The Holy Trinity
Each time we make the sign of the cross, we say: “In the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” We invoke the mystery of the most Holy Trinity: the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. This, my friends is one God and not three: the Father who is the creator, the Son who is the redeemer and the Holy Spirit who is our helper and guide. t is difficult to try to grasp the full meaning of the Trinity and I tell you even for me! But, nevertheless, it’s what we celebrate today.
Dear Brothers and Sisters
If we expect our readings this Sunday to give us a clear picture of the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity, we are wrong. The doctrine of three persons in one God, equal in divinity yet very different in personality, is not really spelled out in the Bible. In fact, the word “Trinity” is nowhere to be found.
Our Sunday Readings
In our First Reading (Exodus 34:4b-6,8-9) we hear God speaking to Moses. On Mount Sinai he reveals himself to Moses as a merciful and gracious God. A God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in kindness and faithfulness. Moses asks God to come along with his people. He asks God to overlook the fact that they are a stubborn folk and he pleads for them and asks for God’s forgiveness. God in his generosity forgives them and hands down the Ten Commandments.
In the Second Reading (2 Corinthians 13:11-13), Paul concludes his last letter to the community in Corinth with the salutation of the Trinity. He invites them to live in peace and harmony, agree with one another and as a result, the God of peace will be with them. Then he concludes with this lovely Trinitarian prayer that you heard at the beginning of every Mass: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God our Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” Quite often we hear this greeting, but do we ever take the time meditate on what it means?
The Gospel (John 3:16-18) we heard is a small part of a larger discourse from John. A Pharisee named Nicodemus was troubled about Jesus’ claim to have come from God so he decided to go check it out for himself. Of course, he visited Jesus at night, because as a ruler of the Jews, he had a lot to lose if he was caught meeting with Jesus. Jesus tries to explain that God loved all of humanity so much that he started the procession of redemption, which began with him giving his only Son. John doesn’t tell us if Nicodemus became a follower of Christ or not, perhaps he was one of those who had a kind of partial faith in Jesus. We do know that he took part in the burial process of Jesus and remained a good, and probably a secret disciple of Christ.
It's a Mystery
The feast of the Most Holy Trinity is a mystery and a mystery is, well, just that – a mystery – something that one does not fully understand. Our faith tells us that these three persons in one God are very distinct and different, yet one. God, who created man in his very image sent his Son, his very self, to walk and live with all of humanity. The Father gives life to his Son; the Father is the source of life for the Son. And the love that they share is more perfect that we could ever imagine. Life giving and receiving in perfect harmony and all of this is guided over by the third person of the Trinity: The Holy Spirit, The Spirit of Truth, which is neither the Father or the Son.
Dear friends, the feast we celebrate today reminds us that God is a family of love. We are not trying to understand an abstract theological doctrine or a mathematical debate, even though that might be much easier ……the concept of God as three persons is not really possible for us to fully understand, it is something we must simply believe. Now you know why it’s called a mystery.
Living The Gospel
Let us remember that the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. Let it be a reminder to pray with much greater meaning and respect the most common prayer of all – so common that we don’t even think of it as a prayer – the Sign of the Cross. With the simple movement of our arm, we display all that we believe and live for. It is in his image that we have been created and it is to grow ever more into his image that we are called. It is a world of harmony, peace and joy.
(†) In the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Stay safe, stay alert and protect youself and your neighbors.
Yours Fr. Urs