May 22, 2016 — The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
One of the most overwhelming of all Church mysteries is that of the Holy Trinity. We are taught that although there is only one God, there are also three Persons in God. As we make the sign of the Cross we acknowledge those three: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This mystery was revealed to us by Christ and by Holy Scripture multiple times. Just prior to His Ascension into Heaven, the Lord said, “Go teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Note that Jesus said the name, not the names — singular, not plural.
In 1073, Pope Alexander II proclaimed that every day should be devoted to the honor and adoration of the Sacred Holy Trinity. Then in 1334 Pope John XXII declared that there would be an annual celebration of the Feast of the Holy Trinity to be held throughout the Church on the Sunday after Pentecost. Thus, this particular celebration has occurred on this day for almost 700 years.
All of our readings support and explain the Holy Trinity to us. Our First Reading is from the Book of Proverbs. Most scholars agree that today’s reading has the Son of God speaking to us. All divine revelation comes from Jesus Christ, as it was given to Him by God. In this passage He tells us Who and What He is, was, and always will be. Jesus declares in this reading, “When the Lord established the Heavens, I was there.” In the beginning of His Gospel St. John asserts, “In the beginning was the Word.” Therefore, we hear in our First Reading that the Holy Trinity, as best we can understand it, has been there from the beginning. Although They are three, They are One. God the Father has no origin. He came from no one. However, the Son is begotten by the Father; and the Holy Spirit comes from both the Father and the Son.
In St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, from where our Second Reading is drawn, St. Paul mentions each part of the Holy Trinity in his brief introduction. Paul tells us “…we hope in the glory of God.” We need to understand that the Greek word that is translated into “hope” more accurately meant “happy certainty.” There is no doubt in the hope that Paul proclaims, no questions, and for sure no uncertainty. This is the hope that is promised us by the Trinity.
Paul continues, saying, “…hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” God’s love is “poured” into us. We need to be aware acutely of God’s love for us, how it can fill us and sustain us. God’s love is communicated to us through the Holy Spirit. We all are blessed with the Holy Spirit within us, but we are also called to walk with the Spirit. Walking with the Spirit is the way we live out our lives as Disciples of Christ. There is the Trinity again — God pours the Holy Spirit into us so we can follow the Son as good stewards of His many graces.
In our Gospel Reading from the Gospel of John, Jesus admits that His teaching is not complete: “I have much more to tell you.” The rest of the story, you might say, comes to us from various sources, one of the most important of which is the Word, the Word that we hear through Holy Scripture. It is the Word that assures us in relation to the Holy Trinity and encourages us to embrace it and love it. Jesus promises us in regard to the Holy Spirit, “When he comes, the Spirit of truth will guide you to all truth.” Sometimes “truth” may seem abstract to us; of course, truth, like the Holy Trinity, has that element of mystery to it. That is where our faith comes in. If we believe and if we live in the way God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit have called us to live, we have every reason to hope, and every reason to find joy.