Exodus 34, 4-6, 8-9 + Psalm Daniel 3, 52-56 + 2 Corinthians 13, 11-13 + John 3, 16-18
There is something completely silly about human beings using language to explain God. In some ways, it is almost an act of pride, for if we can explain in our words the Divine Mystery, then we have somehow captured, control, and now understand God. So, comes the annual observance of “Trinity Sunday” right after Pentecost perhaps to test how completely we have received the Holy Spirit and the gift of “Understanding.” Ridiculous!
I have spent most of my life thinking that this is a Feast for scholars, for those who can stand up and speak coherently about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: Three in One, One in Three, Undivided Unity. The hymn we sing this day sums it all up, and it boils down to some kind of mental exercise that has always left me a little bored and put off. As “Sister” used to say to us children in class: “It’s a mystery. Just believe it.” “Believe what?” I would ask in all innocence, and then spend 90 minutes after school writing: “It’s a mystery.” 1000 times!
I had to grow up and get out of school creating some distance from those theological scholars to discover that this is not a Feast of Scholars. It is a feast for lovers. Eventually in the face of love I began to see what this is all about. To help us explore this revelation, the church gives us readings about what God does; not about what God is. The way into the mystery of God is to look at what God does. From that we can begin to stumble around with human language to express what eventually is not expressible.
That first reading is almost a surprise, a surprise at how tender and loving God is with Moses providing the Law to give life. Paul speaks of discovering God in communion, and the conversation with Nicodemus is really about love. Saint Theresa, the “Little Flower” wrote that “The loveliest master piece of the heart of God is the heart of mother.” If that great woman so understood God by understanding the love of a mother, then why would it not be so for a father as well?. Loving parents are the first and best doorway into the mystery of God. Their love brings them together in Unity, but they are never indistinct from one another. The longer they live in that love however, the more one they become. The more they begin to think for each other, to speak for each other, to know without it being said what is going on in the heart of the other. These are clues for perceiving the nature of God. Relationships of this kind are sacramental. They are for us a sign of something deeper and more inaccessible through the sign, and the love they have and share is known by what they do.
We learn more about God from human relationships than from Philosophers and Theologians. You can learn more about God from your parents and teachers than you can from books and movies. People who believe in you, who are willing to make sacrifices for you; people who will not give up on you, who love you no matter what you do or say,: that is how you come to know what the Trinity means and what God is.
That first reading about Moses is a good one for today. Moses is someone worth getting to know. He is a good model and a worthy hero. Today we hear about him going up the mountain for the second time! He goes up after the people have done their thing with the golden calf and betrayed everything he taught them, and ignored everything he gave them. He goes up there one more time to offer his life for those ungrateful, impatient people. Moses is an introduction to Jesus who comes to lead people who love the light into friendship with God that nothing can break, and unity with each other that is as close and real as blood.
For people who love the Trinity is not hard to understand. It is just a little difficult to talk about like real love is difficult to talk about. And so we either run the risk of talking too much, or finally just give in to the awe of it all and sit in silence holding hands, folded in the arms of the other, and believing that we are a people who have the life of God within us.