It is said that Trinity Sunday is every preacher’s nightmare. It does not have to be because while the Trinity may be the most profound mystery of our faith, the feast is more of a celebration of the nearness rather than the remoteness of God.
The story of salvation recorded in the Scripture unfolds the gradual awakening of man to God’s unimaginable plan to enter into an intimate relationship with him. We see this in today’s readings. In the first reading, Moses is totally overwhelmed by the graciousness of God who deigns to speak directly to Israel, pick them out from among the nations, make them his own people, and save them from Egypt (the superpower then) with signs and wonders… Moses could only ask, “Did anything so great ever happen before? Was it ever heard of?”
In the second reading the amazement of Moses is exceeded by that of Paul who writes that because we have received the Holy Spirit, “we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.” Through the Spirit, we can truly call God, “Abba, Father.”
In the gospel, Jesus commissions his apostles before ascending to heaven, “Go… and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…” This passage contains the most explicit scriptural citation of the Trinitarian God. The same passage is also the source of the formula for baptism. The Church strictly maintains that only the Trinitarian form (I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit) is valid for baptism. Baptism in the name of Jesus or any other form is not valid.
Why? I would not enter into any theological discussion (I’m no theologian). But it makes sense to think that if baptism brings us into the inner life of God, it is only proper that this life be clearly articulated as the life of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We are not only God’s people (first reading). We are his children and co-heirs with Christ (second reading) because through baptism God makes us participate in His Trinitarian life. (gospel) This is what we celebrate on Trinity Sunday. Like Moses, we can only say, “Did anything so great ever happen before? Was it ever heard of?”
The dogma of the Blessed Trinity is definitely the most important and fundamental truth of our faith. But what is its relevance? How can it impact on my life? My simple suggestion is: Live the mystery of the Trinity. Let the mystery be ever alive in your head (consciousness), in your heart and in your hands (actions).
The mystery of the Trinity is a reminder of how close God is to us. In fact, he is in us. St. Augustine regretted that for too long he had searched for God outside, when all the while God was within him. How different our life would be if we live in the abiding presence of the Triune God. There would be no room for fear and anxiety, only joy and serenity.
I love the story about the boy who found an old man peering into the bottom of a well. “Who lives there?” the boy asked. “God,” the man replied. “Can I see him?” “Sure.” The old man lifted the boy so he could lean over the well. “But I see only myself,” said the boy. “Now, you know where God lives,” responded the old man.
To keep the mystery of the Trinity alive in our heart is to live God’s own life of love. In this regard, Pope Benedict XVI gives us a powerful insight. “The strongest proof that we are made in the image of the Trinity is this: love alone makes us happy because we live in a relationship, and we live to love and be loved.” Indeed, to live is to love and be loved because life is God’s, and God is love. Today’s feast has much to teach us about relationships, friendships, marriages, families, communities.
Finally, sharing in the life of the Trinity is sharing in God’s work of creation, redemption and sanctification. A true good cannot be contained; it naturally spills out and shares itself. Thus, God, who is the highest Good, created man and the world so he could share his life and goodness. Likewise, we who have received such life and goodness are called to do the same. To live the mystery of the Trinity is to answer the call of mission to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”*