The Most Holy Trinity - Abba, Emmanuel, Helper

Homily for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

by Fr. Tommy Lane

(The following is an excerpt)

Jesus called God his Father, but did so in a special way. Jesus called his Father “Abba”, an Aramaic word, which means something like our “Daddy.” (Aramaic was the language in Palestine at the time of Jesus). So now we do not look on God as distant from us. Our heavenly Father is our Abba, he is our Daddy, the most perfect Daddy we could have. Since our heavenly Father is our Daddy, he is someone who is close to us, who cares about us, who loves us, who watches over us. He is someone we can turn to in good times as well in bad, someone who will listen to us, someone who wants our good.

The baby Jesus is described with the name “Emmanuel” in the Gospel of  Matthew. Immanuel means GOD IS WITH US. One might mistakenly not realize that our Abba, our heavenly Father or Daddy cared so much about us if Jesus had not come. But because of Jesus we really do see how much our heavenly Father, Abba, Daddy cares for us. God is no longer loving us from heaven, now in Jesus God is loving us in a human like us. (Year A only: As our Gospel says “God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son…” (John 3:16)) Now in Jesus, God is Immanuel. In Jesus, God is really With Us. Jesus is our brother. Paul sums it up very well, “If God is on our side, who can be against us.” (Rom 8:31)

“Nothing can come between us and the love of Christ, even if we are troubled or worried, or being persecuted, or lacking food or clothes, or being threatened or even attacked....Nothing can come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:35)

Our heavenly Father is our Abba or Daddy, and Jesus is Immanuel, God with us. In our troubles and worries we turn to the Father and Jesus. Before Jesus ascended he promised the Holy Spirit would come. Last Sunday we celebrated the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The Holy Spirit is also to help us. The disciples were gathered in the upper room before Pentecost, they were afraid. When they received the Holy Spirit, their fear and depression were gone. They could face life again. Paul says, “The Spirit helps us in our weakness.” (Rom 8:26) Jesus himself called the Spirit “the Comforter.” Like the Father and Jesus, the Spirit is also on our side to help us when we need.

On this Sunday every year we remember that God is our Father, our Daddy or Abba, and our brother Jesus who is Immanuel, God with us, and that nothing can separate us from his love except sin, and that God is also the Spirit who helps us in our weakness. As well as praying to Jesus it would be good to pray also to our Father whom Jesus called Abba or Daddy, and to pray to the Spirit asking for help in our weakness. Since God is a Daddy, and a Son who is Immanuel, God with us, and a Spirit who helps us in our weakness, let us continue to turn to God in our times of need.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

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

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)

Father who sought me, Son who bought me, Spirit who taught me (Year C)

Story: St. Augustine and the Mystery of the Trinity