Do you have any picture ID with you? Let’s talk about your driver’s license, school/work identification card, or passport/visa. They are...
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St. Augustine, one of the most important Church Fathers of the West, was an early Christian Philosopher and Theologian. As a young man, he was very...
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Do you have any picture ID with you? Let’s talk about your driver’s license, school/work identification card, or passport/visa. They are usually small in size, but they are very powerful. The ID card is so small, but it tells a lot about the one who owns it. It also empowers the one who owns it. The ID card lets you into places that other people cannot go; it enables you to do things others cannot do. One permits its owner to drive; another permits its owner to travel to another country, while another shows that its owner is an employee of a particular company or a student of a specific institution of learning. As small as the Identification card may be, it distinguishes a particular individual from another. No two Identification cards are identical.
Now my questions: if we are required as Christians to show our Identification card, what have we got to show? What do we have that characteristically distinguishes us from others and empowers us in a unique way different from others? Is it our belief in the existence of God? But Pagans also believe in the existence of God. Is it prayer? But Muslims pray a great deal. Probably, being nice to our neighbors? No, even some atheists are nicer to their neighbors than some who claim to believe in God. What then is our identification mark?
Today’s feast is the feast of our identity; it shows the specific aspect of our faith that is unique to us as Christians: believe in the Blessed Trinity. Christianity may share monotheism (the doctrine of One God) with some other religions. However, the Christian monotheism is not the strict monotheism since in Christianity, amid the doctrine of One God, there is the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity, Three Persons in One God: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The word Trinity was first used by Tertullian, an early Christian author from Carthage in Africa in the 4th Century. It may be shocking to some Christians that the word Trinity is not in the Bible. Before making a big deal out of that, remember that the word Bible is also not in the Bible.
Of what benefit is our celebration of the Trinity today? Why do we put in so much in trying to understand God? The importance lies in the fact that we are made in the image and likeness of God. For this reason, the more we know God, the more we know who we are supposed to be. According to experts in religion, “people always try to be like the god they worship.” People whose faith is dedicated to a warrior god tend to be aggressive and violent; those who worship a god of pleasure are usually pleasure-seeking or hedonistic, and people who worship a god of love tend to be loving.
We became Christians at our baptism when we were baptized “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Baptism unites us with all three persons of the Trinity in such a way that we share in the very life of God. And God’s life is the sharing of love between three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We were created in the image and likeness of the Most Holy Trinity. The implication is that we were made for sharing love. And this can only be done in a community, with others, never alone. God does not exist in solitary individualism but a community of love and sharing. God is not a lone-ranger. The three persons of the Blessed Trinity are distinct, yet One. The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Spirit, and the Spirit is not the Father. They are not in competition; they are in collaboration. The Father is the Creator, the Son is the Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit is the Sanctifier. The Father does not create without the Son and the Spirit; The Son does not redeem without the Father and the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit does not sanctify without the Father and the Son. Therefore, a Christian in search of Godliness must shun every tendency of individualism and isolationism. As Christians, we must identify our differences and celebrate our diversity. We must respect our uniqueness and celebrate the beauty each one brings to the table. I am not you; you are not me. But I need you, and you need me. As one, we grow in God.
The Trinity is the Identification card of the Christian: the disciple of Jesus must reflect the face of God, who is Father, Son, and Spirit. The mark of the Trinity is seen in the community whenever all (including those who have made many mistakes) feel accepted and welcomed, appreciated and valued, where joys and sorrows are shared, where unity does not wipe out diversity, where diversity is considered enrichment for all. We see the mark of the Trinity in the families where we have dialogue, love, and collaboration. We see the mark of the Trinity wherever there is the search of the true glory: not the one resulting from competition and domineering, but the one from the humble service of one another. In our celebration of the Most Holy Trinity today, let us pray that our lives as Christians may give glory to God the Father, through Jesus Christ His Son, and in Union with the Holy Spirit, One God forever and ever. Amen.