In other Church memorials, feasts, and solemnities, like Christmas, Easter, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St Francis Xavier, and St John the Evangelist, we celebrate what God is to us; what God has done for the sake of humanity or how God’s grace has triumphed in people. But in celebrating the Solemnity of the Most Blessed Trinity, we are celebrating what God is in Godself, (that is the inner life of God).
We are joyfully thanking God for being God! The revelation that there are three Persons in one God is a Divine revelation. The Eternal God, the Alpha and Omega, the Omnipotent and the Omniscience God lives in communion with Himself – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Gospel of today underscored the unity of the Blessed Trinity when Jesus commissioned his disciples to go and make disciples of all the nations and to baptise them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, (Mt 28:16-20).
This revelation of God as a Trinity took a gradual process. In the past, our ancestors sought for God in shadows, rivers, sun, moon, stars, trees, artefacts and on land. This is known as natural religion. St Paul said that, “since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” for not believing in God, (Rm 1:20). God later revealed Himself to the Israelites as the one true Eternal Presence: I AM, (Ex 3:12).
With the incarnation and birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the second Person in the Blessed Trinity, through the power of the Holy Spirit, the third Person in the Blessed Trinity, the inner life of the one true and uncreated God became manifest. We read in the Gospel of John that “in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” This Word took flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth, (Jn 1:1-14).
God in living in communion with Himself extends that communion with the world by creating the universe, the galaxies, our Milky Way, everything visible and invisible: air, spirits etc. We profess in the Nicene Creed that, “I believe in God the Father almighty creator of heaven and earth, of things visible and invisible.” God the Father created the universe through the Son and in the Holy Spirit.
Genesis 1:1-3 presented us with a rudimentary form of the Trinity. It stated that in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, God’s Spirit hovered over the waters, and “God said, let there be light”. Here we see God the Father, God the Spirit, and God the Word depicted. To restore again the glory of human beings who were created in God’s image and whose glory have been distorted by sin, God the Father sent his Eternal Begotten Son, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to redeem the world. To ensure that we remain in the state of grace God the Father and the Son left their Eternal Holy Spirit with us on Pentecost Sunday.
At times we may struggle with our faith or find it exceedingly difficult to articulate the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Some priests, bishops and laity have struggled to understand the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity. This had led to Ecumenical Councils where bishops of the world would gather to discern faith and moral issues in the light of the Scripture and Tradition. The Council of Nicaea held in 325 AD, contrary to the teaching of Arius of Alexander, that Jesus Christ was not God but created before all other created things, affirmed the divinity of Jesus Christ, by stating that “We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial, (of one Being) with the Father.”
Following disputes on the divinity of the Holy Spirit by Macedonians, the Council of Constantinople in 381AD, affirmed the divinity of the Holy Spirit. The Nicene Creed was then expounded to include not only a simple baptismal confession on our belief in the Holy Spirit, (as we profess in the Apostle’s Creed), but a Holy Spirit who is “the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son, he is worshipped and glorified, who has spoken through the Prophets.”
May the blessing of our Trinitarian God; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
come down upon you and remain with you now and forever. Amen
Fr Chinua Okeke CSSp