Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Most Holy Trinity

(Trinity Sunday, C)

Trinity Sunday is absolutely one of my favorite days to be a priest. Why? Because I don't have to listen to any Trinity Sunday homilies! In the fifteen Trinity Sundays from my baptism to my ordination, I heard a good homily pretty rarely.

It usually goes like this: 'O.k., it's Trinity Sunday. God is a Trinity. He's three, he's one, you can't really understand it, but that's how it is. Please stand for the Creed.' Maybe if you're lucky you at least get the amusement of some limping analogies, or the excitement of a little heresy, usually modalism or Arianism.

I always wanted to stand up and say no! Let us not pass over the central mystery of the Christian faith with mystifying arithmetic or the dullness of obnubilating analogies!

Here's the thing: We can have an understanding of the Blessed Trinity. Not a comprehension, mind you, but some understanding. This is so for two reasons. First, that we are made in the image and likeness of God, and second, God reveals himself as Trinity in the Scriptures.

Let’s start with ourselves. If we are created in the image and likeness of God, and this is what is distinctive about us human beings among all God’s creatures, and if God is a Trinity, then we are created in the image and likeness of the Blessed Trinity. Therefore, if we look at ourselves when we are most happy and most the creatures God made us to be, we should see in ourselves some vestige or reflection of the Blessed Trinity. And when are we happier than we are in love? Indeed, love makes us happy because God himself is Love, and our experiences of love are a taste of divine joy. But there is no such thing as a love that doesn’t love someone; love is always specific—we fall in love with this particular person, or place, or ideal. So for God to be Love itself, God must be at once Lover and Beloved. Indeed, this is what we are talking about when we reflect on the Blessed Trinity. From all eternity, the overflowing Love we call God self-expresses into a perfect and complete reflection of Himself. God is Lover and Beloved, Father and Son, Source and Eternal Word, or, as we hear in the first reading today, Lady Wisdom at play with the Creator at the beginning of time.

There you have it. God is not some static ‘supreme being’ sitting on a throne somewhere far away. God is a super-creative set of loving dynamisms. Lover, Beloved, and the Love they share, Father and Son with the Holy Spirit, this is who God is. But here’s the really good news: because God is a set of loving dynamics, “persons,” as we say in theology, it means that God is a reality that can be stepped into.

In fact, this is what we celebrate by our Christianity. In Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit has stretched the love of God the Father and God the Son into the world, that we might have the opportunity to be included in this original Love. This is what we mean in the Creed when we say that Jesus, the Word made flesh, was conceived ‘by the power of the Holy Spirit.’ The Spirit—the Love between Father and Son—has made a home for that love in our humanity through the mystery of the Incarnation. In Jesus, our humanity has the opportunity to be caught up into the eternally creative, utterly delightful, and perfectly happy divine Activity we call the Blessed Trinity. As St. Paul writes in the second reading today, Jesus is our “access” to the grace of God.

This is the joy of the Holy Communion we receive here at Holy Mass—we receive the sacrificed Body of Christ into our bodies, and so are caught up by the Spirit into the love of God the Father and God the Son. We begin to live in God. This is the good news Jesus announces in the gospel today: The Spirit will guide us “to all truth.” This Truth is God himself, the Blessed Trinity himself, in whose image we are created, and whose divine life is our destiny in heaven. As we are caught up anew into the Blessed Trinity through our Holy Communion today, let us give thanks for the chance to begin to live the life of heaven while we are still on the pilgrimage of this life.


Jordan McKinnon said...

I appreciate this post- you've made the trinity a little more tangible for folks.

Thanks. :)

Author Greg said...

Always good to have a homily before going to Mass ... gives one the time to digest the message and to arrive prepared to fully participate.

You have tweaked a gripe of mine, the idea some advance that the trinity cannot be understood... we can get there, one dusty footstep after the other on the pilgrim's journey.

for narnia said...

as always, your homily was so inspirational, Fr. C! thank you so much for sharing your insight on the Most Holy Trinity.
during my own personal reflection on the feast of the Most Holy Trinity, i felt that we are called to do God's Will by receiving the Sacraments, particularly the Eucharist; and by doing the Works of the Holy Spirit (the Holy Spirit has been given to us all, just as it says in the second reading of this weekend.) we all have received the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and we need to use them to help build others up and to bring glory and honor to God. there's a nice reflection on the back of the bulletin from St. Michael's which kind of fits with this feast day and fits with what Greg is trying to say, i think. it's titled: "Why Saints?" and it goes like this: "The veneration of saints is vital to the life of the Holy Church because the existence of saints affirms that it is truly possible to fulfill the Christian vocation - to become conformed to the image of Christ. Every Christian is called to be a saint. Christ commanded us to be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect. The saints worked hard to achieve that spiritual perfection, and are the Church's Olympic champions - gold medal winners. They cooperated with God in doing His will, and allowed the Holy Spirit to use them. They achieved this blessed condition through their great spiritual exercises: by prayer, fasting, abstinence, repentance, receiving the Holy Mysteries (sacraments); by living lives of simplicity, humility, love, patience, purity and obedience; by reading the Holy Scriptures; the Church Fathers, the lives of the saints; and most especially, by allowing God's love to overflow through them to all creation. The saints dedicated their lives to loving God above all else, serving Him according to the talents that they received. Their "job descriptions" varied, but they always served the world around them - as simple lay men and women and as princes and princesses; as monastics, priests and bishops; as writers, translators, artists and missionaries; as spiritual directors, healers of body and soul, wonder-workers; and, as "fools-for-Christ."" PAX! ~tara t~

Julie said...


I just found your blog, and I am finding your homilies truly engaging and in tune with thoughts I didn't quite know how to articulate. I'd love it if you would set up a feedburner feed and give us the option of receiving your posts by email. :)