Today Catholic Christians celebrate the feast of the Most Holy Trinity.
Although the Bible does not use the word “trinity” to describe God, the Holy Trinity is a basic tenant of the Catholic Christian faith.
The doctrine of the Trinity holds that although is only One God, in this One God are Three Divine Persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
God the Father, the one to whom we address our prayers in the Mass, is seen as the Creator. Often, artists portray God the Father as an old man with a long white beard sitting on a golden throne on a cloud surrounded by angels.
God the Son is the Savior or Redeemer. He is the one who took the form of a human being known in history as Jesus Christ.
And God the Holy Spirit is the Sanctifier. It is the Holy Spirit who comes to us at our Baptism, bringing us a treasure trove of spiritual gifts. It is the Spirit who helps us discern what is right and wrong, allowing us to form our consciences.
Today’s homily focuses on today’s Gospel selection we have from St. Matthew. In this passage, we hear Jesus tell his disciples, “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” (Matthew 28: 18-20).
These words are sometimes known as the missionary mandate of Jesus, calling his followers to go forth into the world to bring his message of love to the entire world.
For over 2,000 years, Catholic Christians have followed this command – from the Apostles to the missionaries throughout the world today.
Often, when we think of Catholic missionaries, we think of priests and Religious Brothers and Sisters. Today, however, many – if not most – Catholic missionaries are lay people. The Maryknoll Lay Missioners, for example, serve in nations such as Bolivia in South America; El Salvador in Central America; Haiti in the Caribbean; South Sudan, Kenya, and Tanzania in Africa; and Cambodia in Asia.
Today we look at two such Maryknoll Lay Missioners, a married couple named Marc and Lexie Adams.
Marc is a journalist, and Lexie is a Registered Nurse from Washington, D.C. Together, they use their talents to serve the people in the impoverished southern zone of Cochabamba, Bolivia.
Three mornings a week, the couple goes to small clinic where Lexie organizes patient charts and runs an exercise class. The purpose of the class is to help prevent stress, diabetes, and heart disease. Lexie’s efforts are part of a larger Bolivian effort to encourage a culture of prevention. Unfortunately, many people are so poor that they never get to visit a physician or other health care provider until their condition is so advanced, that they are basically beyond help.
While Lexie does hands-on disease prevention work, Marc works in the communications office, going to as many of the desperately poor barrios as he can to let the people know about the services the clinic has to offer. He also tries to teach the people just how important preventative care is.
In addition to their formal work, however, they do little, often hidden acts for the people that radiate the love of Christ. For example, in an article Marc wrote about their experiences in Bolivia, he told how Lexie whisked off her red sweater and gave it to a woman who was shivering while asking for coins in front of one of the city’s main plazas. And on another occasion, as Lexie and Marc were walking past a beggar woman sitting on the side of the road, Lexie invited the woman to come with them for some warm food and drink. They could have more easily simply dropped a few coins into the woman’s cup, but asking her to join them was much more Christ-like.
There are many ways people serve as missionaries in the Catholic Church.
Some do mission work right in their neighborhood. In our parish, for example, we have beautiful examples of mission work being done by a wide variety of persons in our St. Mary Health Center that houses the St. Mary Dental Clinic and St. Mary Medical Clinic. We see mission work being done by the Sr. Isaac Center that serves 7,000 persons per year. We see mission work among the homeless and sick of the area by our own Missionaries of St. Mary (founded by our St. Mary Hispanic Ministries) and the St. Mary Camillus Ministers.
Others do mission work in outside our area while still remaining in the United States. The Glenmary Missionaries, for example, devote their lives to serving poor, small, rural communities in Appalachia, the South, and the far West of the United States. Like Maryknoll, the Glenmary Missionaries have opportunities for lay people to serve in this country also.
And finally, some people prefer to serve outside of the country. These folks not only use their God-given talents to make it a better world for others, they also get to fresh and exciting life adventures in new societies and cultures. We also serve the foreign missions when we give to our sister parish in Honduras and other places. Needless to say, missionaries always get far more than they give, for they are flooded with graces.
As we continue our life journeys this week, it would be a good idea to reflect on how we are using the gifts of the Holy Spirit to serve others.
And that is the good news I have for you on this Trinity Sunday, 2018.
Story source: Anonymous. “Maryknoll Lay Missioners in Bolivia.” Maryknoll Online,