December 15, 2017frjohnma

Readings: Exo. 34:4b-6.8-9; Resp. ps. Dan. 3; 2Cor. 13:11-13; John 3:16-18

I once had a spiritual director who was fond of asking the question: “What is your God like?”  He would then challenge me to go even deeper as he would continue to ask: “What does God feel like for you? What does He smell like? What does He taste like? What does He look like? What does He sound like for you?” Initially these questions seemed silly, and even difficult to answer.  Eventually they opened up for me a whole new way of perceiving God.  For instance, if you were to ask me: “What is your God like?”  I might say something like: “He is a real Father to me. He is a real brother and friend to me and He is a companion accompanying me and empowering me on my journey in life”

Today we have the great opportunity to reflect on the Most Holy Trinity. The doctrine that explicates what God is and who God is. We celebrate the most powerful language in heaven and on earth – Love. We celebrate our special trademark that distinguishes us from other religions. We celebrate the highest hierarchy of the Christian truth that says God is a communion of love, a being that is one in substance and of three unique persons.

It is taken for granted that we believe in the existence of God, after all we were made Christians by baptism in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19) and we individually professes the belief in God through the Creed, as we say “I believe in God.” However, what we believe in and who He is needs further explanation. We need to understand God, in order to understand ourselves. Note we were created in His image and likeness (Gen. 1:26). There are attributes in God that are in us. This celebration reveals such to us and for us.

The Trinity is about what God is (NATURE – ONE) and who He is (PERSONS – THREE DIVINE, Father, Son and Holy Spirit). These definitions express three crucial truths: (1) the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct divine Persons, inseparably united, equal in majesty, honour, glory and power (2) each Person is fully God (3) there is only one God (1+1+1=1 instead of 3). These three persons are not three Gods but they are distinct as they make up one God.

No doubt, the term Trinity is not explicitly found in the Bible, just as the term Bible is not explicitly found in the Bible, yet we accept all the contents of the bible. However, the Trinity was gradually revealed by God from the Old Testament through the New Testament as a communion or a unity of persons. For instance: our first reading and the Gospel present God as a Trinity, marked by an inter-relating mystery of Love. The first reading reveals God as a REAL FATHER who is merciful, gracious, abounding in love and faithfulness. God’s power is that of one whose love is unfathomable and whose kindness is infinite. It is the love of God that is all-powerful; it is the love of God that is almighty. Only God can love infinitely. And each time we ignore this and forget that God is love, we fabricate a false God. Until we discover that God is only love, we relate superficially to God out of interest or fear. In the Gospel reading Jesus came also to reveal God as love. Love that led Him to die for our sins and to redeem us from sin, death and final damnation.

With all these discoveries and realities about the nature of our God, what do we do? First, St. Paul in the second reading reminds us that God is a community of love and because we are created in His image and likeness (Gen. 1:26), we have his relational power. Therefore, we have the responsibility to reflect the love we have received from Him who is love by fostering a healthy relationship among ourselves. For us to make progress in the spiritual life we need to appreciate the relational power in us to communicate, to interact, to connect with others and engage in meaningful conversations. Unless we are community conscious or other-centred, the imprint of the Trinitarian character in us may remain dormant.

Secondly, the Trinity deserves to be worshipped in order for us to be influenced. “Experts in religion tell us that people always try to be like the god they worship. People who worship a warrior god tend to be warmongering, people who worship a god of pleasure tend to be pleasure-seeking, people who worship a god of wrath tend to be vengeful, and people who worship a god of love tend to be loving. Like a god, so the worshippers. Therefore, the more important question for us to ask today is: What does the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity tell us about the kind of God we worship and what does this say about the kind of people we should be? On this, I have the following points to share with you.”

God does not exist in solitary individualism but in a community of love and sharing. God is not a loner. This means that a Christian in search of Godliness, holiness, and perfection (Matthew 5:48) must shun every tendency to isolationism. The struggle for self-determination should not lead us to self-disintegration and self-destruction.  Self-determination that is not rooted in the community would not project the imprint of the Trinitarian character of God and that would amount to counter productivity. No man or woman is made to be an island unto his or herself. We are rather called to love and share. Hence, we have families, the Church and the society. The ideal Christian spirituality is not that of flight from the world like that of certain Buddhist monastic traditions where the quest for holiness means permanent withdrawal to the Himalayas away from contact and involvement with people and society. The Christian life to be honest is not based solely on private prayers, justice and virtues. It is also based and sustained in a community. Thus, we gather ritually around the Word of God and the breaking of the bread daily and unfailingly on Sundays.

More so, true love requires three partners. You remember the old saying “Two is company, three is a crowd.” The Trinity shows us that three is community, three is love at its best. Taking an example from the human condition we see that when a man A is in love with a woman B they seal the loving by producing a baby C. Father, mother and child — love when it is perfected becomes a trinity.

*Profession of the Trinity – the sign of the Cross, the Creed, the celebration of the sacraments and sacramental blessings given by Bishops, Priests and Deacons. The sign of the cross for instance is very significant in our faith. It is the summary of our Christian and Catholic faith. Therefore we are expected to make it consciously, reverently and never in a hurry. We make it by invoking the Blessed Trinity in this form: “In the name of the Father (touch forehead), and of the Son (touch breast), and of the Holy Spirit (touch left and right shoulders), Amen. More so, in making the sign of the cross the left hand should be laid across the breast and the sign should be made deliberately – not hurriedly, as is too often done.

Beginning and ending prayers in the Trinity – In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Not in Jesus name (Wrong interpretation of John 14:14).

Living a Trinitarian life – being creative as the Father, being compassionate as the Son and sanctifying like the Spirit.

As we reflect today on the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, that no one can explain adequately, I would like you to think of God’s plan for you. You were created in the image of God and since baptism you share in the love and life at the heart of the Trinity. How privileged we are! Don’t forget – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only- begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Prayer: Glory be to the Father…

God bless you!

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