Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
Sunday after Pentecost
Points to note
Learning is a continuous process and we never stop learning. It is important to stress the fact that we continue to learn about Jesus through our parents and our catechists. Even grown-ups continue to learn about Jesus through the Church. Actually, even the Pope.
As it is Trinity Sunday, the stress is also that whatever that is taught by the Spirit about the Father is the same as what Jesus taught.
Try to say “Holy Spirit” instead of just “Spirit” as the latter has connotations for some children that can be a little distracting, while the former is a proper name to many children.
Acclamation before the Gospel
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
the God who is, who was, and who is to come.
Explain that Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus, one of the Jewish leaders. Some of the things that Jesus said are a little difficult for non-Christians, like the Jews, to understand.
A simple Sign of the Cross is made to start the mass, but you should explain its significance. The early Christians used the sign of the cross to bless themselves during the liturgy, and to show that they are Christians at other times. We don’t really know if they use it as a secret sign known only to themselves during the persecution, but it is an intriguing thought.
Children also like the idea that as our hands move to the different parts of our body when signing ourselves, we are also making a silent prayer with our hands: God, grant us wisdom (head), love (heart), and strength (shoulders).
Again, it may help explaining about the other Sign of the Cross that we use before hearing the Gospel. This one is a little more primitive and being more discreet, was more likely to have been used as a secret sign if there was one. It survives a lot more in the liturgies than the more conventional one. For instance, the priest traces the cross on the forehead of the baby or catechumen during the Liturgy of Baptism.
Again, children like the idea of a prayer using their hands. So: As we hear your word, let us think good thought (head), say good words (lips), and feel love (heart).
The Lord be with you.
All: And also with you.
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St John
All: Glory to you O Lord
Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“God loved the world so much
that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost
but may have eternal life.
For God sent his Son into the world
not to condemn the world,
but so that through him the world might be saved.
No one who believes in him will be condemned;
but whoever refuses to believe is condemned already,
because he has refused to believe
in the name of God’s only Son.”
This is the Gospel of the Lord
Does anybody like adventure games on the computer? (for the uninitiated, adventure games are where you have to navigate a course, which could be like a house, by answering questions or going through locked doors, etc, in order to arrive at a destination where a prize will be waiting) Get the children to talk about those games, but not too long. Dwell on the aspects of the game where they have to figure out something that will take them to the next level. In the game, a little bit will be made known to you – bit by bit.
What is a mystery?
In the early Church, a mystery is a hidden truth that is revealed only to the elect, i.e., baptised Christians. A catechumen is initiated into the mystery in a rite of initiation lasting years, during which the faith is gradually revealed to him. At the end of his formation, he will be baptised and is said to have entered into the mystery. Even after that, though the newly baptised continue to be further initiated into the faith and will finally enter fully into the faith on meeting his Creator face to face.
Explain to the children that God is like a mystery to us and we learn about him gradually through the people around us and through talking to him in prayers. In a way, our knowledge of God is a bit like the computer game – you cannot know about God all at once. You can only know about God bit by bit.
Is Jesus still around to teach us? Be careful! Jesus isn’t dead on the Cross. He stayed with the disciples for forty days after his resurrection, after which he went to heaven to prepare a house for us. Forty days isn’t a long time to teach anyone about God, I guess! But he has asked the Holy Spirit to continue to teach us about himself. Stress that whatever the Holy Spirit teaches is the same as what Jesus taught. So, therefore, the Holy Spirit will continue to teach us from where Jesus left off.
Ask the children how the Holy Spirit continues the teaching of Jesus. Discuss how the Holy Spirit teaches us through things that happen around us; through people close to us, etc, etc