A Cycle – Feast of the Holy Trinity 23
The very first homily I remember hearing on this feast told me not to try to figure it out for it is a “mystery.” Three persons in one God. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, independent and yet completely one. It seemed this “mysterious trinity” could never be understood by me, but it was also clear it could not be explained by the priest either. As I grew older that message did not change but I did and I wondered why God told us through the Prophet Jeremiah “I will give you shepherds, after my own heart, who will feed you knowledge and give you understanding” (Jer.3:15). That passage made me realize the “shepherds” were not feeding me knowledge or giving me understanding.
Where were the shepherds like Paul who in his letter to Timothy said, “…consider what I am saying, for the Lord will give you understanding in all things”2Tim. 2:7). God does not want anything to be a mystery for us but to be something we can grasp and embrace eagerly. So, what do we know about the Trinity that is not so mysterious for us to grasp. Perhaps it is not God and the Trinity who is so mysterious it is our own motivations that are mysterious. It is what drives us, that deep desire from within us seeking to connect with God. That unknown force opening our hearts to realize what God desires to give us is both understandable and attainable. That force is the Holy Spirit, who prompts us and will reveal for us the meaning and purpose of our lives.
Why did God create us? Why do we exist? God is clear when He said, “He has prepared something for us to achieve each day of our lives and He gifted us to accomplish that task” (Ps.139:16). If we can understand why we exist, then the Trinity becomes easy to understand for it supplies all we need to fulfill God’s plan for our lives. So, our quest to understand the Trinity is a quest to understand who we are and why we exist. I believe understanding must come and does come if we only listen to God when He speaks to our hearts. Make no mistake about this fact for God does speak to us each day.
He speaks to us in our prayers, through songs, books, movies, the people who we interact with, through nature and in storms. Everything that exists can revel God’s desire to break into our lives and speak to us. Our problem is we only relate to God in ways which are comfortable for us. Think about the first time the disciples encountered Jesus they were doing something they did every day. They were fishing. In fact, they fished all night and caught nothing and were cleaning their nets. Jesus approached them and asked if they would allow Him to use their boats to speak to the people on the shore. After fishing all night, I can imagine their only desire at that moment was to go home, wash themselves and go to sleep.
Something we might consider is how God catches us off guard, interrupts us and challenges us to listen. We they allow Jesus to get in their boat and speak to the crowd. When He finishes speaking, He tells them to pull away from the shore and set out for the deep water and cast their nets. How futile that seemed but they complied. Another thing we can learn if we are going to listen to God is how what we hear is often something we think is futile and useless. The greatest challenge for us is to slow ourselves down and do something we find futile and uncomfortable for us to do. Each of us is different and yet God’s desire for us is the same and that is to allow Him to love us into wholeness.
If we can make those first moves and recognize it is the Spirit prompting us to go out into the deep and cast our nets, then we can begin to comprehend not only the Trinity but the glorious heritage to which we belong as sons and daughters. Those first promptings will lead us to Jesus. Then Jesus will reveal to us the reality of how hard we are trying to be holy and how we deceive ourselves into thinking we are living according to God’s will.
In truth, we are striving to be holy according to a standard we have concluded is acceptable to God. Jesus will reveal to us how His passion, His death and His resurrection is what makes holiness possible for us. How His death on the cross removed the barrier of sin between us and God. Our response should be to give thanks for the gift of redemption and not to discover how to respond to God’s invitation to call Him “Abba.” We need to allow the Spirit to change us by transforming our hearts, so we desire more of God’s love.
Jesus tells us He will show us the Father and all He said the Father told Him. Jesus because He was human, is relatable for us and we can easily be in His presence. Jesus, however, will send us the Spirit who will reveal everything Jesus ever did and ever said and will give us understanding. The Spirit according to Jesus will glorify Him and Jesus will glorify the Father. If you want to understand the Trinity, it begins with an uncomfortable journey, by us stepping out of our comfortable practice of our faith and into a place of dependency on God to mold us and shape us.
When God shapes us, He sends the Spirit to us to change us, teach us and gift us with knowledge and understanding. When the Spirit guides us, we can clearly grasp the gift of Jesus, the Lamb of God and how His words and actions show us the Father. As we pray to Jesus the Father receives the prayer and the Spirit animates our prayer. As we seek the presence of Jesus it is the Spirit that is present to us opening us up to encounter Jesus and respond to His voice. As we respond to the Spirit, the love of God is poured into our hearts.
Each step of this journey is made with the entirety of the Trinity involved, despite our lack of knowledge about any of them.
Trinity Sunday is not so mysterious as we believe, if only we begin to believe God’s plan for us is to begin a life of intimacy with Him. Then we will sit with all of them and grasp the love they share with one another is lavished upon us.