The Most Holy Trinity – Fr. Peter Iorio
June 6, 2020 – 5:00 PM
June 7, 2020 – 8:30 AM
How could there be three persons in one God? Many of the saints tried to explain it using metaphors: Of course, St. Patrick of Ireland has given the most known example.
He used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity. The shamrock is a kind of clover. The story goes that one day his friends asked Patrick to explain the Mystery of the Trinity. He looked at the ground and saw shamrocks growing amid the grass at his feet. He picked one up one of its trifoliate leaves and asked if it were one leaf or three. Patrick’s friends could not answer – the shamrock leaf looked like one, but it clearly had three parts. Patrick explained to them: “The mystery of the Holy Trinity – one God in Three Persons: The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – is like this, but more complex and unintelligible.” St. Cyril, the teacher of the Slavic peoples, tried to explain the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity using sun as an example. He said, “God the Father is that blazing sun. God the Son is its light and God the Holy Spirit is its heat — but there is only one sun. So, there are three Persons in the Holy Trinity, but God is One and indivisible.” St. John Maria Vianney used to explain Holy Trinity using lighted candles and roses on the altar and water in the cruets. “The flame has color, warmth and shape. But these are expressions of one flame. Similarly, the rose has color, fragrance and shape. But these are expressions of one reality, namely, rose. Water, steam and ice are three distinct expressions of one reality. In the same way one God revealed Himself to us as Father, Son and the Holy Spirit
Recently, I heard that a Mom pregnant with twins felt like she understood the Mystery of the Trinity because there were three separate persons living in loving relationships in one body. Modern physics offer us the quark, a subatomic particle which exists in threes. There is no such thing as one quark, but only three interdependent beings, acting together.
A few years ago, the book and later the movie called the Shack came out. It challenged Christians to rethink the Trinity and it did so in a way which is very apropos for what we are going through now. The story deals with the mystery of suffering and God’s part in tragic situations. In the novel, a trio of strangers visits the main character to help him deal with his anger and grief over his murdered daughter. They reveal their identities: an African-American woman is God the Father, a Middle Eastern man is Jesus the Son, and an Asian woman is the Holy Spirit. That really is creative thinking outside of the box. In reality, it is a metaphor that expresses the essence of the trinity: 3 separate persons in loving relationship. It expresses how we humans are made in the image and likeness of God.
However, every metaphor falls short of expressing a divine mystery.
At the heart of today’s feast is not a solution to a mathematical puzzle of how God could be three in one. The readings that the Church chose for today’s Mass do not explain the mystery at all. Rather, they reveal that our God, who is a trinity of divine persons, loves us and longs to reveal himself to us like he did to Moses on Mount Sinai. It’s the promise that his revelation has the power to melt our hearts and heal our souls. The second reading encourages us to live as the Holy Trinity of Persons lives, that is by encouraging one another, agreeing with one another, living in peace and love. The Gospel reveals a God of mercy and kindness. A God of constant blessing. A God who saves and does not condemn the world. We need to hear that again. God does not condemn the world or punish us by sending a deadly coronavirus as I have heard some say. God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ so that we might believe in His love and mercy. These are the Trinitarian truths he wants to reveal to us on this marvelous Feast day. These are truths that can become the foundation for every aspect of our lives.
May our loving and merciful God bless all of you: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.