Trinity Sunday - Fr. Adam Royal
May 29, 2021 - 5:00 PM
May 30, 2021 - 8:30 AM
There is a problem in the book of Deuteronomy. Moses is reminding the Hebrews of the wonders they saw God perform in Egypt and of how he miraculously fed them in the desert on their journey. But these people never saw those events. The scriptures are clear, those who were in captivity in Egypt did not make it to the promised land. The Hebrew people were unfaithful in their journey, so God refused them entrance into Canaan. He swore that a new generation must rise up, a generation that only knew a life of wandering in the desert. Moses' speech to the Hebrew people doesn't make sense. They never saw God's wonders, they were not freed from slavery, they had no idea what a miracle looked like. They didn’t really know the God who was guiding them. Then, as if he didn’t realize the problem, Moses’ concludes, “You’ve seen how great God is, so go follow the rules.”
It often feels like we are in the same situation. How many times in our lives have we heard about the mysteries of God and the miracles he has worked in the past? He defeated Pharaoh in Egypt, healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, and many other marvels. How many times have we heard, like the parting line from Moses, we've shown you what God can do now follow all the rules and everything will be ok? Today, Trinity Sunday, around the world preachers are doing precisely that. They are explaining in great detail the wonders and mysteries of our God, the very nature of God, one God, three persons. Many of those homilies will end with, see how great God is, now go out and follow the rules.
But most of us haven't seen miracles, and, if we are honest, we don't really understand the mysteries. Every time we make the sign of the cross we proclaim the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Every Sunday we profess belief in the Trinity by reciting the creed. But we don't comprehend it. A great saint like Augustine, who wrote a 400 page book on the Trinity, at the end of his life had to admit that he didn’t fully understand it either. Even in 400 pages he could not accurately capture and explain what the Trinity is.
So what are we to do? It seems we are like the Hebrews born in the desert, wandering, long past the miracles but not yet in the promised land. Or are we? Maybe we have seen the wonders of God around us but we didn't recognize them. In fact, this is what the Trinity means for our lives. When we profess that God exists eternally as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit this is not an abstract theological concept; it is a profession of how we see the world. We are proclaiming that in the beginning, before time began, before even the smallest piece of matter existed, love existed. Relationship existed. Before the foundation of the universe there was a Father, a Son, and the Holy Spirit, the personal love they shared. And this being, this one being who in his very essence is love shared among three persons, is the creator of everything.
The Trinity means we are not a cosmic accident, born into a world unknown and unloved. Each of us is known, loved, and willed by the Trinity. We are created in the image and likeness of God. God's very essence as love, as an eternal relationship among persons, is imprinted in us. That is what we, individually, are, images of the Trinity.
Therefore we have been called, from the first moment of our existence, to live as God lives. We are called to love. We are called to build and nurture relationships. Jesus tells us the two greatest commandments are to love God and love your neighbor. These are the greatest commandments because they speak to what we are. We do not need great signs and wonders. We do not need ever more miracles and shows of God's power. Those things cannot fulfill us. They do not express our nature. We only need love. We just need to live up to the call that God, the Trinity, has placed into our being; to be ever more like the image we were created in.
We are not wandering in the desert like the Hebrews hoping that if we follow the rules, everything will be ok, that we will see paradise. We are known by God, called by God, and we are loved by God. And he strengthens us to do the same for others. We do not need signs and wonders because we have the assurance of the presence of God within us. We experience the love of God within us, and from our families, our friends, from the Church, and from our neighbors. Every time we experience that love and give that love we already are in the promised land. The Trinity promises that we do not have to wait for eternal life. If we will love as Christ has taught us then heaven begins now.