In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit
Today is Trinity Sunday
The word Trinity is not found in the Bible. Nor is homoousios which is the key concept that was agreed on at the first ecumenical council at Nicaea in 325. It affirmed that God the Son and God the Father are of the same substance. Later on at the council of Chalcedon (451) they came up with the formula which is similar to the long form of the creed (notably, the contended filioque was added in the 11th century). Where did these concepts come from? Philosophy, not Jesus. Jesus revealed only that he and we have a Father, and that there is a Holy Spirit. Well, there is the history lesson! Pretty boring, but it did come up with some important ideas. Father, Son, and Spirit—all divine Persons. In fact, the concept of person originated out of this huge debate about who God is, especially who Jesus is.
Why Should We Care?
Without a balanced view of all three persons of the Trinity, we can misinterpret the work of God in this world. For instance, if we emphasize some aspects of God in the Old Testament, and subordinate Jesus and the Spirit, then we come away with a picture of a god of wrath and judgment, who has little compassion. If we emphasize the person of Jesus to the exclusion of God the Father and the Holy Spirit, we miss out on the fact that God sent Jesus because “God so loved the world…” Finally, if we emphasize the Holy Spirit, and the charismatic experiences and gifts of the Spirit, it is easy to be all spiritual, aloof and disinterested in daily stuff.
We Learn Important Lessons From The Trinity
In the doctrine of the Trinity we find our model for community. As God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit relate to one another, demonstrate love for each other, and work in concert to accomplish the purpose of God in the world—we get the idea of community.
This idea of the relationship between Father, Son, and Spirit has been depicted by many Christian scholars using the term perichoresis. That’s another Greek word (imagine, homoousios and perichoresis all in one homily!!!) which means, literally, “dancing around.” Imagine, God the Father, Son, and Spirit — in a divine dance! Crazy stuff. What is even more crazy and wonderful is that we hear this same God of ours is at play everywhere in the world, delighting to be with the children of the men (Prov 8:31)!
What Does Trinity Mean to Me?
Well, we talked about going out on a date with God last week! We said that God wants to hook-up with us, because God loves us. In this mind-blowing relationship the Spirit makes Jesus present to us by the power of divine Love. By the power of divine Love we are led more deeply into a relationship with God our Father. By the power of divine Love, we become so united with Jesus that we become other Christs in the world. By the power of divine Love we become a person of God’s Love. This feast is significant—personally significant. I pray we enter more deeply into relationship with the Father, with the Son, and with the Holy spirit. Amen
I recall an explanation of the
Holy Trinity in the movie The Reluctant Saint. I didn't find the clip, just the whole move instead! It is worth the watch, otherwise listen to Joseph Cupertino explain the Trinity to the Bishop. Start at 45.30 and watch until 47.40. Enjoy ...