THEME: THE HOLY TRINITY: A LOVE COMMUNITY
1st Reading: Proverbs 8:22-31; 2nd Reading: Romans 5:1-5; Gospel: John 16:12-15.
Today, the Universal Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. The Doctrine of the Trinity (TRINITAS), which was first used in Christian Theology by Tertullian (AD 160–220) signifies the central and quintessential dogma of the Christian religion. It is the fundamental beliefs and the most sublime in all of Christianity. It holds that: “there is One Eternal God who exists in three Divine Persons – Father (Creator), and the Son (Redeemer) and the Holy Spirit (Sanctifier).” These three Divine Persons live in perfect unity and communion with each other, which is bond by LOVE.
Meanwhile, our knowledge of God as humans is limited due to the mystery of His Divine nature. As a matter of fact, no one has ever seen God, but through faith many people believe in the existence of One God. However, the notion of three Divine Persons (hypostasis in Greek) in One God is a profound mystery that is beyond human comprehension. Nevertheless, we can only deduce this nature of God through the revelations we get from Jesus Christ, through the scriptures. Although the relationship of the TRINITY is a mystery, but we can make references through these Biblical quotations (please tap on the Bible verses to view): Gen. 1:26, Gen. 2:7, John 10:30, Luke 1:35, John 1:1, John 14:23, John 14:9-11, Matt. 28:18-20, 2Cor.13:14, etc.
However, many people do not see the importance and significance in their lives, or in the world. Moreover, the real crux of the matter for some persons in the early Christianity was this: how can Christians witness the presence of God, which they experience in Jesus the Christ, and still maintain their belief in God as one? Since Christianity is firmly rooted in Judaism and is a monotheistic religion and not a polytheistic religion, the struggle has always been to articulate the faith that Jesus is the Christ (anointed one) of God and at the same time to maintain that there is only one God.
Surprisingly, the incomprehensibility in the notion of the Trinity engendered heretical assumptions by some Christian bishops, Priests and theologians like Arius (256-336 AD): “that Jesus Christ is not God and not of the same Substance with the Father; and the Holy Spirit is of lower rank than the Father and the Son.” For them, it would appear as if there are 3 different Gods that have operated in different eras in the history of humanity. Consequently, the COUNCILS OF NICAEA (325AD) and CONSTANTINOPLE (381AD) were convoked in order to resolve and affirm the natures of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit respectively. Hence, these brought forth the definition and formulation of the Doctrine of the Nicene Creed (or Apostles Creed) which we profess in the Church today.
THE IMPORTANCE AND SIGNIFICANCE OF THE HOLY TRINITY TO HUMANITY.
The Trinitarian God has been working together as one God throughout the history of the world. However, in the scriptures, one may observe that the Old Testament seems to be the era of the Father, early first century AD of the New Testament seems to be the era of the Son, and after Jesus Christ ascended into Heaven, also from the Apostolic era to our contemporary era seems to be the era of the Holy Spirit.
Certainly, this was made possible due to the Love that exists among the triune God. For out Love, God never allowed humanity to perish after the fall of Adam, rather He sent His only begotten Son to reconcile humanity back to His friendship. So that, anyone who believes in Jesus Christ, and thus, is baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and then keeps His commands, will be saved (Matthew 28:19). This is the wisdom of God which He has hidden from the mind of humanity as enunciated in the first reading. For Juicy fruits flow from docility to wisdom’s instruction on genuine love. No wonder St. Irenaeus opined that Jesus and Holy Spirit (Word & Wisdom) are the two Hands of God working in creation process.
Furthermore, Jesus Christ also gave His disciples a glimpse of the relationship that exists among the trinity when he told Philip: “…to see me is to have seen the Father… I am in the Father and the Father is in me (John.14:9-10).” Also, “I and my father are one” (John. 10:30). He further affirmed this in today’s gospel: “When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own, but will speak whatever He hears, and will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because He will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that He will take what is mine and declare it to you” (John 16:13-15).
Undoubtedly, it is the Holy Trinity that fortifies and consoles us whenever we are suffering or passing through difficulties in life. For St. Paul averred this in the second reading, that “through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us” (Romans 5:1-5).
As human beings, we come from different backgrounds and cultures, with different temperaments and opinions, and belong to various groups by birth or affinity. These differences, in human considerations alone, give rise to rivalry, jealousy, competitiveness, discord and conflict. But as Christians, we are called to take the Holy Trinity as the model for our interpersonal relationships.
Our differences, instead of being a cause of division, become a richness to be accepted, encouraged and celebrated. Our varying gifts become charisms to be used in collaboration with others, for the good of all. For what makes us the children of God according to St. Paul is the Spirit of God in us (Romans 8:16), which binds us in Love and Communion with one another; just as the TRINITY are bond by LOVE and live as United Family or in Perfect Communion with one another.
Finally, the trinity is the unity and communion of the Triune Godhead as three distinct yet interdependent persons. A community of love that extends God’s love to humanity. So, when the doctrine of the Trinity says that one God exists in three Persons, it means that God is a Community of three Persons in a relationship of love. The Father loves the Son in communion with the Holy Spirit. The Son loves the Father in communion with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit loves the Father and the Son. Therefore, although we have different faces, characters, nations, but we are all created in the image and likeness of one eternal God. Our calling is for a purpose: to be in Communion with God, living in peace and unity with one another, and then bearing good fruits that will foster good community living, which is bond by LOVE.
May the Love that bond the Holy Trinity together envelope and bind you and family, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Peace of Christ be with you…
Rev. Fr. Ben Okala, C.S.Sp.
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