Friday, 24 May 2013

Solemnity of the Holy Trinity

Our blogger is away this weekend for a wedding. Thus we have a reflection for Sunday’s feat a wee bit early.

Please pray for Toby and Jenni who will celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage with each other on this splendid feast.

A topic that will strike fear in the heart of preachers is the Trinity. We experience a real poverty of language when we come to trying to give insights into mystery. Maybe we try too hard. Maybe we try to explain mystery and then get frustrated when words aren’t enough. But we know something of this mystery because we experience something of it. Let me try and explain

The Trinity is not some kind of intellectual speculation by scholars. It is the way we experience God in this world. To “go to church and be good to each other” is the Trinity in action!

First, long ago, human beings learned that there is only one God, and that he “takes delight in the human race.” Think of the many, many stories in the Old Testament about God’s pursuit of us, his labouring to make a loving and holy covenant with us: “I will be your God and you will be my people.” Like a marriage agreement.

Well, God became, by turns, angry, hurt, delighted, spurned, glorified, ignored, praised and rejected. Yet he kept coming back and back to renew the covenant. God's love remained steadfast.

Then we found out that God’s nature had always had another component. God had not been alone or lonely, like a rock in the desert. His very nature has always been to relate to others, to “pour himself forth,” as the First Reading puts it, and to receive back. The “Second Person” has been at one with the “First Person” for all eternity.

This Second Person, the Word, was made flesh. We saw him. Jesus laughed and cried and preached and turned over tables and cured people, and was loyal to his friends even to the end. “Everything that the Father has is mine,” he said (Gospel). That’s how we knew he was The Word and the Word was God.

Then came a third revelation about the Trinity. Jesus hints about it in the Gospel: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.” In other words, our small souls would burst with the greatness of God—unless part of God ‘gentled’ himself down and began to dwell within us, to guide our understanding. So Jesus promised to pour out the Holy Spirit into us.

Jesus tells us that the Spirit is God. “Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he [God the Spirit] will take from what is mine and declare it to you.”

Do you get the logic? Everything the Father has belongs to the Word. Everything that Jesus the Word has belongs to the Spirit. Thus, the Spirit is the third part of God, and that Spirit bestows us and the whole earth back upon the Father, thus closing the circle.

What aliveness, what movement there is in God: speaking, reaching out, flowing forth, receiving back. God is liquid motion, a dynamism in which everything is changing always, yet remains always secure because it is rooted in love—because it is love. We are invited into that circle of love.

Too theoretical? Allow me to put it more simply. Do you suffer? God invites you meld that pain into the Trinity’s unending love. Do you lack hope? The Christ who rose from death is within you. Are you abandoned? Remember that the one God in three persons embraces you with tender affection and asks you to melt into his arms.

Happy Feast! 


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