Reflection for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, year A
Readings: Ex 34:4-6.8-9; Dn 3:52-56; 2 Cor 13:11-13; Jn 3:16-18
I have observed that , during the celebration of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, the emphasis is quite often on the intellectual acceptability of the doctrine; finding a way ( metaphor and symbol ) of speaking about it that will satisfy the human intellect and appeal to human logic.
Whereas this is totally understandable and necessary, it has to be realised that the mystery can only ever be contemplated, never understood, as St. Augustine of Hippo discovered. Contemplation is the only proper response to such an immense revelation of the inner being of the Godhead and it produces a much deeper “knowing”, a mystical knowledge.
For this reason I am moved to reflect with you on the Trinity as the abundance of God. The preacher to the papal household, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, wrote that in the very beginning of Scripture it states that “God made man in his own image” , and precisely because of this image, God immediately added:
“ It is not good for man to be alone.” Hence, said another author: “ We do not explain the Trinity, the Trinity explains us! We are individual and often need to be alone because God is one. We are social and have a want and need for others because God is three. What abundance!
Today’s readings support this view of the abundant richness of God that embraces us and all of creation. In the first reading from Exodus, a scene which followed the second giving of the Law , God passes before Moses and proclaims: “ Lord, Lord God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in kindness and faithfulness. Richness!
In the second reading, St. Paul ends his letter with his most elaborate benediction in the New Testament: “ The grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all”. He describes the Trinity in terms of the Church’s later understanding and gives a specific function to each divine Person. To Jesus, he attributes grace. “ He loved us and gave himself for us as a free gift” (Gal 2: 20 ; Rom 3: 24). To the Father, he attributes love. “ The love of God has been poured into our hearts” (Rom 5:55). (This anticipates the core truth of the gospel reading). To the Spirit he attributes fellowship; Through whose gifts the body of Christ is bound together and this in turn ensures the union of the Christian with the Spirit, since the latter dwells in the believer. It is a sense of abundant intimacy and mutual embrace.
In the Gospel comes Jesus’s words: “ For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in Him may not be lost but may have eternal life” So much!
Eternal life is not simply to be understood chronologically, as life without end, but as fullness of life, God’s very own life, which He shares with us here and now!
A sense is built up of us being gifted, of something encompassing, indwelling and enlarging, coming towards us.
God is with us in every dimension. The Father has unveiled his co -eternal Son and sent Him among us. The Father and the Son then complete the gift by sending us their Spirit.
For Eastern Christians Pentecost is the feast of the Trinity. When the Holy Spirit comes, God’s sharing of himself is complete. God who is for us, with us and in us!
“ I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is, who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Rev 1:18). The Most Holy Trinity is indeed the beginning and the end of our faith. We begin Mass by saying “ In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and end by saying” May Almighty God bless you: The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”. We also begin our Christian life by being baptised in the Name of the Trinity and when we die we are send forth with these words: “ Go forth Christian soul, from this world, in the Name of God the Father, who created you, in the Name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God who suffered and died for you, in the Name of the Holy Spirit who was poured out upon you”. We are encompassed!
On Trinity Sunday we say yes to this abundance of God. Yes to diversity, yes to unity, yes to creativity, yes to solidarity, yes to community, yes to life! Yes to love.
The liturgy shows us how to do this by repeating words like acknowledge, confess, profess, thank, bless, adore, glorify, praise!
Let us worship and by contemplating this mystery, allow ourselves to be led deeper and deeper into the life of God and becoming his true image day by day, giving ourselves to Him and our neighbour in abundance!