June 04, 2023
“Having come down in a cloud, the LORD stood with Moses there
and proclaimed his name, ‘LORD.’ [YHWH]
Thus the LORD passed before him and cried out,
‘The LORD, the LORD, a merciful and gracious God,
slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.’
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ
and the love of God
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.”
“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.”
First off, as we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, sometimes just called “Trinity Sunday”, it is essential to remember that the Trinity is a mystery. G. K. Chesterton held that one reason for his belief in Christianity and Catholicism was because of the Trinity. He reasoned that no human created religion would have as its central belief an impenetrable and impossible to understand triune God. It is impossible to fully comprehend. It took the Church 300 years to formulate a clear doctrine. Today, we say the Trinity (God) is one God in three Persons. A literal translation of the Greek used at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. would be that God is one substance in three subsistent relations. There is one being consisting of three existential relationships. God is both singular and plural. Love is only love if shared. And God is love. It is a mystery and impossible to fully comprehend. It strengthens my faith, too, that with such an essential image of God, it is beyond our full power to grasp. I’m not sure I would want to believe in a God that was all 0’s and 1’s, or a matter of pure reason. That doesn’t appear to even be God to me. For me, at least, God needs to be beyond full comprehension. God is mystery.
To believe in our God is not simply a matter of adhering to a doctrinal statement, however. Believing in God is not just about assenting to a creed. That is important, but secondary to relationship. Believing in God is placing our trust in him. God does all the work, but we are called to trust that God does all the work. It is a paradox, of sorts. God wants to save us from the burning building we are in (sin and death) and he stands at the door knocking. We have to believe (trust) in him enough to open the door and follow him to safety, salvation. We can be distracted by the TV, internet, or blaring fire alarm, distrust the intent of the one whose knocking, or choose our own fire to the unknown path to freedom, but that’s where faith, belief, or trust come in. God does not force us to freedom. Love is only freely received. It is grace, not transaction. We can only receive love if we trust the one who is love. Our hearts must be big enough (it doesn’t take much), open enough, or wide enough to believe in love. This is a gift, too.
As we contemplate the mystery of the Trinity, and our response, the story of the first reading is important. The God of the Old Testament is not just the Father. YHWH is the triune God. The Father is in impenetrable light (or cloud), the Son comes to Moses and stands with him (Emmanuel), the Spirit enables Moses’s response. Our experience of God has always been triune. God is the work of love. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I trust in you.