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Trinity Sunday




A story’s told that St. Augustine, the great philosopher and intellectual, was walking along the seashore one day when he saw a little boy playing in the sand, taking water from the sea in a small bucket and pouring it into a hole he had dug. Back the forth the boy went.

“What are you doing?” Augustine asked, “Do you think you can put the whole sea into that little hole?”

“No,” the little boy answered, “And neither can you put God into that small mind of yours no matter how smart you think you are.”

The story reminds us that our minds are limited before the mystery of God, even the smartest, most brilliant mind. God is beyond us. The Feast of the Holy Trinity is, first of all, a reminder of our limits before the mystery of God.

And yet, this feast also says that God invites us to know him, as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As Father, God is the creator of heaven and earth. All creation ultimately comes from God’s hand. Creation itself is God’s gift;  through the created world we come to know God.

God has also invited us to known him in Jesus Christ, who was born of Mary over two thousand years ago, who walked this earth and died on a cross, who rose from the dead and remains with us.  We have his words, his actions, his promises. He’s our Savior and Redeemer, a sign of God’s love;  he’s promised us life eternal..

The Holy Spirit also is God with us, within us, guiding us and our world to our common destiny.

Yet, though God reveals himself, we’re still like the little boy on the seashore. We’re looking at an unmeasured sea that we approach with the little buckets of our minds. We can’t grasp it all. Even the most accessible person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, remains a mystery to us.

Remember the story of the conversion of Paul the Apostle. Saui, the unbeliever, was on his way to the City of Damascus to persecute the followers of Jesus, when suddenly a blinding light throws him from his horse. “Who are you, Lord?” Paul cries out. “I am Jesus whom you persecute, “ the voice from the blinding light says.

Jesus Christ is like the blinding light of the sun. Yes, he is human like us, but he shares in the nature of God, who is brighter than sunlight. He blinds us when we try to see him. God dwells in light inaccessible, the scriptures say, and so even though we know much about Jesus, even though the scriptures and great saints and scholars describe him, he’s still beyond anything we can know.

Like the sun, Jesus is a blinding light, and yet, paradoxically, his light shines into the darkness of creation to give life and light.  St. John says: “No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.” (John 1,18)

As people of faith we’re not like those who say you can’t know God at all or like those who say God doesn’t exist because my mind cannot grasp him. Yes, we have to admit that we are children of the Enlightenment, that movement in our western world that says there’s no need to pay much attention to God. Pay attention to the world at hand. Pay attention to yourself. That’s what’s important.

As people of faith we know God is important. God reveals himself to us little by little. God is the most important reality we can know and love.

The Feast of the Holy Trinity is a reminder of God’s invitation to know him, to serve him in this life, to pray to him and to be with him one day where we will know him much more. It’s an invitation God extends every day, all our lives. Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Trinity Sunday

To listen to today’s homily, select the audio file below:

Last week we concluded the Easter season with the Feast of Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit. Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity, an appropriate conclusion to the liturgical time when God reveals himself as Father who created the world, as Son born of Mary, who suffered under Pontius Pilate, died and rose again, and as Holy Spirit come to complete the work of God among us. In the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity, we recall God’s revelation of himself–who he is– a “wondrous mystery” beyond our knowledge and expectation.

Remember where belief in the Trinity comes from. It’s not made up by human being like ourselves; it’s not something arrived at by human speculation or human reason. Belief in the Trinity comes from God, who reveals himself to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Our first reading from the Book of Deuteronomy recalls the beginning of that revelation in God’s revelation of himself to the Jews. God announces he is not only the Creator of all things, someone distant and unknowable. He draws near and wants to be known. He enters into human history to become intimately involved in the lives and destiny of his people. “I’m your provider, caregiver, father, mother, one who loves you as my own children,” God says. “I walk with you in your life and your trials, I argue with you when you question me, I forgive you when you sin, I promise you a kingdom.”

Read the psalms. You can hear the tender, intimate voice of God speaking to his people and revealing himself to them.

In the next step of revelation, God reveals himself in Jesus Christ. “This is my beloved Son,” God says at the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan. “My Father and I are one,” Jesus says in the gospels. In Jesus God takes a human face, a human mind, a human heart, a human history. He speaks to us in human words and actions, in cries and tears and sufferings and death and a profound love. In Jesus’ resurrection God shows us the path to life. We have the promise of eternal life in him.

The final revelation God makes is when he sends us the Holy Spirit. Jesus says the Spirit will teach us all truth. He will abide with us and gather all peoples from the ends of the earth to form one family of God. The Spirit will recreate the earth.

Sometimes you hear people say that belief in the Trinity is not important. The Moslem world, for instance, holds that God is One, only One. Others say that this belief is too much to understand.

Our belief in the Trinity is important. Why? Because God reveals himself to us this way. We may not understand it fully, but that’s because minds are limited and God is beyond what we can know.
This belief is not something we thought up; it’s God telling us who he is.

Yes, God is unknowable, but he calls us to know him. Yes, are words are inadequate, and yet we can put our belief in simple words and gestures. We can listen to God revealing himself in the scriptures and are blessed by God through this belief.

“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”