+In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Today is the first Sunday after Pentecost. Commonly known in the Catholic liturgical calendar as The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, or simply Trinity Sunday. It is on this day that we wonder and reflect on the greatest mystery of our Christian faith- the three distinct divine personages of God, the Son and Holy Spirit.
In fact each time we begin prayer, we offer up worship and respect- in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps done so often, we unconsciously solidify the foundation of Christian faith and tradition that separates us apart. Yet there are many of us, and rightly so, who do not understand this concept. Before anything however, we must understand that God chooses to remain an incomprehensible mystery to us and reveal himself to us in prayer, meditation and contemplation. After all, all human knowing and acting takes place within the encompassing mystery that is God. We cannot hope to understand and explain these things, as our faith is exactly that- our faith. “For we live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7) And scripture reminds us that “faith is a confidence of things hoped for and the assurance about things we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)
On this day we recall the ancient Athanasian Creed- that “we worship one God in the Trinity, neither confounding the Persons nor dividing the Essence… all three uncreated and all three eternal with no beginning.” Perhaps more rooted in doctrinal concept than biblical per se, we believe and confess that God is three in the Blessed Trinity.
We can find support for this in The Bible. Jesus tells us to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19) Saint Paul throughout scripture blesses us with the three personages- “May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14) In fact, surprisingly in the very beginning- “..God said, let us make man in our image, our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26) God reflecting on the knowledge and awareness of the Trinity.
The Gospel of John gives us more insight into the Trinity. “In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God, and was God. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:1-3) “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) “For no one has seen God, but the one and only Son, who himself is God” (John 1:18).
In these ways we can come to understand that God and the Son and the Holy Spirit, though one- are three. Some come to interpret this as God is the Father of all creation– living being omnipotent and omnipresent, being with us here and now, and not somewhere out there. That the Son, Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh- to have been among us to experience His creation, suffer with us and for us and to be our Redeemer. “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). That the Holy Spirit is God in action- sustaining us, surrounding us and uniting us (Psalm 104:30) and breathed out upon us by Jesus Christ- “receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:22)
So then, we celebrate the wisdom and glory that is God- that is one, yet three in the mystery and majesty of the Holy Trinity!
Let us close with the prayer for Trinity Sunday. “It is fitting, right, our obligation and duty, that we should always and everywhere gives thanks and praise to you, the Lord, Holy Father, almighty, everlasting God. For with your co-eternal Son and Holy Spirit. you are one God, one Lord, in Trinity of Persons and in Unity of Being; and we celebrate the one and equal glory of you, O Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Therefore with angels and archangels, and with all the redeemed in heaven, we proclaim and magnify your glorious name, forever praising you. Amen” (The Old Catholic Apostolic Church of North America Sacramentary. (c) 2012. p.149)