THE MOST HOLY TRINITY YEAR A 2020
(R. 1: Exodus 34:4b-6,8-9; Psalm: Daniel 3:52-56; R. 2: 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; Gospel: John 3:16-18)
FR EMMANUEL INEDU OCHIGBO
BE LIKE THE GOD YOU WORSHIP!
In the name of the Father, + and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Today we celebrate the fundamental dogma, on which every Christian doctrine is based. It is the Solemnity of the Most Blessed Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. At the beginning of our Christian life, each one of us was baptized into the Most Holy Trinity when the minister of Baptism called us each of us by name, poured water on our foreheads, or immersed us in the water while saying, “…I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
The point of this dogma of the faith is that “there is one God, and in this one God there are Three Divine Persons; the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God, yet there are not three Gods but one, eternal, incomprehensible God!” The Father is not greater than the Son, the Son is not greater than the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is not lesser than the Father and the Son. What a mystery!
Many theologians have struggled to have a full understanding of this mystery without success. It has been said that “If you try to understand the Trinity, you will lose your mind. But if you deny the Trinity, you will lose your soul.” The Gospel passage tells us that faith in this matter brings about eternal life, while lack of faith brings about condemnation. The truth of the matter is, if we fully understand God, then God will no longer be God. What then do we do with this Solemnity? What lesson do we take home from this celebration? The call on us today is to be like the God we worship.
What is the primary thing we know about God? The basic thing we know about God is that God is three, and God is One. God is Trinity; this is not the unity of a single person, but the unity of three distinct persons. It is unity and not uniformity. The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Spirit, yet in the three, we have One God without conflict. Since we have been baptized in this One God and three Persons, we are to be like the Trinity. Be like the God you worship!
What is the cause of all the ongoing protests in the United States? What is the cause of conflicts in the world? Could it be because we are not all the same? Maybe the best way to make America great is for all of us to become Democrats or Republicans. Perhaps the world would be at peace if all of us become Black, White, or Brown. Is it possible that the quarrels we have around are because some are women and others are men? Maybe there will be peace in the world if all of us become Jews, Christians, Muslims, or any other religion or even no religion. In the Trinity, we see that there is something beautiful about our differences. “Variety,” they say, “is the spice of life.” We do not need to be precisely the same to live in peace. We do not have to wait until people die before we tell them to “Rest In Peace,” we can also “Live in Peace!” Let us learn a lesson from our palm. Imagine having all five fingers as thumb or pinky or index or ring or middle finger; it is in their differences that the hand finds its efficiency and beauty. Do you think having two left legs or two right hands will make you a perfect person? I do not even have sleepless nights over the fact that there are a variety of religions in the world. If the God who knows all and is all-powerful allows that, it means there must be something beautiful about it. Our task is not to fight against our differences, but to discover the beauty in it and enjoy it. As a professional hospital chaplain, my catholic faith has been enriched by my ministry to those of other denominations, religions, and those of no religion. My ministry as a chaplain to the sick is not to make them catholic, but to help them become the best of who they are as human beings.
The gospel passage reminds us that judgment is not something that is reserved for the future, but something that happens every moment. Sometimes people ask me, “If God is so loving as to send his Son to die for us, how can he send anyone to hell?” I usually explain to them that God does not send anyone to hell. People choose hell by themselves, and God expresses His love by giving us the freedom to choose. The way we reflect the Trinity will determine where we will end up. Judgment will be “auto-select.” If you live your life grumbling over the differences in the world and hating people just because they do not look like you and do not talk like you, on the last day, you will be uncomfortable in heaven where all races will be one in God. As such, you will be automatically attracted away from the Trinity. But if you live your life like the Blessed Trinity, acknowledging differences, savoring the beauty in the differences, and loving even those who are different from you, on the last day, you will be automatically attracted to heaven where all peoples will be one in God.
We cannot attain this level of maturity unaided by the grace that comes from the Blessed Trinity, and so in the words of St. Paul in the second reading, I say, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” Amen.