This Sunday, throughout the entire world, the Church is giving particular adoration to the Most Holy Trinity, which is the central mystery of the Christian faith. In looking at the chronology of holy days, it’s interesting that Pentecost is always followed by Holy Trinity Sunday.
Why would Trinity Sunday follow Pentecost? What lesson is given in this placement of feast days?
In the New Testament, fifty days after the liberation given to the entire human family through the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit was sent and ratified the new and everlasting covenant between God and humanity in Jesus Christ. Among many other truths, this action shows us that the God who ransoms is also the God who seeks fellowship. And there is the link between Pentecost and Trinity Sunday.
In showing us his interior life, God unveils that his innermost reality is a communal one. This truth can surprise us since we oftentimes allow ourselves to think that God is an old man with a long white beard sitting on a throne far away from us.
The Trinitarian revelation, however, refutes this narrow view. God shows us that he exists as a divine family. He discloses to us the dynamism that exists within himself. God is active, “infinitely perfect and blessed in himself” as the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, and yet always acting out of sheer love to share what he already possesses within himself to each of us.
God labors to heal, save, and reconcile. He calls us to fellowship with him. And he has sent his Holy Spirit to reveal this mystery to us, and to extend this invitation to us throughout our lives.
This truth of God can be startling. It can catch us off guard at first, and yet – upon reflection – we can see it played out in our hearts and in human history.
In light of the Holy Trinity, it shouldn’t shock us that in the course of human history, many cultures have fallen into polytheism. Without the help of Israel’s revelation, it would have been an understandable, even if incomplete, move to believe in multiple gods. Such a movement is comprehensible since humanity has always felt a pluralism in its encounter with God.
This sense was accurate and now, by the help of the Holy Spirit, we can see where this sense comes from and the true God who completes it.
Additionally, why is it that we are naturally called to be in a family? Why do we desire to be with each other? Why do we seek to love and be loved, to accept others and to be accepted?
The simplest answer to this question is the Trinity. It is in the image of the Triune God that we are made and – like him – we pine to be with others. It is the divine family that is the exemplar and interior overlay of all that we are and all that we aspire to become (even if we aren’t aware of it).
We are a communal people because we are made in the likeness of a communal God. And so, we are most perfectly ourselves when we are in good relationship with others and with God. And we are less ourselves, and strangers to ourselves, when we are without God and the love and support of others.
With this in mind, we can realize why various anniversaries, commemorations, reunions, gatherings, and celebratory events are so dear to us. Why is it that today we honor our fathers? Why as human beings is this so important to us?
Again, the answer is simple. It’s actually a very human answer. It’s an answer that requires some humility. The answer, of course, is the Holy Trinity. We show our reverence to our fathers on this Father’s Day because we are a family and we live in community. Our families and our communities reflect who we are and remind us that we are the children of a Triune God.
The more we pine to understand ourselves, the more we search for the meaning of life, and the more we stretch ourselves to seek purpose in this life, the more we are led to springboard from our own hearts to a reality that is like us, but beyond us, the more we are pointed to the Trinitarian God who created us, sustains us, and seeks to redeem and sanctify us.
This is the sobering and joyful truth given to us. The journey of life keeps nudging us toward it, and Trinity Sunday is an opportunity for us to discern and celebrate it. We are the children of a Triune God! And this Trinitarian God loves us and calls us to rejoice in a fellowship with him and with those around us.
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