The Solemnity of the Holy Trinity
[Scripture Readings: Ex 34:4-6, 8-9; 2 Cor 13:11-13; Jn 3:16-18]
Strolling along the beach is the thing to do these days. At one time it was the exercise of a saint who later would become a Doctor of the Church. One day, while pondering the mysteries of the life of the Catholic Church and especially of the most Blessed Trinity, he discovered a child putting water from the sea into a hole he had dug in the sand. “What are you trying to do?” he asked. “I want to empty the water out there into this hole in the sand.” “Get hold of yourself, lad, you’ll never be able to pull it off.” “Even so. But I’ll be able to do this sooner than you’ll be able to understand in this life the mystery of the Holy Trinity.” Out of the mouth of children God can receive praise.
The Paschal Season has ended and now we begin the longest stretch of the liturgical year with Sundays in Ordinary Time. After the descent of the Holy Spirit on that day began the preaching, belief, and confession in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The term “Trinity,” that is, one God in three Persons, was not used until the fourth century. Christian sanctification is essentially Trinitarian. This means that a believer returns to the Father, the source of all life, human as well as divine in sonship. Because the Christian is one with Christ in sonship of the Father.
The doctrine of the Holy Trinity was not taught in the Old Testament. In the New Testament the oldest evidence is in two of St. Paul’s epistles. The only place in the Gospels where the three divine Persons are explicitly mentioned together is in St. Matthew’s account of Christ’s last command to his Apostles.
The number of opponents to this doctrine are catalogued in theological textbooks and they stretch back to the first century. They are true in what they affirm but false in what they deny. For the reality with which they deal is broader and higher than the heresies themselves. By spoken, written and printed word, the Magisterium of the Church and the defenders of the orthodox interpretation of the faith have guarded tenaciously the Apostolic tradition.
We speak of three Persons in one God because this is the way God is. The God whom we adore, who made heaven and earth, who came to live among us as man and who is dwelling today in our hearts, is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is the way God is for reasons which God alone can tell us. In today’s Preface we address God the Father: “You have revealed your glory as the glory also of your Son and of the Holy Spirit; three Persons equal in majesty, undivided in splendor, yet one Lord, one God ever to be adored in your everlasting glory.”
And coming up from the shore is a beach-combing theologian and Doctor of the Church to set the jury at ease. “There we shall rest and we shall see! We shall see and we shall love! Such will be the End without end when we possess the Kingdom that will have no end”.