June 7, 2020 at St. Peter the Apostle in Naples, FL
Exodus 34, 6, 8-9 + Psalm Daniel 3, 52-55 + 2 Corinthians 13, 11-13
John 3, 16-18
It’s easy to glide past this Great Feast Day without giving it much thought or without thinking a little deeper about what it is that should draw us together today. Most of us my age can remember a wonderful Sister in religion class telling us that the Trinity was a “mystery”. With that we turned the page, and we were on to the next theme in the Catechism. If you were not in Catholic School, whatever religious formation you had probably did not spend much time on this issue, or fact, or dogma. The fact that I just tried three different words should tell you that the Holy Trinity objectively is a complicated piece of our faith. The whole formula passed down for generations can easily leave most of us scratching our heads: “Three in One and One in Three.” Complicated or not, it is the distinguishing mark of Christianity that sets us apart from Islam or Judaism, and for no other reason, it is good idea to set aside at least one Sunday each year to ponder this unique experience and revelation of God, because it is an experience that reveals something important about our God.
In the seminary I sat through an entire semester with a course called: “De Trinitate”. I think I went to that class three times a week. I remember an old file of notes. Most of all I, remember staring out the window at a big Linden tree wondering when if it would get leaves before the bell rang. It was awful. Since then, I have come to realize that you have to experience the Trinity before you really understand it. For me, that experience is in this church. Several weeks ago, in the midst of this pandemic, it happened right before my eyes right here in front of this altar. It was a marriage. That couple were in love, desperately, deeply, and beautifully, and I have seen countless others just like them in my fifty-two years. What I realize in that experience is that what I see with my eyes is two people, but what I see with my faith is three: a man, a woman, and love, because God is love.
The privileged way to know God is through love. Theologians have turned themselves inside out trying to explain the Trinity. Philosophers have resorted to mathematical precision. Mystics have lost themselves in God’s being. Perhaps the rest of us will come to understand the Trinity best of all through marriages, through a deep love that is sacrificial and forgiving, inspiring a joyful spirit that reflects the Joy of God’s spirit when we are one, living in the peace of God’s life-giving love. You don’t have to be married to experience this either. Those of us who had our beginnings in a real, sacramental marriage have lived in the Trinity, experiencing, if choose to reflect upon it, something creative, something sacrificial, and something joyful. Name it what you want, but we Catholics ought to call it, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is real. It is there.
In a few moments, we will profess our faith believing that God is reveled to us as Trinity: three persons who are who they are because of how they love one another. We know this God because it is God’s nature to reach out to us, and to bring us all together into Divine Love. The evidence of that love is found in Holy Marriage, in Holy Church, and in Holy Families.