Trinity Sunday B
May 30, 2021
Matthew 28: 16-20
By Rev. John Tran
Only in Matthew’s gospel do we find this appearance of Jesus to the eleven on the mountain in Galilee. He asks specifically for the ‘eleven’, making us remember clearly that one of the original disciples was now gone: Judas, who had betrayed him. In this gospel, the disciples do not just misunderstand what kind of Messiah Jesus would be, they actually doubt that Jesus is there, at least at first. The gospel says, “When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.” What does this mean?
We also notice in this gospel that in verse 9 of this chapter 28, the women who had come to the tomb, and meet Jesus on their way to tell the disciples what the angel had said to them; “They embraced his feet, and did him homage.” They did not doubt. This reminds me of a painting by Fra Angelico at a monastery in Venice. It showed Jesus in the Garden with all of the disciples asleep instead of praying with him. The around the corner of a building, invisible to Jesus and the disciples, were the women deeply in prayer. Not to set the men against the women, this shows that not all disciples were at the same place. Some doubted, but notice that they worshiped also. And, they stayed to here the message Jesus had to give.
Jesus made two points. One, that the disciples were not to give the message of the good news only to the Jews, but to all nations: they were to “go...and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Two, “Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Jesus reassures them that he will not forget them, that he will be with them always. This gives them the courage to believe, and to begin to spread the gospel to all nations. Remember, the disciples were much like us. We, too, can doubt, can question which way to go. Remember how Peter had prayed, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief.” The final verse of the gospel reinforces the assurance given, and despite the “little faith” and failures of his followers, Jesus remains always with the community that gathers and ministers in his name. Not even death can break that bond – ever.
In this final message Jesus also makes clear the nature of God being made up of three persons who are so intimately united that they are One God. This is a message, too, that the disciples take on faith. It shows us just how we are to live as a community. It was what distinguished the early Christians to the non believers. They loved one another so much that they were one. They also drew in others by this example. This is also our challenge this Trinity Sunday: How can we let God work in us to change us to the extent that others can see our oneness with each other and with God? The example of the Trinity calls us to constant conversion so that by our lives and words, God is made real and present, because like God, we are one.