The incredible beauty of Trinity Sunday is that we’re given the possibility to contemplate the fullness of God’s being in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The difficulty is that the human mind lacks the capacity to contemplate the fullness of God’s being in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But the good news, besides Jesus being raised from the dead by the glory of God the Father through the Spirit, is that we can attach our hearts and minds to bits and pieces of God’s being, enough to satisfy us in the present until we look into his face at the time of our death.
In the 1st reading today from the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses takes on the role of Jesus well before his birth in Bethlehem by way of being a good teacher, asking the Israelites a question or two about God’s power. “Did a people ever hear the voice of God speaking from the midst of fire, as you did, and live” to tell about it? Or, did any god ever do for another people what he did for you while you lived in slavery in Egypt? Did any of those false gods the people worshipped, and still do today, ever perform works, such as creating an entire universe, or an entire human race? Is there a second god who can perform such acts of power and might?
Moses the good teacher calls our attention to the singularity of God the Father and how the 1st Person on the Holy Trinity has put into motion a universe and a people from the virtue of love. I’m not sure why some folks have a hard time understanding this most basic truth of God. He started a universe that continues to expand, and a human race that continues to grow older. What’s the big deal? And then, he zeroes in his attention to this little area of one tiny section of the universe called Egypt, notices an entire race of people in slavery that he created not to be in slavery, hears their cries, and says to them, “You’re going to be my people. Not the slaveholders who have temporary power over you, but the slaves held in bondage.”
He takes the side of the weak, which would be today’s immigrants who seek a better life. He takes our side when we suffer too. He’s close, personal, and caring, this Father.
In the 2nd reading from Romans, we move from the 1st Person to the 3rd Person on the Trinity; the Spirit of God. The Person we pay scant attention to. And St. Paul goes right to the issue in the 1st reading; slavery. Again. Telling us we have not received a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. My friends, Jesus defeated and destroyed the spirit of slavery to this world in his death and resurrection.
But still, a spirit of slavery surrounds us. It’s always beckoning us to live in fear. Fear of other individuals and groups; fear of the government; fear of people who want to control our thoughts, our language, our actions. The spirit of slavery is to live in fear of another human being who is going to die just like we are, which is today’s Egypt. The spirit of slavery that St. Paul addresses tries to force you to live according to bad human laws that contradict your faith in Christ and your holy conscience. The spirit of slavery says, “You better do this, you better believe in this false brand of marriage, or else we’re gonna bury you.” Is that the type of spirit we wish to live with, or even propagate in our lives?
Instead, we have received a Spirit of adoption, through whom we cry out “Abba, Father.” We do not, as baptized persons, cry out the spirit of sick humanity, but we cry out the Spirit of a loving, merciful, caring God, who has given us statutes and commandments to live by so that our Christian joy may be complete. St. Paul reminds the Christian community at Rome that the Holy Spirit, who moves us internally at the deepest part of our being, is a Spirit, not of fear, but of love. A positive Spirit. An uplifting Spirit. A Spirit who loves and forgives, and desires our forgiveness, unlike the spirit of human slavery that tries to force people into unholy beliefs and practices.
And in the Gospel, as always, we have the 2nd Person on the Trinity; the Word made flesh, speaking his last words on earth to the remaining Eleven. He’s the one we know best, because he’s one of us. He gets most of our attention, and the other two Persons are not envious because of it. For when we offer our attention to Jesus, we offer it also to the Father and the Spirit.
Jesus is the Good Teacher with a thousand teachings that lead us to proper human happiness now, and the future happiness of life with Abba.
What Jesus teaches us in words that we hear and understand are words of presence and comfort; “I will be with you always, until the end of the age.” I will not abandon you. Even though it may appear at times my attention for you has been withdrawn, like Mother Teresa and her decades-long dark night of the soul, I am still there with you. Most lovingly in the Eucharist, I am with you.”
We need to know this. We are in need of trusting that Jesus has not left us behind in his Ascension. The 2nd Person on the Trinity is our Point Man with God. He’s our Contact. He’s tangible. He’s the One we always call up when a favor is needed. We depend on him for all that is good. Until the end of our age, whatever that age is. May we be open to the grace to stay with him, as he has promised to stay with us.
God the Creator; the Spirit of adoption; the Word made flesh. All we could ever need in this world of brevity is there. Thanks be to God, the Holy Trinity.