A Homily by Fr. James DiLuzio CSP
Holy Trinity Sunday, 11 June 2022
Blessings on this TRINITY SUNDAY: Three Persons in ONE GOD. Did you know that from ancient times, the number THREE was associated with perfection and mystery? How fitting then to understand God in this way for the number THREE is evidenced deep in our collective conscious and unconscious selves. No surprise that we are made up of ATOMS — the smallest unity of ordinary matter, comprises three elements: neutrons, protons, and electrons. What’s more, we like to count in Threes. We speak of births and deaths in threes. Three times Four gives us TWELVE , we find an expansion of three that has tremendous connotations for FUTURE and HOPE: just as the 12 Tribes of Israel, 12 Apostles extended God’s Covenant each in their own way, to all the world. And, of course, three times eleven gives us Thirty-three –the traditional age of Jesus when his LIFE culminated in his Crucifixion and Resurrection.
Should it be any wonder that Christians came to read the Hebrew scriptures and Christian Testaments identifying significant references to the concept of Three in understanding the centrality of relationship as the very heart of God. Recall: the three angels / visitors to Abraham and Sarah in Mamre that confirmed God’s promise of children to the elderly couple. And, in fulfillment of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection came the realities of a new life because of a Trinitarian Baptism Formula as Jesus said to his disciples: Matthew 28: 19 Go, therefore,[l] and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.” Most importantly, we hear the relationship of the Trinity in the following scripture passages when Jesus is remembered as saying:
Gospel of John 10: 36:The Father and I are one.” AND that this oneness is extended to all through the Holy Spirit:
Gospel of John 14: 26: The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name —
Gospel of John 17: 21 so that they may all be one, AS you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.
So, we came to understand ONE GOD, whose ONENESS comprises a UNITY of THREE:
Today’s liturgical readings give us further understanding of who the Holy Spirit is. From Proverbs’ Poem of WISDOM, we heard “ from of old I was poured forth at the first.. . . . . “When the Lord established the heavens, I was there, I was his delight day by day,. . . .and I found delight in the human race.” AND from Romans 5:“because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”
But we not only find references to the Trinity in Scripture, but in our very selves, the Triune God is imprinted in us. We may look at aspects of our humanity to understand the Mystery of the Trinity because Scripture itself invites us to:
Genesis 1:27. God created mankind in his image; in the image of God, he created them; male and female he created them.
Colossians 1:15 The Preeminence of Christ : He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
Romans 8:11If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit that dwells in you.
Wisdom 2:23 For God formed us to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made us.
Now place these Scriptures in conversation with this quote from Pope Saint John Paul II from his book ON THE THRESHOLD OF HOPE: “The Search for God and the Search for one’s True Self are one in the same search.” So, let’s examen the three-fold personhood in us to help us embrace the Mystery of the Triune God more fully.
God is WILL, and God gave us a Will . God used God’s will to CREATE, and God invites us to willfully create either through procreation, or if we choose religious life, single life, or are unable to bring forth children, to nonetheless create using our minds and talents to honor God and serve others. WILL AND CREATIVITY ARE ONE IN GOD’S ESSENCE and so in our humanity, we offer an image of GOD THE FATHER. But God is more than will and creativity, and so are we more. Infants, for example, seem to manifest will and will alone (Feed me, comfort me, clean me up), yet within them is far more –the more just needs more time to manifest itself. Therefore, in the image of God, we are Will and more than will, and, so, too, is our God.
The Second Person of the Trinity in God is WORD, a LOVING WORD expressed through Christ. Humans are meant for LANGUAGE, the expression of mind and will that reaches out to fellow creatures, and communicates meaning with an invitation to connect, to relate, to befriend fellow human beings. “IN the Beginning was the WORD, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became Flesh and Dwelt among us.” And Christ dwelt among us to manifest LOVE and make all our communication and the resulting relationships LOVING. Thus, Language, when used properly, keeps us in the image of God as are words unite us to our fellow human beings.
When we speak and connect to others, we add to our personhood in such a way that we become distinct from our mere will and creative selves. We sometime feel as if we are a different person than what we conceive in our minds because of the friends we make, the company we keep. Thus united, we remain ourselves, but become more than ourselves, just as when God Incarnated as Jesus of Nazareth God was an enfleshed God, a unique “other,” yet so intimately unified as to be ONE –GOD AND CHRIST TO BE INSEPERABLE.
Now let’s look at how we may reflect the third person of the Trinity. We all know that God is spirit, but more than just “a spirit,” because in the person of the Holy Spirit, God is driving force for ACTION, for DEEPENING RELATIONSHIP with the world. This Spirit is not self-contained or self-serving, but generous, overflowing moving Words and Bodies into fulfillment. Therefore, when God ACTS, putting God’s WILL, CREATIVE ENERGY, LOVING LANGUAGE AND CONNECTION WITH CREATION AND THE HUMAN RACE, GOD IS HOLY SPIRIT –again, not just a dimension of God, but an actual unique PERSON of God.
Made in God’s image, Jesus shares that same HOLY SPIRIT with us. Gospel of John 20: 22: Jesus breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. Through the Spirit, we become energized in love, in forgiveness, in fostering and repairing relationships, transcending ourselves, expanding our consciousness and self-understanding to become a New Person in Christ. We truly are ourselves, and not ourselves when we put our relationship with God and others first and foremost above any pursuit of worldly gain or glory. Sure, not so distinct as to be another person entirely (we are still Jean or John or who knows who) but hopefully, we may get a sense that God is actually a distinct Person as Holy Spirit while remaining ONE GOD.
And so we come to Word and Eucharist today to meditate, to dream, willing to BE One with God, saying prayers silently and aloud, engaging in ACTIONS to live in Christ and be Christ to one another, making us more conscious of the threefold reality of the Trinity. When we receive this Eucharist, we are united to God in Christ and in the Spirit, we are one with one another – different, unique, yet wonderfully common in our common humanity and our dependence on God. It’s time we chew on that some more.
Glory Be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and forever shall be, world without end. Amen.