The Solemnity of the Holy Trinity
Saint Gabriel the Archangel Parish
May 21/22, 2016
Saint Gabriel the Archangel Parish
May 21/22, 2016
We are often confronted with mystery; I do think we rather enjoy it, though. The thrill, the suspense, the unknown, the possibilities; all of these frequently captivate our imagination. Whether or not it's the TV shows we watch, the movies that interest us, politics, books, or simply where did that matching sock go to? Mystery surrounds us all the time. Even our music has a bit of mystery, like what does that artist mean when they sing that, or is Taylor Swift singing about this guy or that guy, and will they stay together this time? All of these mysteries have one thing in common, however; that an effort is made to keep the mystery a mystery. Where's Waldo would not be much of a mystery if Waldo jumped out of a page waving his arms! Likewise, a good government conspiracy would not be much of a mystery if they advertised in the local newspaper. A mystery, or at least the people behind the mystery, try to maintain the mystery.
The Christian faith has a lot of mysteries, mysteries that confound the modern world and these are a different kind of mystery altogether. We are in the season of mystery, one might say. We just finished up the season of Easter, a season in which we celebrate the mystery of the death and resurrection of Christ. Two weeks ago we had the Feast of the Ascension, Christ rising to heaven. Last week we celebrated Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit, a mystery in and of itself. This week we are celebrating the great solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity - three persons one nature - about as deep a mystery as we can go? Finally, next week we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, the Eucharist, a mystery to be thankful for! At the beginning of Mass, we often hear the words “brothers and sisters let us called to mind our sins, and so prepare ourselves to celebrate these sacred mysteries.” Christians know that they celebrate some of the, if not the most, mysterious of mysteries. Nevertheless, these are mysteries that reaches out to help us understand what is otherwise mysterious. Let that sink in for a moment, we celebrate a mystery that reaches out, and itself tries to make itself known. What kind of mystery would do this? What kind of mystery attempts to make itself known? The kind of mystery that is based in love, pure, selfless love.
There are two images of the Trinity that I wish to expand upon today. The first is Holy Scripture itself, the word of God, the Bible. Christ said in the Gospel that we heard today that “there is much more to tell us but that we cannot bear it now.” Christ knew that there was much more left to teach, that the mystery had not come to a fulfillment within his life on Earth. It has been said that the Old Testament represents the age of the Father, the age of coming to understand that God has created us, sustains us, and calls us to be his chosen people. The Old Testament, the age of the Father. The Gospels then represent the age of the Son, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. His teaching, his preaching, his miracles; his life. The Gospels, the age of the Son. Finally, the rest of the New Testament, up until our current day, represents the age of the Holy Spirit. An age of growing understanding of how the church is to be in the world, an understanding of that which Christ wanted to teach but left for the Holy Spirit to guide us to. The New Testament, the age of the Holy Spirit. Just by looking at the way in which Holy Scripture is gathered we get a sense of the Trinity even though it is not distinctly mentioned in Holy Scripture.
The other image of the Trinity that may be helpful is that of an overflowing fountain. The love of the Father, at the top of the fountain overflows, and the Son is called into being; and likewise, the love of the Father and the Son overflows and the Holy Spirit is called into being. We read in Proverbs, in our first reading, that “the Lord possessed me, the beginning of his ways, the Forerunner of his prodigies of long ago; from of old I was poured forth, at the first, before the Earth.” We can see this image of the outpouring of the Father's love, and then looking at the second reading we see that in Paul's letter to the Romans he says that “the love of God has been poured out into our hearts.” In this way, we see that the love of the Father overflows into the Son, and the love of the Father and the Son overflows into the Holy Spirit, which in turn overflows and fills our hearts. We are, therefore, provided for by the love that overflows from all three, for the love that exists between them sustains us, and calls us back to the source.
So what then does the knowledge of God as Trinity do for us? A perfectly timed question from one of our first graders right before the 5 p.m. Saturday Mass helps to clarify the significance of this important day. She asked me who created God? And I told her that nothing created God, God always has been, if something had created God, then that thing would be God. It means a lot for our faith that God decided, for no other reason than a desire for relationship, to be more than one, to be Trinity. God would have been perfectly all right being one, but God decided to be Trinity, and then God decided to extend that desire for a relationship with Creation itself. It may come as quite a shock for some, but God has no need for any of us, God would have been perfectly fine without us. In light of God's love, poured out into the Trinity, and overflowing into our hearts, we are called to share that relationship with one another. The very fact that God calls us into his mystery tells us that we are not meant to be a mystery for one another. We are called to be known by God and to reveal ourselves to one another. It is easy for the world to tell us that we are a mystery, that no one else can understand us, can get us, because of our particular circumstances. The world tells us that we are a mystery and will remain a mystery but our God, who is Trinity, tells us that we do not have to be a mystery. Today we celebrate the mystery of the Trinity, we celebrate by revealing ourselves to one another. It is important that our God is Trinity who we worship here today.