Proverbs 8: 22-31; Psalm 8: 5-9; Romans 5: 1-5; John 16: 12-15

By: Jude Siciliano, OP

Dear Preachers:

The doctrine of the Trinity was first formulated against heresies in the fourth and fifth centuries. Today, at first blush, we seem to be celebrating a dogma of our faith. But we don’t come to church to celebrate dogmas. Today we celebrate the mystery of the Trinity and how the divine Persons have influenced and continue to influence our lives. God is Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier – named for us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and in our worship and prayer we are invited into the mystery of God.

God is beyond our human capacity to know, but even before we reached out to God, God had already decided to redeem the world. God has taken the initiative, offered us grace in Jesus Christ and through the Spirit enables us to enter into relationship with God.

In Jesus, God has entered into human history; joined us in our pain and joy and has become one with us in all things, but sin. In him the fullness of divinity dwelt, yet he shared our death and reveals to us God’s victory over sin and death – God’s power to heal what is broken and unite what is fragmented. Jesus returned to the One he called "Father," but did not leave us on our own; he gave us the presence and power of the divine in his Spirit of love and life. Through the Spirit we can know the living presence of the risen Christ. In the Spirit we have the new life Jesus promised us, made possible by his life, death and resurrection. The yearning and hunger that draw us to worship today has been planted in us by our God, who desires that we come to grow in our knowledge and love of God. Ours is a God of relationship.

Nothing, not even the divine, exists alone and separate. The relationship that exists among the divine Persons suggests to us that we can know God through our relationships – not only in our relationship with God, but to all the created world. The Trinity then, is the origin and foundation of all our personal relationships. One way we are in the image and likeness of God is that we too are created in relationship – to God, to one another and to the created world in which we live.

Our first reading personifies Wisdom as God’s firstborn who participated in the creation of all things. Note the playful aspect of Wisdom, suggesting not only the image of God as creator, but God’s ongoing delight in the fruits of God’s creative work. "Day by day," Wisdom takes delight in what God has made, especially "the human race."

God’s involvement with creation did not end after the initial creative act, but continues throughout history. In particular we read throughout the Old Testament the history of how God, our Creator, has constantly been present to the humans God has made: delivering them; establishing them as a people; and then supporting, encouraging, challenging, rebuking and forgiving them.

Attending to today’s Scriptures deepens our awareness of our triune God. Proverbs reminds us of God’s "hands on" creative energy: for God "made firm the skies above... fixed the foundations of the earth... set for the sea its limit...." If we respond to our Creator today, prompted by our first reading, we will pray for open eyes today to see God’ creative handywork in the beauty of the natural world. Since creation helps open us to the mystery of God around us, we attend to the promptings of scripture by treating our environment with reverence and care. On this Trinity Sunday, a fitting response to our Creator today is both reverence and care of the natural works of God’s hand. (Cf. "Justice Bulletin Board" below.)

Jesus promised the "Spirit of truth" would come to us. The Spirit of truth will help us put aside the untruths and false gods our world worships: the god of power and domination; the god of privilege and exclusion; the god of the rich and prosperous; the god of control; the god of technology, etc.

In Jesus, God came among us and in words and actions, announced God’s saving presence to the world. We identify with Jesus’ life, attend to his words, are guided by his actions and attitudes, share in his death and experience new life in his resurrection. In him we come to trust that God is with us now and will remain with us until the end of time.

The Spirit is God’s divine life present to us, enabling us to share in the intimate love that exists between the Father and the Son. The Spirit’s gift of that love enables us to be free from a mere religion of laws and regimentation and to respond to God’s life in us by a free and spontaneous creative exercise of our faith; put into practice by a love of self, neighbor and the created world around us.

Thus, when we celebrate the feast of the Trinity, we are not celebrating just a private relationship that exists among the divine persons, are we? We are not merely onlookers at some supernatural heavenly mystery we profess belief in, but don’t really see its daily connection to our lives. If the doctrine of the Trinity were dropped would it make much difference in our faith practices, religious education, homilies, etc.? Of course it would! The Trinity isn’t just a mystery we ascent to each Sunday when we profess our faith in the Creed. Instead, it expresses how God relates to us and how we, in response, are to relate to God, ourselves and the world around us.

Click here for a link to this Sunday’s readings: