Homily for Trinity Sunday 2021
Throughout history people have believed in many deities, numerous gods. The Jewish people were unique. God revealed Himself to them as one and only. We see that in today’s first reading from the Book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 4: “you must know now, and fix in your heart, that the LORD is God in the heavens above and on the earth below, and that there is no other.” This one God is the Creator. But God is not a clock-maker-god, as many people known as Deists thought. God did not simply create, wind creation up, and then step back, putting creation on a shelf and no longer caring about creation or being involved in it.
No, God is not simply a creator but a Father who cares about and for creation. God is intimately involved in creation. God does not ignore or reject creation. In this sense, God is for us, not against us.
God is so involved in creation that when sin led to its alienation, God did not destroy creation but entered into it more deeply. God took flesh and, in that way, became “Emmanuel,” or “God-with-us.” Through His Incarnation and Birth, God became one with creation to the point of even suffering the death that all flesh must undergo. But His death was not the end. Rather, it was a new beginning. He rose from the dead and promised, as we hear in today’s Gospel, the last verse of Matthew: “behold, I am with you always.”
God is with us always in the Most Blessed Sacrament, a mystery which we will celebrate next Sunday. But even that was not enough. At Pentecost, the feast we celebrated last Sunday, the Holy Spirit came into the world and entered into all the baptized, making them, as we hear in our second reading from Paul’s Letter to the Romans, true “children of God.” As Paul teaches elsewhere, we are “temples of the Spirit.” Now God dwells within us.
This is the great mystery of the Christian faith that we remember and celebrate today. God is for us, with us, and within us. This is the mystery of the One and Three: One God and Three Divine Persons.
Unfortunately, we tend to hear the word “mystery” and think of something that can be “solved.” If we get enough clues we will get to the “bottom” of it. The mysteries of our faith are very different. We will never get to the bottom of them. They are not problems that are to be solved. They are realities into which we can only go deeper and grow in appreciation but, on this side of eternity, never fully understand. They require humility and a sense of child-like wonder, rather than a “prove-it-to-me” attitude. This is faith, rather than proof. It requires accepting the revelation of One who loves us more than any human being can, rather than scientific analysis. Believing, rather than fully “seeing” or understanding.
Now all this may seem very esoteric or abstract and, perhaps, impractical. But our belief that God is One and God is Three, that God is a Communion of Love and not an assembly of isolated individuals, has profound and very practical implications for us.
In the first chapter of the first book of the Bible, Genesis, we read: “God created man in his image, in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them” (1: 27). In other words, human beings are made in the image of the Trinity. We are made to be a “communion of love” rather than an assembly of isolated individuals. We are made to be one without losing our distinct personalities.
The Lakota have a saying with which they end their prayers: “Mitakuye Oyasin” or “All My Relatives.” In other words, as human beings we are all related and connected. We are not disconnected individuals but a family. We are all God’s children, made in the image of the Creator who is One and Three.
This Communion of One and Three is the meaning of Love. It is why St. John can write in his First Letter that “God is Love.” God’s very nature as One and Three is Love.
Now we humans made in the image of Love itself need to be true to our nature. We are made by Love and for love. It is who we are and what we do.
Years ago, the author Malcolm Boyd wrote that the beginning of love or charity is, very simply, two words: “No Them.” In the Unity of the Trinity there is Diversity, but there is no “Them.” There is only “We” or “Us.”
We live in such a divided and polarized Church, nation, and world. We see other people as “Them” and not “Us.” Our celebration today reminds us that this is not what it means to be made in the image of God. For a true child of God, there is only “Us,” never “Them.”