Sunday after Pentecost: Trinity Sunday

Today a part of John’s Gospel is read. Matthew mentions the Holy Trinity, when Jesus orders his disciples to baptize all the people in the Name of the Father, the Son and The Holy Spirit (28:19). We already read this text on Sunday before Pentecost.

But we find a good alternative at the end of the eleventh chapter of Matthew. First Jesus prays directly to his Father. Then he speaks about himself as the Son. The Holy Spirit is present in ‘those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’

Matthew 11:25-27
11:25 At that time Jesus exclaimed,
'I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth,
for hiding these things from the learned and the clever
and revealing them to little children.
11:26 Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do.
11:27 Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father;
and no one knows the Son except the Father,
just as no one knows the Father except the Son
and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

Jesus gives thanks to the Father ‘for hiding these things from the learned and the clever’. Which things? In the foregoing text Jesus reproached the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum because they did not convert seeing the miracles which he did in their midst.
The ones who converted were the sinners of those days: the tax collectors, the ones who were in need of forgiveness, the impure people. Jesus calls them ‘the little children’, those who do not have any power or social dignity whatsoever.

Jesus’ message is in the first place not a matter of being a scholar, but a matter of the heart.
Just as the relation between him and God is not a relation of scholarship, but an intimate relation as between a Father and a Son. He felt how he is loved (‘known’) by the Father. This finds its expression in all his words and deeds; they reflect how he loves (‘knows’) his Father. We remember that the Biblical word ‘knowing’ has a very intimate content. So in the creation story we hear, ‘Adam knew his wife Eva, and she became pregnant.’ The word ‘knowing’ contains ‘life-giving’, ‘love’, ‘compassion’, ‘high esteem’. The word ‘knowing’ is another word for ‘Holy Spirit’. The people which Jesus indicates by using the word  ‘little children’ are wrapped in that ‘knowing’.

Picture Meditation

Jesus is pictured twice. This corresponds with the text of Matthew. Top left he is teaching. There he explains the scene in the main part of the picture. That main part represents what he just said. That he was exclaiming his prayer of thanksgiving to the Father.
Now he reveals that there is a warm relation between the Father and himself. The warmth of the Father is present in the five or even six colourful circles around Jesus’ head. And that little red flame between Jesus’ face and his left hand: does it represent the Spirit?
All the people in the picture are surrounded and covered by the colourful circles.
Does that mean that we see only ‘the little children’ Jesus is talking about?
I take the time to look at them. Normal people, parents with children, people who are doing their daily work by carrying a piece of wood, by taking care of children, by pushing forward a wheelchair, by gathering harvest, by cleaning the house, by collecting fish...
There is a row where people seem to be on their way to Jesus. I even see scholars arguing around a table - below left. All ‘little children...’?
The upper rows on the left and right of Jesus are reserved for children indeed.
Is there somebody with whom I can identify myself? Am I pictured somewhere? And if so, I ask myself why I choose that figure.
Looking at all these people I look back upon my life: how long was the road I had to go in order to come to Jesus?
What has he given me?
Is there a relation of the heart between him and me? Do I feel loved by him? Do I ‘know’ him?

Finally I have a talk with one of the pictured people; with Jesus...; with the Father...; with the Holy Spirit.

- Meditation by Fr Dries van den Akker S.J