Trinity Sunday

The Sunday that comes after Pentecost is the Trinity Sunday, which we celebrate today. God has always been visible to us in His Most Holy Trinity. Today is the day when, with diverse church communities, preachers walk the narrow path of finding something meaningful to say about God as Trinity, whilst avoiding tripping over the many heresies whose explanations have sought to aid our understanding over the centuries. Today the Church seeks to explain our belief in one God as three persons. I have always tried to find an earthly image to describe the Holy Trinity but in most cases all, these images fall short of explaining fully the Most Holy Trinity. Trinity Sunday is the feast of God. On this day, the Church invites us to contemplate the mystery of God in whose image and likeness we are created. Mysteries, though we narrow our eyes when we think of them, are not unfamiliar to us, and in some deep part of ourselves, we recognise them, accept them. After all, our most profound human experiences birth, life and death, goodness and evil, love and hate are mysteries, ‘far beyond our understanding’ (Psalm 139). Not surprising, then, that the highest, deepest mystery of all, the existence of God, three-in-one and one-in-three, can never be fully grasped. God made the universe; God is love made visible in Jesus Christ; God is our unseen companion, in life and in death.

Trinity Sunday is the only day of the entire church year that is devoted exclusively to a doctrine which is never mentioned by name in Scripture. Preachers must use caution and craft careful language to avoid the minefields of heresy. Our faith as Catholics is Trinitarian in nature all our prayers start and end in a Trinitarian way. It was in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit that the confessors endured persecution and the martyrs were willing to shed their blood. Inspired by this belief in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, missionaries spread the word to innumerable others. Indeed, had someone not shared the Good News with us, none of us would be here today.

The doctrine of the Trinity is, for this and for other reasons, serious business! And as is the case with all Christian doctrines, we can only begin to understand its true depth, complexity, and importance when viewed from the perspective of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. When we think about the Trinity abstractly, it is ever so easy to forget that the central tenet of our faith is not just that we are created by God, but that God walks among us, most fully in the person of Jesus, and also in the face of the stranger and the oppressed and the marginalized, and God leads us to new depths of faithfulness in the power of the Holy Spirit. In fact, this isn’t something that has happened in history; no, God is still, even at this very moment and in every moment, creating, walking among us, and leading us.

By the same measure, viewing the doctrine of the Trinity from the vantage point of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, it is impossible to understand the crucifixion apart from believing that it is God made human flesh in the person of Jesus by the power of the Spirit who dies on the cross and rises from the grave.

The Trinity gives us perhaps the most complete understanding of what God is like: God creates us purely out of God’s love and desire for relationship; relentlessly pursues us, even stepping in to offer to die so that we might live; and abides with us. The gospel reading of today we have Jesus commissioning the twelve disciples to go, preach, and baptise in the Trinitarian form. Jesus is also commissioning us all today to partake in the mission of the church and become part of the Trinitarian family. It is the duty of every baptised person to be a true missionary of the Gospel especially with the assurance we get from Jesus in the Gospel today that He will be with us up to the end of the world. May each of us, strengthened, purified, and nourished by that self-same God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in humility and boldness, say, “Here am I; send me.”

God as Trinity invites us to seek God in all things, in all people, in all time. In my experience, when we truly encounter the Divine, we no longer need words to explain or understand. We just know. And we gaze in wonder, fully present to ourselves and to God. ‘Here am I.

In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.