The Holy Spirit has Pentecost, God the Son has Christmas, Easter, and more, but God the Father doesn’t have a day that is just about him.
This Sunday, Trinity Sunday (Year C), falls on Father’s Day — something that hasn’t happened for five years and won’t happen again for five more.
It’s a good chance to be grateful for the Fatherhood of God and the ways our own fathers share in it.
Thank God the Father for giving away everything, including the credit for his generosity.
In the Gospel this Sunday, Jesus says, “Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.”
The persons of the Trinity are always giving credit to one another.
Jesus also says in the Gospel that not he, but the Holy Spirit, will “guide you to all truth.” But the Holy Spirit, for his part, won’t take the credit either. “He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears,” says Jesus, and he will “glorify” the Son.
In other words, the very life of the Trinity is a model for what a family should be: Everyone gives to everyone else, everyone spotlights everyone else, and the father puts himself last, a coequal member giving to all in humility.
Thank God the Father for that, and thank your own father (in person or in prayer) for the specific times he has given everything to the family in hidden, quiet ways.
Second, thank God the Father that he is not a taskmaster but delights in life.
The extraordinary first reading, from Proverbs, is one of those rare Old Testament glimpses into the life of the Trinity.
To understand how extraordinary it is, look at the Book of Job. After failing to get good answers from friends about the terrible things that have happened to him, Job asks God: Why are you allowing me to suffer so much?
“The LORD answered Job out of the storm and said … Where were you when I founded the earth? … Who determined its size? … Who stretched out the measuring line for it?”
God continues for several chapters describing creation and pointing out that Job wasn’t there. In contrast, Sunday’s reading shows that there was someone there: The Wisdom of God, who the Fathers of the Church identified as the Word of God, Christ.
“When the Lord established the heavens, I was there,” he says, and he lists the actions of creation that he shared in — precisely the ones Job didn’t.
But then he says something touching: “And I was his delight day by day, playing before him all the while, playing on the surface of the earth and I found delight in the human race.”
It seems that all work and no play would make God a dull God.
Thank God the Father for taking such delight in us and for adding so much delight to our life. And thank your own father for the ways he has delighted you and been delighted by you.
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Third, thank God for paying attention to you and giving you real responsibility.
This Sunday’s Psalm marvels that God even notices us at all. “When I behold your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars which you set in place,” it says, “What is man that you should be mindful of him?”
Yet “You have made him little less than the angels … you have given him rule over the works of your hands, putting all things under his feet.” We weren’t there when God created the universe, but we are here now and in charge of “all things.”
This is motivation for taking great care of the natural environment: It is ours to preserve or destroy. But it is also an explanation of how we share in the life of the Trinity: We share not just the joy of the Trinity, but the work of the Trinity, as co-creators of the future of the earth.
Thank God for noticing our puny selves and blessing us this way. And thank your own father for the times he gave you a role in the family, or in the weekend project, whether you were ready or not.
What God promises next is a blessing especially for those who have no earthly father to thank.
The second reading gives us the last thing to be thankful for: “the hope of the glory of God.”
The harder your life is, the greater the promise, because “affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint.”
Thank God — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — for that.
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