Fresh out of the seminary and newly ordained, with a degree in theology in hand, my first homily on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity was a total disaster. With all the knowledge gained over the years of studying, I thought it will be good to try explaining the Blessed Trinity, backed by St Augustine’s De Trinitate and Saint Thomas Aquinas’ Light of Faith, The Compendium of Theology, I made a go for it. How wrong I was! At the end of it all, I had the sense that the congregation was more confused than before with my 10-minute attempt to explain. Never have I taken that path again. There is a reason why the word “mystery” is often attached to the teachings on the Trinity – we will never grasp the full extent with our limited understanding.
Even though the Trinity is a concept that is hard to explain even to the believing mind, the Trinity is at the very heart of our faith and prayer. Every prayer begins and ends with calling on the Most Holy Trinity – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is probably the very first thing that Christian parents teach their children, that is, to make the sign of the cross invoking the Blessed Trinity.
Our Gospel today rightfully is not an attempt to explain the Most Holy Trinity whose feast we celebrate. In fact, the readings given to us this Sunday speaks of what it really means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. The starting premise for all disciples to keep in mind that in every moment of our lives, Jesus is with us (Mt 28:20). Addressing a group of fragile disciples, Jesus assures them of His continued presence and that His living presence will be felt by all as we go out on mission.
The missionary command of Jesus establishes a special relationship between Jesus and His disciples. In founding this command in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, all social and cultural boundaries are dissolved; ethnic and gender restrictions are lifted. Throughout His ministry, Jesus speaks of God as Father, indicating the intimate relationship that exists between them, and now the Holy Spirit, whose feast we celebrated last Sunday, as the ongoing presence of God within each of us.
The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in whose name we teach and baptise as Jesus reminded His disciple, points to the reality that we have a new relationship to God founded on the relationship of the Blessed Trinity which then nurtures our relationships with one another. Addressing God as our Father means not only that we have the privilege of being God’s sons and daughters but also reminds us that we are brothers and sisters. Accepting Jesus as the Son of God is not only a promise of salvation but also a commitment to follow His model of holiness – “Love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 15:12). Affirming that the Holy Spirit is God’s constant presence within us not only means we have the constant source of grace but to allow ourselves to be guided by the Spirit of God in all things and for all things in this world – “He will guide you to the truth” (Jn 16:13).
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity may not be intended for a fuller understanding of its theology (as I discovered many years ago) but it is certainly a reminder that God is our Father who loves us as His children, Jesus has shown us what it means to be a follower by calling us to love one another, and the Holy Spirit, who is in each of us, will continue to lead us in His way.
The opening greetings at Mass, “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit”, is the clearest reminder that the relationship between Father, Son, and Spirit is one of perpetual self-generating love. The Most Holy Trinity is the source of love, and we are called to live loving lives to make this love known. Blessed Trinity Sunday.
Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (30 May 2021)