It’s fitting that the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity is centered in the sacrament of Baptism in the words of our Lord; “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
Baptism is not only membership into the Church community, but is also membership into the death and resurrection of Christ.
As we priests and deacons like to say on the celebration of this feast day of the Holy Trinity, there will be much heresy preached this weekend throughout the world by numerous priests and deacons. I do hope I’m not one of them. The ones who will preach false doctrine are the priests and deacons who actually think they have God in the Trinity figured out. “I understand the Trinity completely!” That’s heresy number one.
Or, many examples will be given of what God in the Trinity is like; whether it’s a three-leaf clover, or three roses growing on one branch; or three stained-glass windows that reflect their unique form of beauty; or three hot dogs from Coney Island. They all fall well short of total understanding of the three Persons in one God. Truth is, we can only pretend to understand God in all of his mystery. Fortunately, we do capture bits and pieces of God’s being, enough to get us to heaven I pray in the Scripture and Tradition of the Church. But in the end, our weak human minds and our wayward human hearts fall woefully short of gaining total knowledge concerning the immensity of the Triune God.
Now, if that makes us feel small, then so be it! We are to trust in the ways and existence of God, and be dependent upon our Creator from birth to death. But in Scripture, it’s fitting that this feast day is centered in Baptism. In our Baptism.
Trust and dependency in the Lord begins earnestly at Baptism. After an infant is baptized, the parents accept the responsibility of raising their children in ways where they will develop and sustain a relationship with God. The absolute worst choice a parent can make is to say, “I will do nothing now, and my child can make up their own mind when they get older.” The result of that approach is spiritual confusion. Children are to be introduced to and taught about their Maker. Then, as the child grows with some knowledge and understanding of their Creator, they will eventually take over in their lives their trust and dependency upon God. It’s a motion of moving forward, which begins with being born again, at Baptism.
It’s interesting how we replace this image of moving forward with other worldly terms. Phrases such as “getting old,” or “going gray,” or “I can hear my bones creaking every morning.” Which is all true enough! But these are worldly phrases replacing a spiritual truth that our lives are moving forward. The ultimate truth of our destiny is positive, not negative. So why use negative phrases to explain a positive process that includes transformation, reuniting, and resurrection?
St. Paul writes today that we have not received a spirit of slavery, but rather a Spirit of adoption. A spirit of slavery lives in the past. Meaning, before Christ when we had no knowledge of how precious we really are in the eyes of God. A spirit of slavery to the world denies Christ and all that he has accomplished and gained for us. A spirit of slavery is human beings living backwards rather than moving forward. And there is much of that today, especially on the subject of sexuality and sexual preference. And the Devil disguises such backward living as tolerance.
Instead, we are not only created to move forward in the Lord with the beauty of our humanity, but to do so with full knowledge and acceptance that we have been purchased by the Spirit of adoption. God has adopted us in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We have been created by the Father, redeemed by the Son, and filled by the Spirit to move forward toward our resurrection. The surest way of doing so is to live the truths of our faith, especially the longstanding moral truths, and not embrace the false teachings of a very confused culture.
To be Christian is not just to get old and gray, to put on weight and to hear the bones creaking. It is to keep moving forward, the motion that began in our lives with the words “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” The willingness to bring those words to Christ in heaven keeps us on a path of moving forward.