Trinity Sunday: The Most Holy Trinity
Trinity Sunday: The Most Holy Trinity
It’s easy for us to see and talk about many of the things that God has done. Right here in this little slice of Paradise where we live we can see much of the beauty of God’s creation. We have the Gulf and the white sandy beaches to the south, the forest lands and all the wilderness to the north. There are spectacular sunrises and sunsets east and west. And we still have darkness enough for the stars overhead to be dazzling at night. The beauty of Creation surrounds us.
Other things that God has done for us aren’t so easy to see. He made heaven as well as the earth and when we sinned and lost the original Paradise that he had made for us, he sent his only Son to redeem us. That’s what the gospel reading today tells us, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son”. That’s how much he loves us.
The fact that he has a Son and that he came for our redemption out of God’s love for us reveals something about who God is. God has told us that he is One but that he is Three Persons. We celebrate not so much what God has done, although all of that is important, but we celebrate who God is and how he has revealed himself to us. Today we celebrate the Most Holy Trinity.
Last week on Pentecost, in the gospel St. John told us that Jesus said to his disciples “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit”. Here in this one sentence Jesus reveals who he is, that the Father has sent him, and gives to them, and us, the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Most Holy Trinity – a mystery that the people of Christ’s Body, the Church, have been trying to understand for 2000 years. Three persons – a Trinity – yet one God.
We frequently make the sign of the Cross and don’t think about it much. We enter the church, and we make the Sign of the Cross. When we start a prayer, we make the Sign of the Cross. Everything we do as Catholics begins that way, the Sign of the Cross. It is the statement of belief in the Trinity and it sets Christians apart from all other religions on earth. Only Christians believe that there are three Persons in one God. It is a mystery we will never be able to fully comprehend. Yet it is the heart and soul of our Christian life.
The Catholic writer G. K. Chesterton once said that one of the reasons he believed in Christianity was because of its belief in the Trinity. If a human being had made up Christianity, it would not have at its very center a concept that is impossible to grasp or explain: the idea that God exists as one but within three persons.
We can reason our way into the knowledge of the existence of God, the Greek philosophers could do that, but we would never know of God as Trinity if Christ had not revealed it to us. None of this comes from reason. Most of what we know about God we know because God has revealed it to us.
Throughout the history of the Church we have tried to explain the Trinity in words that might convey some meaning to help us understand. Venerable Bishop Fulton Sheen, the early televangelist, would say that, just as the three angles of a triangle do not make three triangles, but one triangle, so there are three persons in God, but only one God.
St. Ignatius of Loyola once had a revelation of the Trinity as a harmonic chord, with three notes being played at the same time but forming one sound.
And St. Augustine as he was writing about and trying to fathom the mystery of the Trinity was said to have encountered a child on the beach who carried water in a pail from the sea to a small hole in the sand. He asked the child what he was doing and when told that he was trying to fill the hole with the sea Augustine told him he would never be able to do that. The child replied and you will never understand the Trinity. The child then disappeared. The best that Augustine could come up with is the love of the Trinity which bonds the three persons – he that loves, and that which is loved, and love itself. The Father and Son bound by the love between them, the Holy Spirit.
Love is at the center of beginning to comprehend the Trinity. True love is always directed toward another. When two people love each other, the love is not just in one or the other; love must be between them and must unite them. Love binds them together.
God created us in His image and likeness, so you and I are created by love, created in love, and created for love. In the Book of Genesis, there is already a foreshadowing of the Trinity, when God says, “Let us make man in our image and likeness”
As Christians, we share in this Trinitarian love and life. The Father sent his Son to become one of us so that we could share in his eternal life. As disciples of Jesus, he invites us to live within the love of the Holy Trinity. At baptism, we received the divine life of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, we became sons and daughters of the Father. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we become children of God, and Jesus is our brother.
On this feast day of the Trinity, let us rejoice at the gift of life and love that has been so freely given.
So today I would suggest that you pray to each Person of the Trinity. Thank the Father, your Creator, for the magnificence of the earth and for sending His Son to become one of us.
Thank the Son, Jesus Christ, for his obedience to his Father’s will and for the shedding of his blood, which has redeemed you.
Thank the Holy Spirit, the Giver of Life, who sanctifies you by his presence and who inflames your heart with love for God.
And rejoice that God loves you passionately and unconditionally, and that he wants to share his eternal life with you.