The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Love of God, and the Communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Today, we celebrate the solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. Belief in the Holy Trinity is at the core of the Christian faith. This is the belief that there is One God, and that there are Three Persons in this One God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

The word “Trinity” is not in the Bible. But the idea is all over the different parts of the Bible. An early Christian writer, Tertullian, in Africa, coined the term “Trinity” as a handy way to refer to this reality of three distinct, equal Persons in One God, found all over the Bible. In the Old Testament, we experience God as Father in various passages. For example, through his special covenant with the people of Israel and his adoption of the people of Israel as his special children (Genesis 12-17; Jeremiah 32:38; Ezekiel 37:27). God also adopts individual persons as his own. For example, in Psalm 2:7, he says to an individual, “You are my son, today, I have become your Father.” The portrayal of God as the Father is evident in God’s authority over his people and in his right to guide, train, and discipline them with love and justice (Jeremiah 31).

In the Old Testament, we encounter the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity as God’s Word. In Genesis 1, God spoke each element of the universe into being through his Word. God made a covenant to bind Israel to himself through his “Ten Words” in Exodus 20. In Isaiah 55, his word goes out from him to bear fruit in the world.

The Old Testament portrays the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, as the Breath of God, the Wind of God, or the Spirit of God. From the beginning, in Genesis 1, The Spirit of God hovered over the waters of creation to bring order into chaos. After God had formed man from the dust of the ground, He breathed into the nostrils of Adam to give life and spiritual connection in Genesis 2. The prophets do not speak words on their own; God poured out his Spirit-breath on the prophets so that they spoke his words (cf. Isaiah 42). In Ezekiel 37, God’s Spirit breathed new life and new heart into dry bones, and they could rise again.

So, in the Old Testament, the Three Persons in the Blessed Trinity were already in operation; we encounter God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit even before the fullness of time, even before God the Son and God the Holy Spirit were sent forth into the world to accomplish the events of the Incarnation and of Pentecost, as we have in the New Testament.

In the New Testament, we find mutual relationships and distinctions between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. At the baptism of Jesus, we see the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity: the Son receiving baptism as Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus Christ as a Dove, and the Father speaking from heaven, identifying Jesus Christ as his beloved Son. In John 17, in his High Priestly Prayer, Jesus Christ, God the Son, addresses the Father, acknowledging that the Father sent him and that he was returning to the Father. Within the same prayer in John 17, Jesus expresses that the Father entrusted the disciples to him, and he receives them and gives them back to the Father.

In Paul’s letters, we see his understanding of the One God, “not… the unity of a single person, but… a Trinity of one substance” (Roman Missal, Preface for the Solemnity of Holy Trinity), the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Priest’s greeting at Mass to the congregation comes from Paul; he says, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

 Having seen the biblical roots of the Doctrine of the Trinity, what is the relevance? The relevance is that God is Love. If God were just solitary, he could not have been “Love” before creating the world since there would have been no one to love before he created the world. So, when the Word became flesh to dwell among us, he revealed God, eternally a community of three persons pouring themselves out in love for one another.

Before his ascension, Jesus tells his disciples that he has something to say that they cannot bear now but that when the Holy Spirit comes, he will lead them to that truth. What is that innermost secret that Jesus keeps from his Apostles because it is hard for them to bear? The Catechism of the Catholic Church 221 gives the answer: “God’s innermost secret is that God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and He destines us to share in that exchange. Christ longs for us to participate in the communion of the Trinity. That is what he has been waiting all his life to tell us.”

Jesus Christ became a human being to re-incorporate us into that family of love. That is why the only true way to know a Christian is not by how much they know but by how much they love. Since we cannot truly love by our human power, I pray that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the Communion of the Holy Spirit may continue to help us to grow in love until we come to our heavenly inheritance through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Ochigbo

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