THE MOST HOLY TRINITY
(A biblical reflection on the Solemnity of THE MOST HOLY TRINITY [YEAR A] – Sunday, 7 June 2020)
Gospel Reading: John 3:16-18
First Reading: Exodus 34:4b-6,8-9; Psalms: Daniel 3:52-56; Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 13:11-13
The Scripture Text
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not condemned, He does not believe is condemned already, because He has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (John 3:16-18 RSV)
Today we celebrate the Feast of the most Holy Trinity, the mystery of God’s inner life. The mystery will remain for all of us as long as we live in this world, even though the veil which covers it is lifted ever so little. Revelation assures us that, not only is our God a personal God, He is three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, while remaining one God. And although we cannot even begin to give a logical explanation for this, our faith enables us in some small measure to experience the presence of God.
When you say the word “father”, you necessarily imply the existence of another person, the child. A person becomes a father when he gives life to his child. Fatherhood is a quality which is then added to his person. A father is a man, a person, long before he becomes a father.
God is a Father, and this name necessarily implies another person, the Son. But God did not become a Father. In fact, there was no time when He was Father, for fatherhood is not a quality which is added to God. God the Father is fatherhood personified. Remember that being a father means giving life to another. From all eternity God the Father gives life to His Son, and the only thing that makes Him a distinct person is the fact that He gives life to His Son. God the Father does not have a relationship we to His Son. He is that relationship itself.
God is also a Son, a Child. A child is one who receives life from another. We are children of our parents, but being a child does not exhaust our personhood. We are persons in our own right, which we can seed from the fact that when our parents die we continue to exist. But the only thing that makes God the Son a person us the fact that He receives life from His Father. God the Son does not have a relationship to the Father, He is that relationship.
Between parents and their children, in a good home, there is a bond which we call “love”. Love is difficult to describe. It is a warmth, an affection, a feeling – and most important of all it is a bond which unites people. Love is many things, but the only thing that love is not, in our experience, is a person. In God love is a person. Between God the Father and God the Son there is a bond of union, uniting them in love. In God this bond is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not give a relationship of love to Father and Son. He is love personified.
The truth of the Trinity has an important bearing on how we should live. Some people wonder why in Church, where we come to worship God, we hear so much about how we are to treat people. But think about it for a moment. We believe that we are made in the image and likeness of God. We are called to become like God Himself. The Trinity shows us three persons, each of whom in entirely unselfish and each of whom is a real Person only relationship to another. The Father gives Himself completely to His Son. The Son is concerned only with looking to the first Person as His Father. The Spirit exist only to unite Father and Son in an eternal embrace of love.
Our fulfilment as human beings comes about only in our relationships with God and other people, and not in being turned inward upon ourselves. Our greatest happiness comes from being generous and unselfish. Reflect on people who think only of themselves – people who are so wealthy; for example, that their whole lives are taken up with pleasure and play. We may be tempted to envy such people until we hear that their marriage has ended in divorce, or that they have turned to drugs in an attempt to alleviate boredom, or worse still that in complete despair they have taken their own lives. On the other hand, the happiest and most fulfilled human beings are the saints, men like St. Francis of Assisi who devoted himself to the Poor Christ manifested in the persons of poor people, and women like St. Mother Teresa who dedicated her life to the Poorest of the Poor.
God’s revelation of Himself as three persons tells us that we find fulfilment not as rugged individuals but in relationships to other people, and that we come to happiness not in selfishness but in genuine concern and love for those around us. In being generous and loving we begin to match the image according to which we are made, a God in whom there are three persons whose whole being consists in unselfishness.
Prayer: Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Jakarta, 6 June 2020
A Christian Pilgrim