||Home > Church > 2013-05-30 11:58:44
Holy Trinity Sunday - 25 May, 2013
Prv 8:22-31; Rom 5:1-5; Jn 16:12-15
Mark Link in his Sunday Homilies has a wonderful story of a missionary from Africa, on his home-leave, came across a beautiful sundial. He thought to himself, “That sundial would be ideal for my villagers in Africa. I could use it to teach them to tell the time of the day.” The missionary bought the sundial, crated it and took it back to Africa. When the village chief saw it, he insisted that it be set up in the centre of the village. The villagers were thrilled with the sundial. They had never seen something so beautiful in their lives. They were even more thrilled when they learned how it worked. The missionary was delighted by everyone’s response to his sundial. He was totally unprepared for what happened a few days later. The people of the village got together and built a roof over the sundial to protect it from the rain and the sun! Well, I think the sundial is a lot like the Holy Trinity, and we Christians are a lot like the African villagers. The most beautiful revelation of our faith is the teaching about the Holy Trinity, namely, the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. But instead of putting the teaching to work in our daily lives, we have built a roof over it, just as the villagers did over their sundial. For many of us the Trinity seems of little practical value, when it comes to our daily lives. We treat it more like an ornament of our faith.
Today’s feast invites us to live in the awareness of the presence of the Triune God within us: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The mystery of the Holy Trinity, a doctrine enunciated by the ecumenical councils of Nicaea and Constantinople, is one of the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, and the greatest mystery of our Faith, namely, that there are three Divine Persons, sharing the same Divine Nature in one God. “There is one God, who has three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each person is God, yet there is still only one God”. We have the Father who is the creator, the Son who is the redeemer and the Holy Spirit who is the sanctifier and the counselor. The doctrine of three Persons in one God, equal in Divinity yet distinct in Person, is not explicitly spelt out in the Bible. Even the very word “Trinity” is not found in the Bible. But the doctrine of the Trinity underlies all major Christian feasts, including Christmas, the Epiphany, Good Friday, Easter, the Ascension and Pentecost. All the official prayers of the Church, including the Holy Mass and the sacraments, begin with an address to the Holy Trinity: “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” We are baptized, absolved of our sins and anointed in the name of the Blessed Trinity. Throughout the world, church bells can ring three times a day inviting Christians to pray to God the Father (the Provider); God the Son (the Savior); and God the Holy Spirit (the Sanctifier). We bless ourselves with the sign of the cross invoking the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and we conclude our prayers glorifying the Holy Trinity, saying “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.” Today’s readings convey the fundamental mystery that the Triune God reaches out in love to people, seeking the deepest communion.
Today’s readings from Proverbs, Romans, and John are all about "pouring out." God pours Self out in Word; God and Word pour out the Spirit to help us pour ourselves out; and the Spirit pours forth faith and strength and character. Instead of spelling out the doctrine of Holy Trinity, today’s readings summarize the effects of the Trinity in our daily lives. The Book of Proverbs reflects on Wisdom, a quality which that book identifies with God. St. Paul, in his Letter to the Romans, teaches us that we have peace with God the Father through Jesus Christ, and that the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. In today's Gospel, Jesus, the Son of God, mentions the role of the Holy Spirit, His close relationship with God the Father and what the Holy Spirit is going to do for us as we go about our daily tasks. God has revealed to us three separate functions that are carried out by the three Persons. He has told us that it is proper to attribute to God the Father the work of creation; to God the Son, the work of Redemption, of reconciliation and of healing, and to the Holy Spirit, the work of guidance in truth, in the work of teaching and in the work of sanctification. As the Father, God has brought forth the created universe and even our very selves. As God’s Son and our Brother, Jesus, He has made known a God Who hears our cries, Who cares, Who counts the hairs on our head and Who loves us so passionately as to become one of us, to suffer for our sins, to die that we may live. As Spirit, God remains with and within us as Paraclete: Guide, Advocate and Consoler.
St. Cyril, the teacher of the Slavs, tried to explain the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity using sun as an example. He said, "God the Father is that blazing sun. God the Son is its light and God the Holy Spirit is its heat — but there is only one sun. So there are three Persons in Holy Trinity but God is One and indivisible."
What do we learn for life from today’s liturgy? 1) We need to respect ourselves and respect others. Our conviction of the presence of the Triune God within us should help us to esteem ourselves as God’s holy dwelling place, behave well in His holy presence, and lead purer and holier lives, practicing acts of justice and charity. This Triune Presence should also encourage us to respect and honor others as "Temples of the Holy Spirit."
2) We need to be aware of God as the Source of our strength and courage. The awareness and conviction of the presence of God within us gives us the strength to face the manifold problems of life with Christian courage.
3) We need to see the Trinity as the model for our Christian families. We are created in love -- to be a community of loving persons, just as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are united in love. From the day we are baptized, we belong to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. How privileged we are to grow up in such a beautiful family! Hence, let us turn to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in prayer every day. Our families become truly Christian when we live in a relationship of love with God and with others.
4) We are called to become more like the Triune God through all our relationships. We are made in God’s image and likeness. Just as God is God only in a Trinitarian relationship, so we can be fully human only as one member of a relationship of three partners. The self needs to be in a horizontal relationship with all other people and in a vertical relationship with God. In that way our life becomes Trinitarian like that of God. Modern society follows the so-called “I-and-I” principle of unbridled individualism and the resulting consumerism. But the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity challenges us to adopt an "I-and-God-and-neighbor" principle. I am a Christian insofar as I live in a relationship of love with God and other people. Like God the Father, we are called upon to be productive and creative persons by contributing to the building up of the fabric of our family, our church, our community and our nation. Like God the Son, we are called upon to reconcile, to be peacemakers, to put back together that which has been broken, to restore what has been shattered. Like God the Holy Spirit, it is our task to uncover and teach truth and to dispel ignorance.
An English teacher of a 21-sophomore high school class put a small chalk dot on the blackboard. He then asked the class what it was. A few seconds passed and then someone said, "That is a chalk dot on the blackboard." The rest of the class seemed relieved that the obvious had been stated, and no one else had anything to say. "I'm surprised at you," the teacher told the class. "I did the same exercise yesterday with a group of kindergartners and they thought of 50 different things the chalk mark could be: an owl's eye, a cigar butt, the top of a telephone pole, a star, a pebble, a squashed bug, a rotten egg, a bird's eye, and so on." The older students had learned how to find a right answer, but had lost the ability to look for more than one right answer. The Holy Spirit helps us, in his wonderful Wisdom, to see more than we might have seen by ourselves. The Spirit's vision allows us wonderful options for expansion and new possibilities. It is the Spirit's Wisdom that reveals the Word to us. It is the Wisdom of the Spirit which shows us our sin, which guides us, which instructs us, which leads us in the way everlasting.