The Most Holy Trinity – Fr. Adam Royal
June 7, 2020 – 1:00 PM
“Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned.” These are mysterious and even challenging words. We preach inclusiveness and God’s love and mercy. Jesus tells us go out and bring all people into the Kingdom; a message our Holy Father Francis has repeatedly urged us to take seriously and make a central act within our lives. Yet, here it is, a message of exclusion and condemnation. If you believe, you will be saved. If you do not believe, you have already been damned. These challenging words reveal an essential truth of Christianity. The Incarnation, God’s taking on of human flesh, reveals to us not only God’s nature but ours. Jesus Christ, the God-Man, reveals to us both God and humanity.
We are created in the image of God, in the image of the Trinity. But, because of sin, we were alienated from God. When we chose our own wills over his, we lost access to him, and we forgot about him. The one whom we image we could no longer see. That is, when we lost God, we lost ourselves. Because we could not see him, we forgot how to be his images and therefore how to be fully human. Without the Trinity in our lives, we are a mere shadow of humanity.
So the Father sends the Son into the world. The Trinity has mercy on his. When the Son takes on human nature, we are once again given an image of the Triune God. In the flesh of Christ we see not only the Son, but because the Son is begotten of the Father, we also see the Father. In the actions of Jesus, in the Son’s loving response to the Father, we also see the Holy Spirit. The invisible Tri-personal God has been made visible; in his mercy he has been made accessible to us despite our sins.
Since we can once again see the God whom we all image, we once more know how to be human. To be human, authentically human, is to imitate the Trinity; it is to live just as God lives. It is a common saying that, “To err is human.” But Jesus Christ reveals that this disparaging remark on human nature is the exact opposite of the truth. To be just, peaceful, forgiving, and loving is human. Sin and error are the destruction of humanity. Striving for the perfection of God is the fulfillment of human nature. It is only when we act in this way, when we follow the way of Christ, that we can be happy. It is only when we embrace our nature as images of God and we become a perfect reflection of the Trinity that we fulfill our nature and experience the happiness which God always intended for us.
“Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned.” To know and believe in the Trinity is to know our own humanity, it is to be on the path to fulfillment and happiness. To not know God or to reject him is to reject our nature; it is to already experience the misery of Hell, the misery of alienation from God and from our selves. So if we want to be happy, if we want to know the peace of God, then we must embrace what we truly are. We must gaze upon the invisible God who became visible in Christ. We must contemplate him in the images we hang in the Church and in our homes, we must meditate on his words spoken in the Scriptures which reveal him, and, above all, we must adore him in holy communion, where the Triune God has been made visible under the appearance of bread and wine. In these actions, in seeing the one in whose image we are made, we become our truest selves and even begin to experience eternal life, the very life of God.