Fr. Bryan Howard
Trinity Sunday – Year B – 27 May 2018
One of the things that sets Christians apart from all other religions is that we believe in the Most Holy Trinity. We believe that there is one God, but that God is a Trinity of three persons united in one nature. This is a mystery that is simply beyond our understanding. We won’t ever completely understand the Trinity because God is infinite, and we aren’t. We can, however, understand more than we do right now.
The reason it’s so hard to understand that Trinity is because we’ve never experienced anything like it in our lives. There’s nothing in the world that is both three and one at the same time. So, we’ve tried to make analogies to help ourselves understand. The Trinity is sort of like a three leaf clover. There are three leaves, but it’s one plant. Or, like these three rings melded together, right here in front of the altar. There are three equal rings, but it’s one object. There’s a problem with these analogies, though. One leaf of a three leaf clover is only one part of the plant, and one of these rings is only one part of the object, because there physical objects. God is spirit. God the Father is not 1/3 of God, He IS God. God the Son is God, and God the Holy Spirit is God.
So, if the Father is God and the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God, does that mean that we worship three God’s? No, we don’t. They are also perfectly united. There’s another analogy to help us understand. We’ll never have a perfect explanation of the Trinity, but this is the best one we have right now, at least until we get to heaven and see God face to face. God is like a family. A husband gives himself to his wife totally and completely out of love for her. His wife receives that gift of love and, in turn, gives herself totally and complete to him out of love. The result of this gift of love is that, nine months later, you have to give it a name. The love of husband and wife results in a third person being added to the family
In the Trinity, God the Father is eternally giving all of Himself to the Son, and the Son is receiving this gift of love and eternally giving all of Himself back to the Father, and this eternal exchange of love is the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. This is why the family is so important. The love that is shared between members of a family is meant to remind us of the love of God Himself, and to teach us that God Himself is a family. If God is a family, then He is inviting us to become members of His family.
In the second reading St. Paul tells us, “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a Spirit of adoption, through whom we cry, ‘Abba, Father!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.” Brothers and sisters through Jesus Christ we are children of God and heirs of God, heirs with Christ. Our inheritance is the glory of God in the Kingdom of heaven.
Today we’re not just celebrating that God is a Trinity, but that God is love, and that He is inviting us to live in His love as His children. The Bible says that “eye has not seen and ear has not heard what God has prepared for those who love Him.” How could we have possibly imagined that God would call us to rise above our lowly state to become children of God. We sometimes think of heaven as a place where all of our wants and desires are given to us, where we have the best food and drink and all of our dreams come true, but if we can imagine it, then it’s less than what God as prepared for us, if only we trust Him.
You may have noticed that I quoted all of the second reading except the last two lines, which say this, “If only we suffer with Him, so that we may also be glorified with Him.” Jesus came to make us children of God and to teach us how to BE a child of God, and He showed His love to us through the Cross. Love means being willing to pour yourself out for another person, and that’s something else that we learn as a member of a family: total, selfless, unconditional love. Today, as you come forward to receive Communion, ask the Lord to help you to love the people around you a little bit better, so that we can grow together as one family in Christ.
Fr. Bryan was pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes from July 3, 2017 to June 2022.