Father who sought me, Son who bought me, Spirit who taught me

Homily for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity Year C

by Fr. Tommy Lane

“O Father who sought me
O Son who bought me
O Holy Spirit who taught me.”

That beautiful prayer to the Trinity is quoted in a book on Celtic prayer (The Celtic Way of Prayer: The Recovery of the Religious Imagination page 43 by Esther de Waal). It expresses beautifully the different qualities of the three persons of the Holy Trinity. The Father sought us. That reminds me of Psalm 139, a beautiful Psalm about God seeking us and being present with us at all times.

O Lord you search me and you know me,
You know my resting and my rising,
You discern my purpose from afar.
You mark when I walk or lie down,
All my ways lie open to you.

Before ever a word is on my tongue
You know it, O Lord through and through.
Behind and before you besiege me,
Your hand ever laid upon me.
Too wonderful for me, this knowledge,
Too high, beyond my reach.

The Father was continually seeking us from the beginning. The Father called Abraham and called a people to himself out of all the peoples on earth. God called Moses and gave a covenant forming them into the Jewish people. The first reading (Prov 8:22-31) described the wisdom of God. Other passages in the Bible identify this wisdom with God’s Torah or Law or Commandments (Sir/Ecclus 24:23; Bar 4:1). God’s wisdom or his Commandments are one of the ways we see God seeking his people before Jesus. God’s commandments, his wisdom, is one way God reached out to his people to lead them to himself. The Father continued to seek his people by sending the prophets to call his people back to live according to the covenant when they were wandering away.

Unfortunately our spiritual ancestors, the Jews, did not listen, so then the Father revealed the great masterpiece of his plan to seek us; he sent his Son Jesus to buy us with his blood (Matt 26:28; Mark 14:24; Acts 20:28; Rom 3:24-25; 5:9; Eph 1:7; 2:13; Col 1:20; Heb 9:12; Rev 5:9).

“O Father who sought me
O Son who bought me
O Holy Spirit who taught me.”

The second reading today says the same using other words, “...through our Lord Jesus Christ, by faith we are judged righteous and at peace with God, since it is by faith and through Jesus that we have entered this state of grace...” (Rom 5:1) Jesus, the Son of the Father bought us. That reminds me of what Paul wrote to the Corinthians in 1 Cor 6:20, “You are not your own property, you have been bought at a price. So use your body for the glory of God.” How much are you worth? You are worth as much as the precious blood of Jesus because that is the price God paid for you, the blood of Jesus. In Rev 5:9 there is a hymn to Jesus, these words are addressed to Jesus,

“Worthy are you to receive the scroll and to break open its seals, for you were slain and with your blood you purchased for God those from every tribe and tongue, people and nation.”

Yes we were purchased for the Father by the blood of Jesus. The blood of Jesus is priceless so you are priceless.

The final part of God’s plan to save us is the sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost after Jesus had ascended.

“O Father who sought me
O Son who bought me
O Holy Spirit who taught me.”

Jesus refers to the teaching quality of the Holy Spirit in the Gospel today,

“But when the Spirit of truth comes
He will lead you to the complete truth,
Since he will not be speaking as from himself
But will say only what he has learnt…” (John 16:13)

There are many ways in which we can see the Holy Spirit guiding the Church all down through the centuries. There is a very interesting example that I heard on Italian TV some years ago. Bishop Magee was being interviewed and mentioned that when he was secretary to Pope John Paul I, the Pope said to him one day that his successor was sitting opposite him during the conclave (first conclave of 1978). Bishop Magee did not think about it again until after the election of Pope John Paul II a short while afterwards and then he took out the map of the conclave that elected Pope John Paul I and saw that Cardinal Karol Woytyla who was to become Pope John Paul II was indeed sitting opposite Cardinal Luciani who became Pope John Paul I. How did Pope John Paul I know who his successor would be? I think we can say that somehow it was the Holy Spirit who had brought him to this conclusion.

“O Father who sought me
O Son who bought me
O Holy Spirit who taught me.”

Can you see in your own life that the Father has sought you, Jesus the Son bought you, and the Holy Spirit taught you? Can you see events in your own life that show the Father seeking you? Sometimes you would hear people say they felt that God had protected them from an accident or protected during an accident or that what at first looked to be disaster later turned out to be for the best. Can you see Jesus the Son buying you? Those who have seen the movie The Passion of the Christ are very aware of Jesus buying them with his blood. Can you see the Holy Spirit working in your life perhaps to expand your heart to be compassionate to someone or to forgive someone or to help someone? The Father, Son and Spirit work in the lives of each of us if we are open. Can you open your heart to the Father, Son and Spirit?

“O Father who sought me
O Son who bought me
O Holy Spirit who taught me.”

Copyright © Fr. Tommy Lane 2013

This homily was delivered when I was engaged in parish ministry in Ireland before joining the faculty of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland.

More homilies for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Related Homilies: The Most Holy Trinity: Abba, Emmanuel, Helper

We are drawn into the love at the heart of the Trinity (Year A)

The Most Holy Trinity: belonging to the Holy Trinity since Baptism (Year B)

Story: St. Augustine and the Mystery of the Trinity