TRINITY SUNDAY (2018)
Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40
Psalm 33:4-6, 9, 18-20, 22
At the very core of our Christian being we are Trinitarian! There is no outer garment that we put on which reminds us of that; there is no brand or tattoo that keeps us from forgetting. Because we choose to call ourselves Christian, we are Trinitarian, and our lives are meant to be lived in such a way that they reflect the dynamic and communal life of the Trinity who is at the heart of our being.
With the celebration of Pentecost and the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Easter season ends, or better, overflows into the two following Sundays which further celebrate the essence of Christian living. Today we celebrate the Most Holy Trinity, and next Sunday we will celebrate the Eucharist, the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. While nothing could completely reveal the fullness of Christian living, this ‘Triple Crown’ of Feasts comes close.
What is it that we are celebrating on this feast of the Trinity? As grade-school children, some of us had the pleasure of an education at the hands of religious women who would do their best to explain the complexities of the Trinity. In the spirit of St. Patrick, they used the image of a shamrock to demonstrate the three-in-one dimension of the God we worship. The image was incapable of revealing to us children the deep theology which is at the heart of a Triune God. When all was said and done, the good sisters absolved us of any responsibility to theologically struggle with the notion of the Trinity by honestly telling us that the Trinity is a “mystery,” and none of us mere mortals will ever fully understand this awe inspiring mystery of the Trinity.
Our liturgy today, however, does help to shed some light on the Trinity and help us draw closer to that mystery which is at the heart of our faith. The Collect sets the tone for today’s feast by stating “God our Father, who by sending into the world the Word of truth and the Spirit of sanctification made known to the human race your wondrous mystery, grant us, we pray, that in professing the true faith, we may acknowledge the Trinity of eternal glory and adore your Unity, powerful in majesty.” This opening prayer not only sets the tone, but it also points us in the direction of where to look if we want to learn anything about the Trinity, for we need to look to the Scriptures, God’s revealed and inspired word. It is in the Bible that God has revealed himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In the first testament Moses and the Jewish people came to know God as Father. Moses reminds the Jewish people of God’s benevolence: “Did anything so great ever happen before? Was it ever heard of? Did a people ever hear the voice of God speaking from the midst of fire, as you did, and live?” The entire first testament reveals the work of this loving Father.
The second testament proclaims that “God so loved the world,” the same world inhabited for centuries by the Jewish people, that He sent “His only Son” into that world “so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” The love God has for His Son is so great that it emanates into the third person of the Blessed Trinity, the Holy Spirit, who animates and invigorates God’s children. It is through the Trinity that we become God’s children when water is poured over our heads in the names of the “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” It is in their name that a Church was built, in response to Jesus’ command at the end of the Gospel of Matthew. It is in their name that we are called to live our lives as Christians, and it is in their name that we are compelled to share the mystery of the Trinity.
As God’s Trinitarian children our faith, like God, is meant to be communal at its core. It is meant to be so overwhelmingly loving that it generates love. Our faith is not meant to point us inward, but it is meant to point us outward, to reach out to the other, just as God reached out to reveal himself to countless numbers of individuals throughout time. We will one day be judged according to our ability to imitate the life of the Trinity that we celebrate today. This is precisely why there is a Trinity Sunday: to remind us to live our lives in the “name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen”