THEME: ONE GOD, THREE PERSONS
READINGS: Exodus 34:4-6, 8-9/ 2 Cor. 13:11-13/ John 3:16-18
Solemnity of Holy Trinity
BBC has an advert which runs like this: ‘The world is a big place and your radio is small, only BBC can put the world in your radio.’ Similarly, one could say that ‘God is big and our human mind is small, only faith (like BBC) can put God in our mind!’
The mystery of God far surpasses the capacity of the human mind such that it had to be revealed gradually to us. It is like receiving a long SMS text message, with only part of it initially showing; and later on getting the full message. Thus, the Letter to the Hebrews says: ‘God has spoken in the past to our ancestors through the prophets in many different ways, although never completely, but in our times he has spoken definitively to us through his Son’ (Heb. 1:1-2). It is in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, that we have the full message that God, though One, is Three Persons: Father and Son and Holy Spirit.
We may illustrate the mystery of the Trinity with the following:
- AN EGG: As the shell, the white substance and the yoke make up an egg, so the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are together one God.
- HUMAN BEING: As a redeemed person is made up of the body, soul and spirit, so the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are together one God.
But the above and all other illustrations have their limitations, because God is far greater than any created thing or human imagination or intellect:
- In the case of an egg, while the shell alone or the white substance alone or the yoke alone is not a full egg, in the case of the Trinity, the Father alone is God, the Son alone is God and the Holy Spirit alone is God.
- In the case of the human person, while the body alone or the soul alone or the spirit alone cannot be called a human being, in the case of the Trinity, the Father alone is God, the Son alone is God and the Holy Spirit alone is God. This is awesome! Indeed, God is God!
The Nature of the Mystery of the Trinity:
The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are equal in divinity, power, majesty, knowledge, etc. Hence, with regard to their divinity, for instance, we professed every Sunday:
- ‘God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God’. That is, the Father and the Son are equally divine.
- ‘I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life… who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified.’ That is, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all worthy of worship; for they are equally divine.
The only distinction is in the area of their Persons: the Father as a Person is distinct from the Son and the Holy Spirit; in short, Three Persons are mutually distinct from each other; yet, as said already, all Three Persons are One God.
Some Practical Lessons:
- Let us consciously make the sign of the cross, which is an expression of our faith in the Holy Trinity; and in public, let us do so confidently. Those of us who feel shy to make the sign of the cross in public should be encouraged by those footballers, who in the full view of thousands of spectators in the stadium and millions of TV viewers across the globe, make the sign of the cross.
- Since God is One and yet Three Persons, a mystery beyond our comprehension, we should be conscious of and acknowledge His awesomeness. Even the prophet Isaiah, who had no knowledge of the mystery of the Trinity, was awe-struck when, in a vision, he experienced the thrice-holy God. When he experienced the ‘holy, holy, holy! The Lord Almighty’, the prophet confessed his unworthiness (Isaiah 6:1-6). Yes, indeed, with the full revelation we have received in Jesus Christ, we can say: Holy to the Father, Holy to the Son, and Holy to the Spirit!
- Thirdly, learning from the Holy Trinity, we should endeavour to live and work in love and unity in:
- Our family, which is trinitarian (father + mother + child);
- Our church (clergy + religious + laity).
Conclusion: I wish to conclude with a threefold prayer:
- May God the Father of Creation and Providence provide for all our needs; amen!
- May Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, surround us with the precious blood of eternal redemption; amen!
- May the Holy Spirit sanctify us and sustain us unto everlasting life; amen!
By Very Rev. Fr. John Louis