Trinity Sunday – A celebration of a fundamental mystery of our faith
The mystery of the Holy Trinity is celebrated today, the first Sunday after Pentecost. It is a mystery that Christians have been contemplating and trying to comprehend since the earliest days of the faith. We believe in a God who is One, yet we also claim that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. How can that be? Most religions simply say that there are many gods. Maybe there’s one high god in their system, but there are may others too. We Christians don’t agree. God is One. Yet there is a wondrous complexity to that One.
In the first reading today, we hear Moses reminding the Israelites of the history of their relationship with God. These are the children of the people who first left Egypt forty years earlier. Moses reminds them of the wonder of the fact that the same God who created the heavens and the earth has chosen them to be his special people, his special friends. More than that, he rescued them from slavery and now has led them through the desert to a land that will be their own. God cares about them and has given them a set of rules and guidelines that will allow them to live together in peace in their new homeland. God has chosen to enter into a relationship of love with humans. God will provide for his people as a parent provides for children.
The second reading, from the letter of St. Paul to the Romans, reminds us of the role of the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit, the holy breath of God, the Spirit of Love leads the children of God. But this relationship between humans and the divine Spirit is not one of slavery or coercion. There is no need to fear God who is Spirit. God calls us children. We are to think of God as a Father, a Dad, a Papa. With Jesus, the Son of God, the Word of God, we become heirs of the glory of God as we live the life to which we are called. All the wonders of a loving relationship are ours.
In the Gospel reading, we hear the end of St. Matthew’s account of the life of Jesus. Jesus calls his remaining eleven disciples to a mountaintop. There he commissions them to be apostles, the ones who will go out and tell the world what they have seen and heard: that the man Jesus, Son of God, has been “given all power in heaven and on earth.” He sends them forth to baptize people from all the world, bringing them into a relationship of love with the same God and Father who chose the Israelites so long ago. They are to baptize in the name – the power and authority – of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. He also promises that he will remain with them always, to the end of the age.
We live today in this love of God. Baptized into this relationship. Most of the time we are as conscious of it as a fish is of the water in which it lives. But the love of God surrounds us and permeates our being. Father Creator, Beloved Son, and Holy Spirit. One God, in a dancing trinity of love and relationship which catches us up into the dance.