Trinity Sunday Year C

     While our faith is not about having some kind of secret knowledge and “the faith of those who are simple of heart is the most precious treasure of the Church”[1] as Christians we should want to know who God is. After all being a Christian is about falling in love with God, and since we cannot love what we do not know, we need to know something about God if we are going to fall in love with Him. But how can we come to know God who is infinite? How can we truly come to know the Trinity, who is the central mystery of our faith?

     By far the hardest class I took in my graduate studies was a course on the Trinity. This course was filled with minute philosophical distinctions, complex Greek and Latin words, for which their were no English translations and it required such precision that changing one letter on some of those words caused you to be a heretic. I remember sitting studying for the final exam asking myself why I should even study the Trinity, after all the word Trinity doesn’t appear anywhere in the bible and it’s a mystery so why waste my time. It didn’t take long for me to realize that while the Trinity is truly a mystery to simply give up and call Him a mystery does not do justice to God who revealed Himself to us as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.[2] While the Trinity is a mystery that we will never be able to fully comprehend God must have revealed Himself for a purpose and so it must also be in my best interest to try to understand Him.

     Fortunately for us Jesus gives us glimpses into who God is and with a little thought we can learn a little bit more about the God who we wish to love. In revealing God to be the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Jesus lets us see that our God is a relationship of love. Think about it for a second. If the Father did not exist then their would be no Son, after all their can be no son without a father and if their was no Son then their would be no Father because a father can only be a father is he ha a son. Thus our God who is a trinity of three distinct persons in one God must be a God of loving relationship, for isn’t it love that holds a father and a son together?

     While often times people see God as some big power in the sky who is out to seek revenge. In revealing Himself as a trinity of persons, Jesus reveals God to be a God of love who reaches out to us desiring to draw us into that relationship of love. It is the Trinity that sets Christianity apart from every other religion. While the pagans knew to look beyond themselves for God and God revealed Himself to the Jewish people as a Father who had entered into a covenant with His chosen people, it was not until Jesus that God is revealed to be three in one – three distinct persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) yet still one Divine nature (God) that mankind could come to understand that God does not just tolerate each of us, but rather calls each human person into a personal relationship with Him.

     Who then is this Trinity? While the Trinity will always remain a mystery, the Church, for two thousand years has painstakingly unfolded the teaching of who the Trinity is. Some of the Church’s greatest teachers have used complex philosophy and Greek terms, others like St. Patrick used a three leaf clover. Perhaps the best analogy I know is to think of the Trinity like a family. Each family has many distinct people – a mother, a father and perhaps a daughter. All three of these people are distinct human people, yet they are all one single unit, one single family and they are bound together by a deep life-generating and self-giving love. In fact, is it not the love between the members of the family that binds them together and makes them one? In the same way, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, while three distinct persons, are bound together as one God in love.

     When we come to understand the Trinity as existing in an infinite perpetual love, we come to a radically different understanding of who God is, an understanding of God that is distinct to Christianity. Our faith is not about our quest for God, but rather it is God’s quest for us. In fact, since God subsists in a relationship of love, every action of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit emanates from love. God created the world out of love for us, He rescued His chosen people from slavery in Egypt out of love, He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ out of love to redeem us and to give us eternal life and as we recalled last Sunday on Pentecost, He sent His Holy Spirit, out of love to guide us and to help us bring His love to others.

     In revealing Himself as a Trinity, God shows us who He is. Each of the persons of the Trinity, subsisting in an infinite relationship of love, shows us that God does not simply tolerate us; He loves us. The Trinity reveals to us that while God is truly all-powerful, supremely just, knows all, and transcends all, He does not exist to lord power over us, but rather to enter into a loving relationship with us. He is calling us not to simply go through the motions of a ritual, or to engage in some kind of intellectual mind game. No He is calling us to enter into a personal relationship with Him and to bring people into a relationship with God. God does not simply tolerate us, no He wants to enter into a relationship with us and as Christians our lives should express that we live in a relationship of love with God. God is on a quest to enter into a relationship with us. Will we open our hearts to allow ourselves to enter into that relationship?

[1] Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger,. Theological Highlights of Vatican II. New York: Paulist Press (1966). Pgs. 262 – 263

[2] Mt 28:19

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