Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
Since you are children of God, God has sent into your hearts the Spirit of His Son, the Spirit who cries out: Abba, Father. (Gal 4:6; Communion Antiphon)
Each year, the Sunday following the Solemnity of Pentecost commemorates the Mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity, the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the Mystery of God Himself (Catechism of the Catholic Church 234). The Catechism teaches that “by sending his only Son and the Spirit of Love in the fullness of time, God has revealed his innermost secret: God Himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and He has destined us to share in that exchange” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 221). This innermost secret is what Jesus, the Son of God, has made known to us: “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (Jn 15:15). As the central mystery of Christian faith and life, the Mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity reveals to us the truth about God and the truth about man, the human person created in God’s image and likeness. By worshiping the Trinity we realize the full truth about ourselves. For this reason, the worship of God in the profession of the true faith is the surest guarantee of a life of meaningful purpose.
Who is this God? Does it matter what we call Him? Does it matter how we address this God? We take our Lord’s words at face value: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:18-20). There is no ambiguity in these words. It is therefore wrong to assert or even to insinuate that all religions worship the same God. This is an error that has become prevalent in our time and one that has given rise not only to religious relativism but also to religious indifference. It seems that the only form of belief tolerated by an increasingly secular world is a generic theism, “a vague and impotent theism” (Henri Cardinal de Lubac). In other words, an inconsequential belief in God that is at best notional.
Throughout history, especially through the witness of her saints and martyrs, the Church has endeavoured to remain faithful to our Lord’s divine mandate; and the evidence of history clearly illustrates that the darkness of paganism and the horrors of anti-humanism were dispelled by the radiance of Christian truth. One example suffices to illustrate the power of divine truth; first communicated to the Jewish people and completely revealed in Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. Among all the ancient peoples only the Hebrews prohibited the public display of executed corpses (Deut 21:23) because an atrocity inflicted on the living image of God is an offence against God. Unless our ethnic heritage is Jewish, all of us are descendants of peoples and tribes that were at one time pagan. Pagan tribes felt no compunction about torturing and desecrating the cadavers of members of another collectivity. The Romans, we well know, used crucifixion, a cruel form of execution meant to humiliate victims before and after their death. The Christian West summoned the pagans (our ancestors for the most part) out of pre-history on the authority of a God whose love extends to every individual, so that as individuals they might abandon the collective identity of the tribe and instead embrace an individual identity as a child of God (David P. Goldman, “Syria’s Madness and Ours” in Front Page Magazine, May 2013) begotten in grace through Baptism. This theological truth is at the heart of the transformation of the West and indeed other cultures as well; from violent, barbaric collectives to what we rightly define as civilized. At the heart of this transformation is belief in a God whom we call Father, a God who loves, who abhors violence. This truth is more than implied in words we have just heard in our second reading: “When we cry, ‘Abba! Father’! it is the very spirit bearing witness that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ” (Rom 8:15-17).
In the face of so much confusion about the nature and purpose of human life, and the very value of human life, perhaps as at no other time, our society and culture and the world at large need to hear the voice of the Church, teaching the truth about God and the truth about man created in the divine image. We must proclaim this truth fearlessly and with conviction. The Mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity, the central mystery of Christian faith and life, challenges us to live as persons who are revealing, loving and sharing. To live in this manner is to live in communion; to know and appreciate others and to know ourselves, for we can only define ourselves by living in our relationships; rightly ordered and based in truth. For this reason the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of faith and life. The Feast of the Most Holy Trinity celebrates the truth about God Himself and invites us who worship this wondrous Mystery to perceive in it the logic of our very lives. It is Christ our Lord who by His Cross has made this Mystery known to mankind; and the Holy Spirit continues to do this through the hearts of all who believe. This Mystery is not an abstraction but the source and destiny of all that is.
So we offer our worship to the Triune God through our Lord Jesus Christ, who calls us friends; and we ask that by the power of the Holy Spirit all nations and peoples may come to the knowledge of the true God. Through our sacred worship we “acknowledge today and take to heart that the Lord is God in heaven above and on earth beneath; there is no other” (Dt 4:39). May our faithful discipleship be a clear and bold proclamation of this truth for this truth is His merciful love.