Fr Frank’s Homily for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity Year B

By Fr Frank Brennan SJ, 25 May 2024
Indigenous and non-indigenous people place their hands on the Grandmother Gum tree as part of a Signing in to Country during a National Reconciliation Week event at the Blacktown Native Institute. Image: Diocese of Parramatta


Homily for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Year B

Readings: Deuteronomy 4:32-34,39-40; Psalm 33, Romans 8:14-17; Matthew 28:16-20

26 May 2024


Today is Trinity Sunday when we proclaim in the Preface at Mass that Our Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God is one God, One Lord, together with the Only Begotten Son and the Holy Spirit “not in the unity of a single person, but in a Trinity of one substance”. We all make of that what we can.


It is also National Sorry Day when we remember and acknowledge “the mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were forcibly removed from their families and communities, which we now know as ‘The Stolen Generations’.” It’s a day to acknowledge the strength of Stolen Generations Survivors and reflect on how we can all play a part in the healing process for our people and nation. The week ahead is National Reconciliation Week with the theme ‘Now More Than Ever’. The organisers tell us: “Now more than ever, we need to tackle the unfinished business of reconciliation.”

The week is bookended by two great anniversaries in the life of the nation: the 1967 referendum when we voted ‘Yes for Aborigines’, and overwhelmingly, and the 1992 Mabo decision of the High Court recognising that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples had rights to their lands prior to 1788 and that many of those rights have survived to this day. But this year, the celebration of these anniversaries is marked by the devastating result in last year’s referendum at which we voted 60:40 against the proposal for constitutional recognition put forward by government and Indigenous leaders. We all have cause to reflect on the way forward.

On Trinity Sunday, which coincides with these national moments and movements, what are we to make of it all as we confess the true and eternal Godhead being “adored in what is proper to each Person, their unity in substance, and their equality in majesty”, to quote today’s Preface once again?

In today’s first reading from Deuteronomy, Moses reminds the people of the great things God has done for them – liberating them from bondage and slavery in Egypt and constituting them as a nation in their promised land. Moses tells them: “You must keep (the Lord’s) statutes and commandments that I enjoin on you today, that you and your children after you may prosper, and that you may have long life on the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you forever.”  We all know the ghastly statistics highlighting our ongoing failure in closing the gap. What is asked of us that all our children may prosper and have long life on the land which the Lord has given?

Paul tells the Romans in today’s second reading: “Brothers and sisters: For those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons and daughters of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a Spirit of adoption, through whom we cry, ‘Abba, Father!’” Let’s not lose sight of the hope expressed by the Indigenous leaders after they broke their silence after the referendum defeat: “We have faith that the upswelling of support through this Referendum has ignited a fire for many to walk with us on our journey towards justice.  Our truths have been silenced for too long.”[1] Let’s pray that the day might come when we can all joyfully proclaim together that we are sons and daughters of God casting off the spirit of slavery and receiving a Spirit of adoption.

As Christians living in this land, we hear that commission given to the disciples by Jesus after his resurrection: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Part of that command is to accord justice to all and to work for peace and reconciliation.

At Lowitja O’Donoghue’s state funeral in February, Pat Anderson, one of the key architects of last year’s proposed constitutional change, recalled Lowitja’s achievement with the native title negotiations in 1993. Reflecting on that achievement, Lowitja had said: “We cannot lose the will to resolve these issues, because they will not go away. But tackling them half-heartedly or high-handedly will be a recipe for continuing failure. I believe that solutions are at hand. But they will require determination and patient effort, negotiation and compromise, imagination and true generosity.”[2] May Lowitja’s vision, hope and realism sustain us all as a new generation commits to renewing the vision and completing the work to make us a reconciled nation.[3] ‘Now more than ever.’

Blest be God the Father,

and the only Begotten Son of God,

and also the Holy Spirit,

for she has shown us her merciful love. Amen.


From the start of 2024, Fr Frank Brennan SJ will serve as part of a Jesuit team of priests working within a new configuration of the Toowong, St Lucia and Indooroopilly parishes in the Archdiocese of Brisbane. Frank Brennan SJ is a former CEO of Catholic Social Services Australia (CSSA). Fr Frank’s latest book is An Indigenous Voice to Parliament: Considering a Constitutional Bridge, Garratt Publishing, 2023 and his forthcoming book is ‘Lessons from Our Failure to Build a Constitutional Bridge in the 2023 Referendum’ (Connor Court, 2024). 


[1] Open Letter to the Prime Minister and every Member of the House of Representatives and the Senate of the Commonwealth Parliament, 22 October 2023, available at

[2] Lowitja O’Donoghue, ‘Past Wrongs, Future Rights’, National Press Club Address, 29 January 1997 available at

[3] See Frank Brennan, ‘Mistakes and Lessons from the Voice Referendum’, The Weekend Australian, 25-6 May 2024 available at


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