FR. TOM'S HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY, May 30, 2021:
“God in three persons, Blessed Trinity!” We know those words from the great Trinitarian hymn Holy, Holy, Holy and they name the mystery of today’s feast. We celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity – this great reality of faith that both draws us into the wonder of God’s nature and confuses us a bit when we try and understand or explain it intellectually. I was never very good at math, but it’s only in the Church that with the Trinity 1 + 1 + 1 still equals 1. Three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, yet one God.
Our trouble with the Trinity comes when we try to dissect exactly what it means; when we try and come up with precise explanations of how something can be both three and one at the same time. And yet, we still try, don’t we? Most famously, St. Patrick gave the explanation of the Trinity using the image of the shamrock – three leafs, but still just one shamrock. We can spend a long time with furrowed brows trying to wrap our minds around this. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says this, “The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the mystery of God in Himself.” Now this statement, I think, helps us begin to get some place helpful. The Trinity is the mystery of God in Himself. Or in more simpler terms, understanding the Trinity tells us something about the very nature of God.
Our Scriptures today give us some helpful insight. In our first reading from Deuteronomy, Moses describes the intimacy of our relationship with God. He said,” “Did anything so great ever happen before? Did a people ever hear the voice of God speaking from the midst of fire, as you did, and live? Did any god go and take a nation for himself…as the Lord did for you?” St. Paul speaks of God as Trinity in our passage from his letter to the Romans. “Those who are led by the Spirit are children of God….we cry, ‘Abba, Father’....[we are] hears of God with Christ.” In just those passages we encounter a God who is connected, interested, personal, intimate, involved in our lives.
St. Matthew, in the conclusion of his Gospel, sends us forth into the world in the mission of our three-fold God. “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”; baptizing them in the name of the Most Holy Trinity. Interestingly, though, you won’t find the word “Trinity” anywhere in the Bible, but the nature of God in Three Persons – Father, Son, and Spirit – is everywhere. Over and over, we are given examples of our God who so loved the world – who so loved you, and me, and every living being – that He gave His only Son so that we might live forever. Love is the nature of God. Love is the nature of the Trinity. And love is what our God in Three Persons invites each one of us to share.
Sacred Scripture also reminds us that we are all made in the image and likeness of God. So, the more we understand God the more we understand ourselves. And this message could not be more important than it is right now.
As our world begins to emerge from under the weight of the pandemic, for example, let’s not forget the countless and moving heroic acts of love in the words and actions of the many, many women and men on the front lines of this pandemic, caring for and comforting those effected by the virus. The incredible scientists who created and distributed the vaccines worldwide in record time – saving countless perhaps millions of lives. God who is Three-in-One is working in them and through them to share that same love to those suffering through this crisis. You and I have shared in this same love through our smaller acts of love when we have worn our masks, sanitized our hands, gotten our vaccination – in each of these simple moments we have been embracing that love that comes from the very nature of God and sharing it with our sisters and brothers. In those moments, our God in Three Persons has become God in Many Persons – God in you and me and in anyone who responds to the challenges of our world with love.
Understanding the Trinity tells us that God is not only in Three Persons, but God is in many persons because He is in you and in me and everyone who is part of the beautiful world that He created. God is not a loner who exists in solitary individualism, distant and detached from us. God exists in a community of love and sharing – in His very nature He is a Father, loving a Son, loving the Holy Spirit with a love so great that it can’t be contained and spills out into the world – to you and to me. In God’s most inner reality, He is a relationship of love. And our world needs to be overwhelmed with that love today more than ever. Only God’s love can route out what ails us in our hearts, in our homes, and in our communities.
The racism, violence, and prejudice that have also accompanied this last year and a half are the counter sign of that love; they are a corruption of that divine image. We are called to reflect God’s community of love to everyone – especially those on the margins of our society; especially those the rest of the world doesn’t see; especially those who are treated as less than worthy of the same love. The believer who reflects God’s love doesn’t divert our attention from the violence we see; doesn’t make excuses for the racism and prejudice that is a dark part of our heritage; but instead with every fiber of their being tries to love the world to health, equality, justice, healing, and holiness. God in Many Persons.
God so loved the world that we too might love the world in return. My friends, let us call upon our God in Three Persons and ask Him to once again be God in Many Persons – God in you and in me and in everyone – and ask Him to overwhelm this pandemic at last; to overwhelm any hatred, or racism, or prejudice in our hearts with His love.
The great Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” The Trinity is the mystery of God in Himself; and God in us. Let us be encompassed by that mystery of love and light so that we might reflect God’s love, healing, justice, and peace to the whole world.
May the Lord give you peace.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.