REFLECTION ON THE SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY. JUNE 7, 2020
“In the Trinity, there is no dichotomy, no division, no domineering tendencies” – Peter Okafor
The Trinitarian Communion is the model of Christian community and family life.
The living God is not a solitary God. The living God is not an isolated God. From all eternity the living God has lived in relationship, indeed, has lived as a relationship. At the centre of the universe is a relationship. From all eternity the living God has been community and family. From all eternity the living God has been infinitely pleased as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
In a world robbed of communitarian life by the cankerworm of individualism, Trinity Sunday reminds us that collaboration, love, sharing, dialogue, communion, submission and obedience are higher ideals for a peaceful societal and family life.
My dearest children of God,
We have gathered to celebrate the very foundation of our Christian faith, our Christian identity, our dogma and the greatest mystery of our faith. The word Trinity, although not found in the Holy Bible, was first used by Tertullian and was clearly revealed by God. Trinitarian life is the model of the Christian life. We are here to celebrate GOD Himself, the Trinity. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three persons in One God; one in one, one in each, each in one, inseparably bound together, sharing the same nature, one in essence and existence. God is One. God is Love. The Three-in-One dwells in complete harmony, distinct in persons and one in essence. There is an order in the Triune Godhead and distinct personal attributes. This knowledge of the One-in-Three has been revealed to man through the Holy Scriptures by the Godhead itself and has been affirmed by the Church over the centuries. The late Church Fathers described this mutual indwelling and interpenetration of the Trinity in a term they called “Perichoresis”. This may sound strange, but it’s exactly what the Gospel of John says:
“Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing His works” (John 14:10). This verse reminds us that the Trinitarian life is marked by sharing. No one claims complete ownership. Everything is owned and shared collectively.
Each Person of the Trinity has a distinct role. The Father is the Creator, the Son is Redeemer and the Holy spirit is the Sanctifier. What God created and redeemed, He also sanctified. There is never a time the Father is separated from the Son or the Son from the Father, or the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son.
Their mission does not create any dichotomy or subordination within the Godhead. God revealed Himself to us as a community of persons. Therefore we must imitate God by living in community with others. Don’t live in isolation.
The communitarian nature of God reminds us Christians that we must work together with others to actualize a common goal or objective. The three persons in One God each have a unique function which is geared towards the same purpose – the salvation of mankind.
There is a division of labour in the Godhead. This is to say, each person of the Blessed Trinity has an area of specialization, their mystery, however, involves the participation of all in the acts of one. For example in the creative work of the Father, the other Persons are fully and actively involved. When the Son is principally celebrated, the other Persons are also celebrated. We cannot talk about any in isolation of the others since they are not only One and equal in all respects, but also interwoven in being. So it should be amongst us. Each person must concentrate on the assigned duties and respect the boundaries of that assignment and the limits of the authority conferred in the exercise of that given responsibility. In an association, for instance, a secretary cannot do his/her work and at the same time that of the treasurer or the president. When people exercise their responsibility beyond the boundaries of their job description it often leads to serious organisational and administrative anomalies, confusion, lack of transparency and misunderstanding. This is true also in the family or society at large. You may have your personal interest which you bring to your assigned responsibilities in your workplace, but prudence demands to know your limits and face your assigned responsibility. Don’t run the show for others. Each person has his or her own unique gifts to contribute to the growth of the human family, society or organisation. While we concentrate on our area of responsibility, each person must work objectively to promote the overall goal of our Christian callings or worldly responsibilities.
We must work together or coexist peacefully. We must respect others by respecting their own area of responsibility and knowing our limits and avoid usurpation of authority. We must work in harmony, with a common objective at heart. No responsibility discharged for the good of others is insignificant. We must all cherish and be content with what we do. From the security man to the CEO or from the Pope to the Deacon or even the junior seminarian anyone negligent of their responsibility is working against the progress of the entire institution or organisation. The impact may vary in its severity, but the effect will surely be felt. Let us work together in peace and harmony as does the Trinity.
There is no confusion in the Trinity, but an ordered community. The Son obeyed the Will of the Father even when it involved death. Without obedience, there will be anarchy in society. In the family children should obey their parents. In the Church or at work, workers should obey the directive of those in charge. In society, we all have to obey the laws, the rules and regulations that make for our common peaceful existence. Without obedience, there cannot be order.
There is love in the Trinity. After his struggles to understand the mystery of the Trinity, St. Augustine ended up describing God as LOVE. God saved the world out of His love. The mission of human redemption was borne out of love for man/woman. All are a product of God’s love. Any act done with love enriches and transforms. Let us work for love and with love to remain united and in communion with one another, like the Trinity. Let us eschew all forms of greediness, selfishness and unhealthy competition to outshine others. We all have a common goal to serve God and others and to make Heaven. Worldly accolades and recognitions shall all pass away.
The readings of today from the first to the Gospel point to the very fact that God exists. There is a God who sent His only son to redeem the world. The doxology of St. Paul in the second reading also points to the existence of the Trinity. We all were baptised in the Trinity. We begin and end our prayers with the Trinitarian sign.
The Trinity is the centre and the core of our Christian life. It’s a mystery that cannot be grasped by the finite human intellect, but only by the light of faith. May your faith be made strong in the Trinity.
May God give us the grace to imitate the example of the Trinity.
ANOTHER HOMILY RESOURCE
SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY
Today we celebrate the solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. Many of us, one time or other,
must have been asked to produce our identity card. We must have searched in our pockets for it and after showing it we were immediately identified. If one day somebody asked us to produce our identity card as a Christian, what have we got to show? What is the characteristic distinguishing us from the members of other religions? Love of neighbour? No, even the others do much good (even more than us sometimes); faith in God? Pagans do have it? Prayer? Also, the Moslems pray a great deal.
The feast of today is showing us the specific aspect of our faith: we believe in the Holy Trinity. This fundamental belief of our Christian religion distinguishes us from other religions in the world. But what do we mean when we speak of the Holy Trinity? If you look for these two words in the Bible, you will not find them. What you will find are the names: God, the Father, the Creator; Jesus Christ, the Lord, the Son of God; The Holy Spirit of God, also called the Advocate, the Spirit of Truth.
The fact that there are three Persons in the one God has been clearly revealed by Christ himself. He spoke of being equal to the Father yet a distinct Person from the Father, then He spoke of the Holy Spirit as a Person with distinct actions of His own, whom He and the Father would send on earth, to complete the work of man’s salvation. The Church accepted this fact and this doctrine without hesitation from its very beginning, as it was given to it on Christ’s undoubted authority.
What is remarkable is that the Jewish converts of the early Church accepted this doctrine once they accepted the divinity of Christ. The one followed of necessity from the other. The Gentiles accepted it too without question, not because their former paganism allowed many gods, for Christianity, had but one God (in whom there were three Persons), but because the authority from whom this truth came was none, other than Christ who was one of the divine persons of Triune God.
The doctrine of the Trinity is the basic mystery of our religion. We too accept it, not because we can understand it but because we have it from Christ. St Augustine prayed vehemently
that he might understand the mystery of the Blessed Trinity. But God soon taught him through the medium of an Angel that he was asking for an impossible matter. St Augustine
was walking on the sea-shore pondering the mystery of the Blessed Trinity, and how it could best be described in words. Close by, he saw a little boy, who had dug a hole in the sand and kept filling a big shell with sea-water and pouring it into the hole. “What are you trying to do?” asked Augustine. “I am going to put all the sea into that hole”, replied the boy. “Yes”, thought Augustine to himself, “that is like me trying to put all the vast mystery of God into a few human words”. Just as the boy could not possibly empty the great ocean into a tiny little hole – it could not contain the ocean – so a finite human intelligence cannot possibly contain the great mystery of an infinite God. St Augustine realised that God had sent His Angel to teach him. He went home and wrote his book about the Trinity, in which he described God as Love. “Therefore”, he wrote, “there must be somehow more than one in God. The Father and the Son love each other, and the Love, which proceeds from them is the Holy Spirit”. That is the nearest we can get to so lofty a mystery. And what did Jesus tell us in the Gospel of today? We have just heard it. He said: “All he [the Spirit of truth] tells you will be taken from what is mine…Everything the Father has is mine…” In other words, between Jesus and His Father, and their Holy Spirit, everything is shared. They have everything in common. They are the same in every way. We can say that all the knowledge and wisdom of God, all the goodness and the forgiveness of God, are found equally in the Father, in Jesus, and in the Holy Spirit. Thus, the mystery of the life of the Trinity is marked by love, dialogue, sharing, and collaboration. In the Trinity, there is no dichotomy, no division, no domineering tendencies.
The Trinity is the identity card of the Christian: the disciple of Jesus must reflect the face of God who is Father, Son and Spirit. And the face of the Trinity exists where there is sharing,
collaboration, and dialogue based on God’s love. The mark of the Trinity is seen in the community whenever all (including those who have made many mistakes) feel accepted and welcome, appreciated and valued, when joys and sorrows are shared, where unity does not wipe out diversity, but this is considered an enrichment for all. We see the mark of the Trinity in the families where we have dialogue, love, sharing and collaboration. We see the mark of the Trinity wherever there is the search of true glory: not the one resulting from competition and domineering, but the one from the humble service to those in need of love.
It is not enough to state that one believes in God, it is more important to know in which God
one believes. The Moslems, pagans and members of other religious acts are different from the Christians because their faces reflect different gods. It is important to know who our God is and what it entails to believe in a God who is Trinity. And we have seen the qualities that mark the face of the God in whom we believe: love, dialogue, collaboration and sharing. And this belief is based especially on the Gospel of today, where Jesus speaking of the Holy Spirit says that all that the Spirit will tell his disciples will be taken from what is His, and all that the Father is His. In other words, there is sharing, collaboration, dialogue and love in God who is Trinity. So if we believe in such a God who is Trinity our own life as a family or community will equally be marked by such qualities.
THIS HOMILY WAS READAPTED FROM FR. PETER OKAFOR ( My Dogmatic Theology Professor)