The Holy Trinity’s role in human history
A Reflection for Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Find today’s readings here.
There are also many other things that Jesus did,
but if these were to be described individually,
I do not think the whole world would contain the books
that would be written. (Jn 21:25)
Today’s Gospel comes from the very last lines of the Gospel of John. It’s fitting, then, that today is the last day of the Easter season, and Pentecost comes tomorrow. Right now is the time of the risen Christ, whose life and suffering we experienced during Lent, and whose many apparitions and messages we read throughout Easter. Tomorrow is the descent of the Holy Spirit, which ushers in a new era.
When you think about it, the three persons of the Trinity mirror the Old Testament, New Testament and today. Now, this is not to say that only one person of the Trinity is at work at a time, but simply that one might lead the charge at certain points in human history.
In the Old Testament, God the Father was at work, speaking to the Israelites and guiding them. Jesus then came, founding his church, spreading the Gospel to people living on Earth—the New Testament. And after Jesus ascended into heaven, the Holy Spirit came down, dwelling within each and every one of us. God the Father doesn’t give me instructions to talk to burning bushes, and Jesus hasn’t turned my New York tap water into wine, but the Holy Spirit’s actions are visible through the goodness of people around me!
We can write down or orally pass down stories of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our own lives.
We are blessed to have the works of the Trinity written down for us in the Bible and in Church tradition through the lives of the saints. But there’s always something missing. There are a few thousand years between Adam and Eve and Jesus, yet the Old Testament is only 1200 pages in my Bible—not even one year per page!
The New Testament documents fewer years, but again, none of that could cover everything that Jesus did or said. John admits to that at the end of his Gospel, even going so far as to say that “the whole world would not contain the books that would be written” of Jesus’ actions. (This is where Ignatian contemplation comes in.)
Now, we’ve had less than 2,000 years since the end of the New Testament. How much could be written about the Holy Spirit’s work in the world? Again, the whole world could not contain the books that would be written. But we can write down or orally pass down stories of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our own lives. I’m no St. Thérèse of Lisieux, St. Faustina or St. Edith Stein, but I can tell the story of “coincidences” of things that came together in a matter of weeks, things that led me to my job here at America and to my future master’s in classics. That was no coincidence; it was the Holy Spirit.
So, go ahead: Tell a friend about how the gate attendant held the plane just for you, how you felt the prayers of a family member when you were going through hard times, or how you felt it in your soul that your decision to marry your spouse was right. You’re recording the works of the Holy Spirit for someone else to hear about.