The Most Holy Trinity, Year B
Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40
May 31, 2015
As a group of young children were preparing for Confirmation, the bishop had the opportunity to come and speak with the children. He was asking them questions about our faith and he came to a young girl who was quietly sitting in the back and asked her to explain the Trinity. The girl was afraid that if she gave the wrong answer, she might not be allowed to be confirmed. Nervously, she stood up and said, “No, bishop, I can’t. You see, it’s a mystery.”
The Trinity truly is a mystery. It is officially called a “mystery” of the Church. We struggle to understand the Trinity. God created us with the use of reason and we like to understand things and when we don’t understand, it can be troubling for us. We might equate not understanding with doubting. When we doubt, we might think we have lost our faith.
Today we hear how, when the disciples saw the Risen Jesus, they worshipped, but they doubted. They had never seen anyone rise from the dead before. So they wonder if it really was Jesus or were they imagining something? That’s their doubt but even with wondering how this could be, they realized they were in the presence of something wonderful and so they worshipped.
Today we celebrate “The Most Holy Trinity” but if you think I am going to explain the Trinity to you, I refer you back to the girl’s answer, “I can’t. You see, it’s a mystery.”
I emphasis “explain” because I don’t understand the details. I don’t know how the Trinity is one but I know it is one. I know that God is so awesome that I can’t expect to explain it all but when I recognize how awesome God is, I can believe.
We hear Moses describe some of the “awesomeness” of God. He speaks of how God spoke from the fire, how God set the Israelites free from the Egyptians. We can think of Jesus’ death and Resurrection for us. How could any being except for an awesome God who loves us enough to do these things?
God gives us the gift of reason to learn things. God gives us faith to believe in what we cannot understand. Are we willing to make the leap of faith?
When things are going well, we generally don’t question God. Say, if a loved one is sick and inexplicably gets better. We thank God and don’t question why. However, if instead of getting better our loved one gets worse, we ask why. That’s based on reason. Relying on the gift of faith, we find reason to trust in God even when we don’t understand.
Now, before it seems like I am completely avoiding talking about the Trinity, what do we know about the Trinity?
The Bible does not use the word “trinity” because that came later but that doesn’t mean we can’t find the Trinity in the Bible.
We see the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit all together as one at Jesus’ baptism. In Jesus’ farewell discourse in John’s Gospel, we hear Jesus speaks of how He and the Father are one, working together towards the same purpose. Jesus also speaks of how the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete will be sent by the Father and Him to continue to work of God. So clearly we hear of how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit work together.
We hear Jesus tell us of how we need all three as He sends out the disciples, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
The Bible also tells us of how we relate to God in the Trinity. Paul tells us of how, led by the Spirit of God we are children of God. As children, we call God Father but it is only by the Holy Spirit that we can know this.
The Holy Spirit gives us knowledge, understanding, and wisdom so that we can know God. This in turn helps us to see the “awesomeness” of God to make it possible for us to trust Him. I’ve being saying “awesomeness.” Another word might be “magnificence.” Yet another way of looking at it is “fear of the Lord” but it is not fear as to simply be afraid. It is “fear” in the sense of recognizing how great God is.
The Trinity is about relationship. First, the relationship between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, three yet perfectly united as one. In faith, we enter into relationship and the perfect love of God, three persons yet one God.