Proverbs 8, 22-31 + Psalm 8 + Romans 5, 1-5 + John 16, 12-15 (Roman Rite) or Matthew 28, 16-20 (Maronite Rite)
May 22, 2016
There is always a risk lurking behind our thinking and language about God, and so this feast is a good annual occasion to address that risk and draw us back to the truth that God is One. Even though our experience of God has three dimensions, so to speak, what we profess at the beginning of every Creed is that there is only One God. Because that God has been revealed to us through the Incarnation, it is easy but careless to disconnect Jesus Christ from the Father. Then with the Feast we celebrated last week, the risk is even greater as language about the Holy Spirit can further fracture this Oneness of God that Jesus speaks of so clearly in his prayer at the Last Supper when he prays that we might all be one as He and the Father are one.
That prayer addresses and praises God of all creation as the Father who so wanted to be known by us that He took upon himself our very nature, and by doing so, he reclaimed us as his own. That “reclaiming” we believers often call “redemption.” That prayer also recognizes God who so desires that we share divine life that the Spirit continues to lure us into union with one another and with God. We call this “sanctification.” In most basic terms, this is the feast of God’s love, God’s whole outreach to all of humanity. This then is the feast of God’s self-revelation, celebrating God’s desire to be known by us for having shared in our life we are drawn to share in God’s divine life.
Today the church brings together in a single and solemn feast the creative, redeeming, and sanctifying work that we celebrate all year round. Trinity Sunday reminds us that the God whom we adore is “one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity.” This truth about God invites us to consider how all of our relationships are reflections of that unique and dynamic relationship that exists within God—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And the great gift for us is that we are constantly being invited to be part of that relationship, to live in the love of God.
Reflecting on this, the spiritual writer Henri Nouwen wrote that he was convinced that “most human suffering comes from broken relationships. Anger, jealousy, resentment, and feelings of rejection all find their source in conflict between people who yearn for unity, community, and a deep sense of belonging.” By rooting our faith in the Holy Trinity we turn all our human relationships into an experience of the Divine. This is why people of love are holy, people in love as in marriage are sacramental signs of God’s presence and action among us. True loving relationships are creative, redeeming, and sanctifying. This is the work and the sign of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In love shared in this life we claim the truth that God gives us what we most desire and offers us the grace to forgive each other for not being perfect in love”. It is this kind of Trinitarian love that Saint Paul spoke of in his Letter to the Romans: “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith to this grace in which we stand … because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us”.
In the end, our celebration of the Most Holy Trinity is an invitation for us to continue to move beyond our selves. The feast reminds us of the powerful ways that God remains at work in the world: in the ongoing act of creation, in the ongoing gifts of healing and redemption, and the life-giving Spirit that inspires faith, hope, and love. This is something extraordinary to remember and celebrate each and every day of Ordinary Time.