Trinity, Year C
Psalm 8:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
May 22, 2016
One day St. Augustine was walking along the seashore as he reflected on the Trinity. He came upon a young boy who was digging a hole in the sand. The boy then used his pail to get water from the ocean to pour into the hole.
St. Augustine asked the young boy what he was trying to do. The boy said that he was going to pour the entire ocean into hole he had dug. St. Augustine told him he couldn’t possibly do that. The young boy responded “And you cannot fit the mystery of the Holy Trinity into your small brain.” After that, the boy disappeared.
Today we celebrate “The Most Holy Trinity.” In past homilies I have tried to explain the Trinity but, of course, this is never easy. Do we really expect to be able to fully describe God in human words?
The Trinity is a “basic” part of our faith. It’s in our creed as we speak of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We profess that Jesus became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.
Wait, how was Jesus first incarnate by the Holy Spirit and then the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son? It is a mystery. It is our faith.
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three persons yet one God united in perfect communion.
We seek the peace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We seek the love of God which is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus and the Holy Spirit work to lead us to the Father.
Jesus came to teach us and He had much more to tell his disciples but He knew they could not bear it all. So, Jesus assures them that Holy Spirit will come after him and continue to teach them in continuity with what Jesus has been teaching.
As Jesus puts it the Holy Spirit “will not speak on his own but he will speak what he hears.” Jesus did not come to start something completely new and neither does the Holy Spirit.
Jesus comes to do the Father’s Will and so does the Holy Spirit. They are three persons who we relate in different ways but they are united with one Will as one God.
Depending on what we are praying about, our prayers might be directed to the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit but even so, we begin and end our prayers with the Sign of the Cross, calling upon all three; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We can use images like the three-leaf clover to try to explain the Trinity but we will never fully understand it while we live in this world.
We aren’t going to understand how they are three persons and one God. We are just human beings.
So, if we can’t fully understand it, why talk about it? First, we need to know that “faith” is defined as ‘believing in what cannot be proven.’ If we could know for certain, we won’t need faith.
We need to talk about it because the nature of Trinity does reveal something to us.
Some people today see everything as all about them. You ask them to do something and they want to know what’s in it for them. If they have nothing to gain by it, they see no point in it.
Jesus had nothing to gain for himself by what He does for us. Likewise, the Holy Spirit does not gain for itself.
Jesus and Holy Spirit act in accord with the Father’s Will for our gain. All three work together for our gain.
So, in looking at the Trinity, we see an example we need to follow. We need to give up our self-centeredness. We need to stop thinking we know everything. We need to work together to help each other. We need to trust that God knows better than us.
We need to be about doing the Father’s Will. That’s what I am trying to do as I prepare to leave for another assignment.
We need to trust in God. That’s what you need to do as the new pastor arrives.
The Trinity is a mystery that reveals what it means to be in communion, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.