself with the eyes of someone else. It is not like looking into the mirror in the morning. I would come around the corner, catch that reflection and I would think, 'That's Henry Troeger.' All of a sudden I would be seeing how I bore the image of my father." 

And so it is with us. 

Each one of us is created with the image of God indelibly imprinted on our souls, so that, in some miraculous and inexplicable way, the diverse expressions of God that are you and you and you and me all come together to illustrate the mystery, to live together in community as we do our best to display for the world all the possibilities that the divine imprint on all of us could mean.

Amy Butler, A Curious Community
 Who, Me? 

Unfortunately, most of us act like the out-of shape, overweight man who decided to take up tennis. He took lessons from a pro. He read several self-help books which advised him to "think positively" and "develop a winning attitude." 

A friend asked him how his tennis was going. With a positive, winning attitude in his voice, the man replied, "When my opponent hits the ball to me, my brain immediately barks out a command to my body: 'Race up to the net.' Then, it says, 'Slam a blistering shot to a far corner of the court. Then immediately jump back into position and return the next volley to the other far corner of the court.' And then my body says, 'Who, me?'" 

I'd be willing to bet, if we could go back in time, that the first words out of the mouths of all the Disciples after Jesus spoke these words were the same: "Who, me?" You have to remember that the events of this passage actually took place before Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. But the question is still pertinent. "Who, me?"  

Billy D. Strayhorn, Go!
 "Feeling Like..." 

I rather like the story Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick once related from his own childhood days. His father had said to his mother, upon leaving the house one Saturday in the morning hours: "Tell Harry that he can cut the grass today, if he feels like it."

Then, halfway down the walk, his father turned once more to add: "And tell Harry that he had better feel like it."

Well, in its own rather humorous way, there is something essential about life wrapped up in that. For there is a difference between knowing we are supposed to do something, and 'feeling like" doing it. There is a difference between a sense of obligation and a sense of generosity. There is a difference between obedience and desire. And the one of those weighs us down, while the other lifts us up.

Christianity says to us, you do not know God, if you know Him only as a sense of authority over your life. Furthermore, you do not know God, if you merely believe intellectually that God is a God who cares and loves.  

You do not know God somehow at all, unless the same spirit of His authority and His love captivates you from within, so that you live knowing the spirit of it for yourself. You do not know God, unless all this that we have been saying about Him becomes for you your own way of life and not an obligation imposed on you by the Church, or by the fear of death, or by anything else.  

Paul van Dine, Not the Nature, But the Character of God - Trinity!, Cathedral Publishers.
Safely through the Storm  

Max Lucado tells the story about the time he was sailing with his son and a church friend of the coast of Miami. They were having a leisurely cruise and the weather was perfect. But out of nowhere a storm appeared. The sky darkened, the rained started and the ocean became violent. Max was terrified and looked at his friend Milt for help. 

Milt was deliberate and decisive. He told the men exactly where to sit and gave them specific instructions. Last he said, "just hang on." They did what he said. Why? Because Milt was the only skilled sailor on board and knew exactly what to do in a storm. Until then Max could have boasted about his merit badge in sailing that he had received in the boy scouts. But, that was no comparison to a real storm on the high seas. He had no choice but to trust in Milt's directions... 

From Fr. Tony Kadavil's Collection:  

1: Simplified explanations by Ss. Patrick, Cyril and John Maria Vianney: Since the Holy Trinity is a mystery, all these examples are only the shadows of the shadows of the Truth. The shamrock, a kind of clover, is a leguminous herb that grows in marshy places. St. Patrick, the missionary patron saint of Ireland, used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity.  The story goes that one day his friends asked Patrick to explain the Mystery of the Trinity.  He looked at the ground and saw shamrocks growing amid the grass at his feet.  He picked one up one of its trifoliate leaves and asked if it were one leaf or three.    Patrick’s friends couldn’t answer – the shamrock leaf looked like one but it clearly had three parts.  Patrick explained to them: “The mystery of the Holy Trinity – one God in Three Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – is like this, but more complex and unintelligible.”     St. Cyril, the teacher of the Slavs, tried to explain the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity using sun as an example.    He said, “God the Father is that blazing sun. God the Son is its light and God the Holy Spirit is its heat — but there is only one sun. So, there are three Persons in the Holy Trinity but God is One and indivisible.” St. John Maria Vianney used to explain Holy Trinity using lighted candles and roses on the altar and water in the cruets. “The flame has color, warmth and shape. But these are expressions of one flame. Similarly, the rose has color, fragrance and shape. But these are expressions of one reality, namely, rose. Water, steam and ice are three distinct expressions of one reality. In the same way one God revealed Himself to us as Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.” Watch: (Fr. Tony (

2: The Mystery of man created by a mysterious Triune God: How complex and mind-boggling is our physical construction! Chemically, the body is unequalled for complexity. Each one of its 30 trillion cells is a mini chemical factory that performs about 10,000 chemical functions. With its 206 bones, 639 muscles, 4 million pain sensors in the skin, 750 million air sacs in the lungs, 16 million nerve cells and 30 trillion cells in total, the human body is remarkably designed for life. And the brain! The human brain with the nervous system is the most complex arrangement of matter anywhere in the universe. One scientist estimated that our brain, on the average, processes over 10,000 thoughts and concepts each day. Three billion DNA pairs in a fertilized egg (a child into whom God has already breathed an immortal, spiritual soul) control all human activities, 30,000 genes making 90,000 proteins in the body. Bill Bryson in his book, A Short History of Nearly Everything, says it is a miracle that we even exist. Trillions of atoms come together for approximately 650,000 hours (74 years calculated as the average span of human life), and then begin to silently disassemble and go off to other things. There never was something like us before and there never will be something like us again. But for 650,000 hours the miracle or mystery that is uniquely us, exists. One could spend years just dealing with the marvelous intricacies and majesty of God’s creation. We are, as the Psalmist states “fearfully and wonderfully made.” No wonder we cannot understand the mystery of the Triune God Who created us! Fr. Tony (

3: The mystery of the magnitude of the universe: The universe has around 100–1000 billion galaxies. Our galaxy is called the Milky Way. The Milky Way contains 100–400 billion stars with their planets including the sun and its planets and our earth is one of its tiny planets. This means that our Sun is just one star among the hundreds of billions of stars in our Milky Way Galaxy.  The diameter of the observable universe is about 93 billion light years, and a   light-year is a unit of length equal to 6 trillion miles. The number and size of galaxies and stars and planets in the universe remain mind-baffling mysteries in spite of all our latest astronomical discoveries and studies, and we have been able to send astronomers only to our earth’s sole natural satellite, the moon. If the universe is so mysterious, there is no wonder why the nature of the Triune God who created it, remains a mystery and why we have to accept the mystery of the Triune God  as revealed by God Himself in the Holy Scripture!  ( Fr. Tony (

4: “But that is impossible, my dear child:” There is a very old and much-repeated story about St. Augustine, one of the intellectual giants of the Church.  He was walking by the seashore one day, attempting to conceive of an intelligible explanation for the mystery of the Trinity.  As he walked along, he saw a small boy on the beach, pouring seawater from a shell into a small hole in the sand.  “What are you doing, my child?” asked Augustine.  “I am emptying the sea into this hole,” the boy answered with an innocent smile.  “But that is impossible, my dear child,” said Augustine.  The boy stood up, looked straight into the eyes of Augustine and replied, “What you are trying to do – comprehend the immensity of God with your small head – is even more impossible.”  Then he vanished.  The child was an angel sent by God to teach Augustine a lesson.  Later, Augustine wrote: “You see the Trinity, if you see love.”  According to him, the Father is the lover, the Son is the loved one and the Holy Spirit is the personification of the very act of loving. This means that we can understand something of the Mystery of the Holy Trinity more readily with the believing heart than with our feeble mind. Evagrius of Pontus, a Greek monk of the 4th century who came from what is now Turkey in Asia and later lived out his vocation in Egypt, said: “God cannot be grasped by the mind. If God could be grasped, God would not be God.” Fr. Tony (


5. Trinitarian Love, the essence of family life: One day, while he was walking with God in the Garden of Eden Adam said, “Excuse me God, can I ask you a few questions?” God replied, “Go on Adam, but be quick.  I have a world to create.”
So, Adam says, “When you created Eve, why did you make her body so curved and tender unlike mine?” “I did that, Adam, so that you could love her.” “Oh, well then, why did you give her long, shiny, beautiful hair?” “I did that Adam so that you could love her.” “Oh, well then, why did you make her so stupid?  Is that too because I should love her?” “Well, Adam, no.  I did that so that she could love you.”

6: Wisdom from child’s mouth: A priest went into a second-grade classroom of the parish school and asked, “Who can tell me what the Blessed Trinity means?” A little girl lisped, “The Blethed Twinity meanth there are thwee perthonth in one God.” The priest, taken aback by the lisp, said, “Would you say that again? I don’t understand what you said.” The little girl answered, “Y’not thuppothed to underthtand; ‘t’th a mythtewy.”(Another version: At confirmation, the Archbishop asked the children for a definition of the Holy Trinity. A girl answered very softly – “The Holy Trinity is three persons in one God.” The Archbishop, who was rather old and almost deaf, replied, “I didn’t understand what you said.” And the young theologian standing in front of him replied: “Well, Your Excellency, you are not supposed to. The Trinity is a mystery. Nobody understands it.)”

7: Trinitarian pastor: One parishioner said, “The Trinitarian God is a lot like our pastor. I don’t see him through the week, and I don’t understand him on Sunday.”

8. God Is Everywhere: A pastor was trying to explain to a little Sunday school child that God is calling people everywhere in the world to believe in him. “God is much bigger than we imagine him to be and God can use all of us in lots of different ways to do his work everywhere,” the pastor said. “God is everywhere!” “Everywhere?” asked the little boy. “Everywhere!” said the pastor. The boy went home and told his mother, “God is everywhere! The pastor said so.” “Yes, I know,” said the mother. “You mean He is even in the cupboard?” “Yes,” said the mother. “In the refrigerator — even when we close the door and the light goes out?” “Yes,” said the mother. “Even in the sugar bowl?” the lad asked as he took the lid off. “Yes,” said the mother, “even in the sugar bowl.” The boy slammed down the lid and said, “Now I’ve got Him.”


28 Additional anecdotes:

1) Trinity prayer of Tolstoy’s hermits: Three Russian monks lived on a faraway Island. Nobody ever went there. However, one day their Bishop decided to make a pastoral visit to learn more about their religious life. But when he arrived, he discovered that they did not know even the Lord’s Prayer. So, he spent all his time and energy teaching them the Our Father and then left them, satisfied with his pastoral visit. But when his small ship had left the island and was back in the open sea, he suddenly noticed the three monks walking on the water – in fact they were running after the ship. When they approached it, they cried out, “Dear Bishop we have forgotten the Lord’s Prayer you taught us. The Bishop, overwhelmed by what he was seeing and hearing asked them, “But dear brothers, how then do you pray?”  They answered, “We just say, there are three of us and there are three of you, have mercy on us.” The bishop, awestruck by their sanctity and simplicity said, “Go back to your island and be at peace.” [Adapted from Leo Tolstoy- The Three Hermits (Russian: Три Старца), a short story by Russian author Leo Tolstoy (Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy), was written in 1885 and first published in 1886 in the weekly periodical Niva (нива).] Fr. Tony (

2) The world’s biggest mysteries scientists still can’t solve: Ghost ships, alien contact, and technology, all built thousands of years before their time, still remain mysteries, unexplained by modern science. Ten such mysteries are the 1) Baghdad, or Parthian, Battery, date ca. 2000 years ago, capable of generating electric charge. 2) Terrifying SOS message about the death of all crew members from a from a Dutch freighter, the SS Ourang Medan. 3) The Dancing Plague of 1518 which made 400 women hysterically dance themselves to death. 3) Man, with no identity: A man who would soon adopt the name Benjaman Kyle woke up in 2004 outside of a Burger King in Georgia without any clothes, any ID, or any memories. 4) The WOW! Signal received by Jerry Ehman, a volunteer for SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence from within the Sagittarius constellation near a star called Tau Sagittarii, 120 light years away. 5) The Voynich Manuscript: The writing is composed of over 170,000 characters written in patterns that resemble natural language. The sections appear to describe different topics of herbal, astronomical, biological, cosmological, and pharmaceutical nature. 6) Oak Island Money Pit: Oak Island is the home of what is informally known as the “Money Pit,” of Nova Scotia in eastern Canada. It is an incredibly deep hole of incredibly elaborate construction discovered in 1795. 7) The Antikythera mechanism is an incredibly intricate analogue computer found in a shipwreck near Greece in the year 1900. The device was used to determine the positions of celestial bodies using a mind-bogglingly complex series of bronze gears. 8) “Sea Peoples” — a technologically inferior, unaffiliated group of seafaring warriors who raided the lands and are often credited with the collapse of once-great civilizations in the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean regions. 9) Turkey’s Göbekli Tepe is composed of more than 200 pillars, up to 20 feet in height and weighing up to 20 tonnes, arranged in roughly 20 circles, built more than 13,000 years ago, predating Stonehenge by more than 8,000 years. 10) The Confederate Treasury. The year was 1865, and the American Civil War was drawing to a close. As the Union army marched the final path to victory, the Confederate Secretary of the Treasury George Trenholm made one last effort to preserve the South’s assets by liquefying all gold and silver and burying them in untraceable places along with jewels. ( — But these are no mysteries in comparison with the mystery of the Holy Trinity. Fr. Tony (

3) Human mystery confronting divine mystery: The story is told that Franklin D. Roosevelt and one of his close friends, Bernard Baruch, talked late into the night one evening at the White House. At last, President Roosevelt suggested that they go out into the Rose Garden and look at the stars before going to bed. They went out and looked into the sky for several minutes, peering at a nebula with thousands of stars. Then the President said, “All right, I think we feel small enough now to go in and go to sleep.” — The wonder of the power and wisdom of God puts things in perspective for us humans. Creation was not an accident, but the result of a Divine Plan; planets, stars, plants, birds, fish, and animals were all created by God. And the climax of God’s creation was humanity. (Fr. Kayala). Fr. Tony (

4)Aggressively selfish child: A report some years ago, allegedly by the Minnesota Crime Commission, painted a dark picture of human nature indeed, particularly with regard to small children. I quote: “Every baby starts life as a little savage. He is completely selfish and self-centered. He wants what he wants when he wants it – his bottle, his mother’s attention, his playmate’s toy, his uncle’s watch. Deny him these once, and he seethes with rage and aggressiveness, which would be murderous were he not so helpless. He is, in fact dirty. He has no morals, no knowledge, no skills. This means that all children not just certain children are born delinquent. If permitted to continue in the self- centered world of his infancy, given free rein to his impulsive actions to satisfy his wants, every child would grow up a criminal a thief, a killer, or a rapist.” [Cited in R. Scott Richards, Myths the World Taught Me (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991), p. 39.] — It is to transform this self-centered human nature into a selfless, loving, God-centered one that the Second Person of the Holy Trinity took human form as described in today’s Gospel. Fr. Tony (

5) “You ask me a riddle?” Richard, Cardinal Cushing (d. 11/2/1970; Archbishop of Boston, MA), told of an occasion when he was administering last rites to a man who had collapsed in a general store. Following his usual custom, he knelt by the man and asked, “Do you believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit?” The Cardinal said the man roused a little bit, opened an eye, looked at him and said, “Here I am, dying, and you ask me a riddle?” — Call them riddles. Call them Mysteries. There are things about life and Faith we do not understand, but I am not going to suggest that you resign your effort to understand. Fr. Tony (

6) “The undertaker!” There is an old story about a henpecked husband who went to a psychologist. He was tired of being dominated by his wife. The psychologist told him, “You do not have to accept your wife’s bullying. You need to go home right now and let her know that you’re your own boss.” The husband decided to take the doctor’s advice. He went home and slammed the door on the way in. He confronted his wife and said, “From now on you’ll do what I say. Get my supper, then go upstairs and lay out my clothes. After I eat, I’m going out with the boys while you stay home. By the way, do you know who is going to tie my tie for me?” “I sure do,” said his wife calmly, “the undertaker!” — Some marriages are filled with conflict. So are some offices. Unfortunately, some Churches are filled with conflict as well. The feast of the Holy Trinity challenges us to cultivate the Trinitarian relationship of love and unity in our families and offices, parishes, and classrooms. Fr. Tony (

7) “Bad things always come in threes.” An old adage warns, “Bad things always come in threes.” Have you found this true in your own experience? That bad things (and good things), like to happen in community, in bunches? You say: we invent this connection by suddenly realizing that we got a flat tire on the same day that a computer glitch devoured our hard drive, shortly after our last contact lens just slid down the drain. I say: there seems to be something significant about the power of three. – On this Sunday, “Trinity Sunday,” the Church celebrates the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, affirming the Truth that good things also come in threes. We recognize God as Creator (the Father), God as Redeemer (the Son), and God as Sanctifier (the Holy Spirit). Fr. Tony (

8) “But the machine can’t ask me about my arthritis.” This true story is told of a woman named Mamie who made frequent trips to the branch post office. One day she confronted a long line of people who were waiting for service from the postal clerk. Mamie only needed stamps, so a helpful observer asked her, “Why don’t you just use the stamp machine? You can get all the stamps you need and you won’t have to wait in line.” Mamie said, “I know, but the machine can’t ask me about my arthritis.” — That’s part of the wisdom of Christ’s coming to our earth to live among us as described in John’s Gospel (Jn 3: 16-18).  He can relate to us in all of our daily needs. As we try to walk in Jesus’ steps, we might do well to pray the ancient Irish poem set to an Irish ballad tune, which says,

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;

I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;

Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,

Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all. (Fr. Tony (

9) A dumb debate on God: The following imagined debate for mute and deaf scholars is a warning to our pastors who think that they have explained Holy Trinity well to their flock on Trinity Sunday.  The Jews and the Catholics are having a debate about God and decide that they will each send one representative to prove that their side is right. The only rule is that words are not allowed. They decide on their representatives. The Vatican decides to send their best brain – Cardinal Ratzinger, the head of the Congregation on Faith and Morals – while the Jews pick one of their best rabbis to represent them. As a sign of respect, the Jews allow the debate to be held at the local cathedral. The time for the debate comes and the rabbi walks into the cathedral and up to the cardinal. The cardinal waves his hand towards the sky. The rabbi responds by slamming his fist into his palm. The cardinal holds up three fingers. The rabbi responds by holding up his middle finger. The cardinal then pulls out bread and wine. The rabbi then reaches into a bag and pulls out two fish. At this point the cardinal holds up his hands and walks away.

After the debate the cardinal heads back to the Vatican to talk it over with the pope and the other cardinals. “Man, those Jews have it all figured out. First, I said to him, ‘God is everywhere,’ and he responded, ‘God is right here.’ I was taken aback. So, I held up three fingers representing the Holy Trinity, and he responded, ‘We all worship the same one God.’ I didn’t know what to do so I showed him bread and wine representing the sacrifice of Jesus, and he responded with two fish, representing that Jesus provides.

The Rabbi headed back to the synagogue to tell the others his version what had happened. “Man, you wouldn’t believe those Catholics. The moment I walked in this guy with a weird hat gestures at me ‘No Jews Allowed.’ I said ‘I’m staying right here.’ Then he said, ‘You have three minutes.’ I said, ‘Get lost.’ Then he pulled out his lunch, so I showed him mine.” Fr. Tony (

10) Why Isn’t the Whole West Coast Included?  A woman wrote to Reader’s Digest, about an experience that she had when she took a young girl from India to Church with her. It was the eleven-year-old girl’s first exposure to a Christian worship service. The young lady’s parents were traveling on business and had left her in the care of their American friends. The little Hindu girl decided on her own to go with the family to Church one Sunday. After the service was over, they went out to lunch. The little girl had some questions. She wondered, “I don’t understand why isn’t the West Coast included, too?” Her Christian friends were puzzled and asked, “What do you mean?” She responded, “You know. I kept hearing the people say, ‘In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the whole East Coast.’” Fr. Tony (

11) God Is Everywhere: A pastor was trying to explain to a little Sunday school child that God is calling people everywhere in the world to believe in Him. “God is much bigger than we imagine Him to be, and God can use all of us in lots of different ways to do His work everywhere,” the pastor said. “God is everywhere!” “Everywhere?” asked the little boy. “Everywhere!” said the pastor. The boy went home and told his mother, “God is everywhere! The pastor said so.” “Yes, I know,” said the mother. “You mean He is even in the cupboard?” “Yes,” said the mother. “In the refrigerator — even when we close the door and the light goes out?” “Yes,” said the mother. “Even in the sugar bowl?” the lad asked as he took the lid off. “Yes,” said the mother, “even in the sugar bowl.” The boy slammed down the lid and said, “Now I’ve got Him.” Fr. Tony (

12) “What?” Jesus said, “Who do men say that I am?” And his disciples answered and said, “Some say you are John the Baptist returned from the dead; others say Elijah, or other of the old prophets.” And Jesus answered and said, “But who do you say that I am?”  Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Logos of the Father, the Son Whom the Father loved from eternity and Whom the Holy Spirit, the eternal Personification of the love between the Father and the Son, begot on the Virgin Mary.” And Jesus answering, said, “What? Fr. Tony (

13) “I’m surprised at you!” An English teacher of a 21-sophomore high school class put a small chalk dot on the blackboard. He then asked the class what it was. A few seconds passed and then someone said, “That is a chalk dot on the blackboard.” The rest of the class seemed relieved that the obvious had been stated, and no one else had anything to say. “I’m surprised at you,” the teacher told the class. “I did the same exercise yesterday with a group of kindergartners and they thought of 50 different things the chalk mark could be: an owl’s eye, a cigar butt, the top of a telephone pole, a star, a pebble, a squashed bug, a rotten egg, a bird’s eye, and so on.” — The older students had learned how to find a right answer but had lost the ability to look for more than one right answer. The Holy Spirit helps us, in His wonderful Wisdom, to see more than we might have seen by ourselves. The Spirit’s vision allows us wonderful options for expansion and new possibilities. It is the Spirit’s Wisdom that reveals the Word to us. It is the Wisdom of the Spirit that shows us our sin, which guides us, which instructs us, and which leads us in the way to Life  Everlasting. Fr. Tony (

14) Trinitarian design for medieval cathedrals: When the architect and engineer Aldo Spirito was commissioned to design a cathedral for the Archdiocese of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, West Africa, he used a number of architectural elements, as was the tradition of the builders of the medieval cathedrals, to reinforce the truths of our Faith. Among those elements is the fact that the basic structure is triangular, so as to state dramatically the fundamental truth of Christian Faith: God has revealed Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Fr. Tony (

15) The Sundial: A missionary from Africa, on his home-leave, came across a beautiful sundial. He thought to himself, “That sundial would be ideal for my villagers in Africa. I could use it to teach them to tell the time of the day.” The missionary bought the sundial, crated it and took it back to Africa. When the village chief saw it, he insisted that it be set up in the centre of the village. The villagers were thrilled with the sundial. They had never seen something so beautiful in their lives. They were even more thrilled when they learned how it worked. The missionary was delighted by everyone’s response to his sundial. He was totally unprepared for what happened a few days later. The people of the village got together and built a roof over the sundial to protect it from the rain and the sun! — Well, I think the sundial is a lot like the Holy Trinity, and we Christians are a lot like the African villagers. The most beautiful revelation of our Faith is the teaching about the Holy Trinity, namely, the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. But instead of putting the teaching to work in our daily lives, we have built a roof over it, just as the villagers did over their sundial. For many of us the Trinity seems of little practical value, when it comes to our daily lives. We treat it more like an ornament of our Faith. (Mark Link in Sunday Homilies; quoted by Fr. Botelho). Fr. Tony (

16) Jesus’ brother, Isukiri, died in Jesus’ place on the cross and Jesus went to Japan : While visiting one of the members of one of the congregations I served some years ago I was offered a cup of coffee, and while I sat in the lounge room waiting, I noticed something unusual.  On a table there was what appeared to be a shrine.  Inside was a Buddha statue with candles and flowers and food and other symbols.  As we sipped coffee, I asked about the display on the table expecting to hear a story about an overseas trip and souvenirs. Instead, I heard a story about this person’s involvement in the cultic Japanese religion Mahikari and how she felt that what she was learning through this religion complimented and supported her Christian Faith.  She told me how it taught her about karma, reincarnation, ancestor worship and making food offerings to the spirits of the departed, and so on.  She told me that Jesus’ brother, Isukiri, died in Jesus’ place on the cross, that Jesus went to Japan when he was 37 and he died there when he 106. The amazing thing about all this, is that this person saw no conflict between what she confessed on Sunday mornings when she said the Apostles’ Creed with us and what she did the rest of the week as she prayed before the shrine in her lounge room.  This reminds me of the young man who asked if he could go into the Church to pray.  Before the pastor could respond, he quickly added, “By the way, what kind of Church is this?  Not that it makes any difference.  I don’t follow any particular religion.  Whenever I pass a Church or a mosque, I go in say a prayer and plug into the Divine.  Any God will do!” —

“Plug into the Divine,” like it is magic, a kind of pill that will keep us safe and sound!  Today’s feast reminds us that our God is a Triune God, one God in Three Persons. (Rev. Gerhardy). Fr. Tony (

17) Exploring the mystery of Holy Trinity: Explorers and the pioneer families did solve the mystery of what was out there beyond the coastal strip. In fact, people have been exploring the mysteries of our world on many fronts – medicine, technology, and what is out there in space. Where there is any kind of a mystery, people will try to solve it. But there are some Mysteries that will always be Mysteries. Today, Trinity Sunday, we come up against one of those Mysteries – God.  Who is God? Where is God? What is God? I can’t touch Him. I can’t say how big He is. I can’t see Him. The early Christians started talking about a Triune God. This wasn’t to make God more logical and understandable and acceptable to human ways of thinking. In fact, the idea of the Trinity intensified the Mystery and awesomeness of God. They observed that Jesus had a unique relationship with the Father and that the Holy Spirit had a unique relationship with the Father and the Son. Against all sorts of odds, against all human logic, and in the face of mounting opposition, the Church maintained that Jesus Christ is true God, equal with the Father, and that the Holy Spirit is God, equal with the Father and the Son. Who is God? He is our Heavenly Father Who made us, takes cares of us and calls us His dear children. Who is God? He is Jesus Christ Who gave His life on the cross to re-establish our relationship with God. He reveals the way to God and to eternal life. Who is God? God is the Holy Spirit in you giving you Faith in God and guiding you in your daily walk as a Christian. Faith in the Triune God acknowledges the might and majesty of God but, at the same time, trusts in His care and intimate knowledge of our needs and of what is happening in our lives. O LORD, our Lord, the majesty of Your Name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens. Let us make this our prayer: “Lord God, in spite of our unbelief and lack of understanding of Who You are, show us Your new way of living. Amen.”  (Rev. Gerhardy). Fr. Tony (

18) Holy Trinity prayer (Fr. De Mello version of Tolstoy’s The Three Hermits):    When the Bishop’s ship stopped at a remote island for a day, he decided to use the time as profitably as possible. He strolled along the seashore and came across three fishermen mending their nets. In Pidgin English they explained to him that, centuries ago, they had been Christianized by missionaries. “We, Christians!” they said, proudly pointing to themselves. The bishop was impressed. Did they know the Lord’s Prayer? They had never heard of it. The bishop was shocked. How could these men claim to be Christians when they did not know something as elementary as the Lord’s Prayer? “What do you say, then, when you pray?” the bishop asked. “We lift eyes in heaven. We pray, ‘We are three, You are three, have mercy on us.’” The bishop was appalled at the primitive, downright heretical nature of their prayer. So he spent the whole day teaching them to say the Lord’s Prayer, and he succeeded although the fishermen were poor learners.

Months later the bishop’s ship happened to pass by those islands, and the bishop, as he paced the deck saying his evening prayers, recalled with pleasure the fact that on that distant island were three fishermen who were now able to pray correctly, thanks to his patient efforts. While he was lost in thought he happened to look up and noticed a spot of light in the east. The light kept approaching the ship and, as the bishop gazed in wonder, he saw three figures walking on the surface of the water towards the boat. The captain stopped the boat and all the sailors leaned over the rails to see this amazing sight. When they were within speaking distance, the bishop recognized his three friends, the fishermen. “Bishop!” they exclaimed, “we are so glad meet you! We heard your boat go past island and came in a hurry, hurry to meet you.” “What do you want?” asked the bishop filled with wonder seeing them walking on water as Jesus did. “Bishop,” they said, “we so sorry. We forgot that lovely prayer you taught us. We remember only this much: ‘Our Father in Heaven, holy be your name, your kingdom come’ . . .the rest  we forgot. Please teach us whole prayer again.” The bishop felt humbled. “Go back to your homes, my good men,” he said, “and each time you pray, say your Holy Trinity prayer, ‘We are three, You are three, have mercy on us!’” (Fr. Anthony de Mello S.J., The Song of the Bird, adapted from Tolstoy’s original story, The Three Hermits). Fr. Tony (

19)  “Welcome!” There is a beautiful Russian icon of the Blessed Trinity painted by a monk named Rublev. The monk, Andrei Rublev (c. 1360 – 1430), was a medieval Russian who painted Orthodox icons and frescoes. His Trinity icon is considered the greatest of its kind, and one of the finest works of religious art ever created, depicting a wordless conversation among Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is based on an earlier icon known as the “Hospitality of Abraham” illustrating Genesis 18 which depicts the three angels who visited Abraham at the Oak of Mamre (see Genesis 18:1-15) sitting around a table. But the painting is full of symbolism and is often interpreted as an icon of the Holy Trinity. A dish of food lies on the table. But the thing that immediately strikes you is the fact that at the front of the table there is a vacant place. The vacant place is meant to convey openness, hospitality and welcome towards the stranger and outsider. — That vacant place is meant for each one of us, and for all the human family. It signifies God’s invitation to us to share in the life of the Trinity. God doesn’t exclude us. He invites us to come in and sit at His table. He wants to share His life with us. (Flor McCarthy in New Sunday & Holy Day Liturgies; quoted by Fr. Botelho). Fr. Tony (

20) We don’t need to understand God to allow Him to take over our lives

Thomas Edison, the inventor, once remarked: “We don’t know what water is. We don’t know what light is. We don’t know what electricity is. We don’t know what heat is. We have a lot of hypotheses about these things, but that is all. But we don’t let our ignorance about these things deprive us of their use.” — The truth of that statement is real. Most of us do not know how an electric light works, how a telephone or a TV works, but this does not prevent us from using them. Let us try to apply the same common sense to our Faith in the doctrine of the Trinity. (John Pichappily in The Table of the Word; quoted by Fr. Botelho). Fr. Tony (

21) “Holy, Holy, Holy”: Today’s “signature” Hymn is familiar to all of us. It begins,

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty!

Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;

Holy, Holy, holy, merciful and mighty,

God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity.  Fr. Tony (

22) Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity Becomes a House of God: No one understood this better that Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity. She grew up in France in the late eighteen hundreds, the daughter of a successful military officer who died of a heart attack while she was still only a girl. She was an extremely strong-willed and temperamental child. Her frequent fits of rage were almost uncontrollable, and she was known as the “little devil.” This began to change after her first Communion, when she was eleven. That afternoon she met for the first time the prioress of the nearby Carmelite convent. The nun explained that the girl’s name, Elizabeth, meant “house of God,” and wrote her a note that said: “Your blessed name hides a mystery, accomplished on this great day. Child. Your heart is the House of God on earth, of the God of love.” From then on, recognizing that God had taken up residence in her soul, she waged a holy war against her violent temper. She didn’t win overnight, but she did win, eventually, and she also discovered her vocation to become a Carmelite herself. Her mother didn’t like the idea, however, and made her wait until she was twenty-one. She won friends of all ages during those years of waiting, singing in the parish choirs, arranging parish day-care service for families that worked in the local tobacco factory, and also winning several prizes for her skill at the piano. She died only five years after entering the convent, at the age of 26, after having suffered horribly for months from an extremely painful disease of the kidneys. But her realization that the Blessed Trinity dwelt within her enabled her to suffer with patience and even with joy. As she wrote to her mother: “The bride belongs to the Bridegroom, and mine has taken me. [Jesus] wants me to be another humanity for him in which he can still suffer for the glory of his Father, to help the needs of his Church: this thought has done me so much good.” — Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity had discovered the intimate, loving presence of God that He so eagerly wants to reveal to all of us. (E-Priest). Fr. Tony (

23) “As there is fire and water in this brick” According to Tradition, when St. Spyridon of Trimithund was asked at the Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325) how three can simultaneously be one, he responded (with a little Divine help!) by taking up a brick and squeezing it. From the now-soft clay in his hands, a flame flared up, while simultaneously water flowed downward. “As there is fire and water, and clay in this brick,” said St. Spyridon, “in the same way there are three persons in the one Godhead.” (The great 20th-century Catholic theologian Father Karl Rahner, SJ, was supposedly asked once by a priest friend how he should explain the Holy Trinity when preaching. Father Rahner’s reply was simple: “Don’t!”) — The mystery we celebrate in today’s feast defies not only explanation but also comprehension. The preacher is left to reaffirm our core belief that God, remaining One, is somehow also Three in that Oneness – Triune. The preacher is further challenged to help his congregants (and himself) understand why that truth might matter in their daily lives.)  Fr. Tony (

24) The universal testimony: A good illustration of the Trinity comes from world-renowned scientist Dr. Henry Morris. He notes that the entire universe is Trinitarian by design. The universe consists of three things: matter, space, and time. Take away any one of those three and the universe would cease to exist. But each one of those is itself a trinity. Matter = mass + energy + motion. Space = length + height + breadth. Time = past + present + future. Thus, the whole universe witnesses to the character of the God who made it (cf. Psalm 19:1). Fr. Tony (

25) Another simple explanation:” St. John of Damascus, a great Eastern theologian of the eighth century, said we should think “of the Father as a root, the Son as a branch, and of the Spirit as a fruit, for the substance of these three is one.”  He also said, “Think of the Father as a Spring of Life, begetting the Son like a River and the Holy Ghost like a sea, for the spring, the river and the sea are all one nature.”( Fr. Tony (

26) A Divine Mystery in our world of mysteries: The world, we live in, is not as simple as it might seem to be. It is full of unexplained mysteries that raise several questions that remain to be answered even today. There are many such mysterious phenomena, which find no satisfactory explanation in science. Many of the mysteries keep us wondering, asking questions, and striving to learn more about our world; others are simply amusing. They have perplexed individuals all throughout history. The Bermuda Triangle is believed to possess certain supernatural powers due to which aircraft and ships coming in its vicinity disappear. Moreover, researchers have never been able to find the exact cause of the disappearing of vessels and aircraft, neither have they been able to trace the lost objects. The Bermuda Triangle remains an unexplained mystery. Unidentified objects, abbreviated as UFOs, are disk-like objects seen in the night sky. Some of them glow and have lights. People claim to have seen them float in sky or fly across speedily. It is said that they could be spaceships or vehicles of the aliens traveling to Earth. Archaeologists have found about thirteen crystal skulls in parts of Mexico as well as Central and South America. They are 5000 to 36000-year-old human like skulls made out of milky crystal rock. Long years of research might be able to find answers to some of them while many will remain being unresolved for generations to come. — If there are so many things that cannot be explained in this world, how can we expect to explain the mysteries relating to the Creator of this world! Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. It is a mystery that cannot be comprehended by the human beings. (Fr. Bobby Jose). Fr. Tony (

27) The “Dogmatic” Sarcophagus, also known as the “Trinity Sarcophagus” is an early Christian sarcophagus dating to 320–350,[2] now in the Vatican Museums (Vatican 104). [1] The three persons of the Trinity are portrayed as three bearded males, in the act of creating Eve while Adam lies nearby in a deep sleep. It was discovered in the 19th century during rebuilding works at the Basilica di San Paolo fuori le Mura, (Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Wall), in RomeItaly. Together with the Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, it one of the most important examples of Christian-Roman sculpture of the Constantinian era. It draws its name from its clear references to the dogmas of the Council of Nicaea (325), in particular to Christ being consubstantial with God the Father, as shown (for example) by the scene of a figure with the appearance of Jesus between Adam and Eve, though whether the figure is to be understood as Christ or God the Father is less clear – the dogmatic point works either way. (Sanchez Archives & Wikipedia). Fr. Tony (

28)  Icon of the Trinity by Andrei Rublev: In 1425 AD, Andrew Rublev, a Russian monk, painted an icon of the Trinity in which three angelic figures are seated around a small table, engaged in intimate conversation. On the table is a chalice, in the background is a tree. The trio of figures and the tree are reminiscent of the visit which angelic messengers paid to Sarah and Abraham at the Oak of Mamre. As they enjoyed the generous welcome of Sarah and Abraham, the messengers announced the unexpected birth of Isaac (Genesis 18) whom Abraham would later be willing to sacrifice if God willed it (Genesis 22). From his knowledge of iconography, Henri Nouwen has suggested that Rublev intended this angelic appearance to prefigure the Divine visitation by which God sends the unexpected gift of His Son, who sacrifices himself for sin and gives new life through the Spirit. Rublev wished that his icon would offer his fellow monks a way to keep their hearts centered on God, Father, Son and Spirit, despite the chaotic world of political unrest in which they lived. (Sanchez Archives). Fr. Tony ( L/21