Today is Trinity Sunday. So what would you expect me to preach on? Perhaps you might be awaiting the story of St. Patrick with the three leafed shamrock or, if your expectations are a bit more refined, you might be awaiting an exposition on the history of the homoousios in the Nicene Creed.
Well, be not afraid, for I would suggest that the real reason why the Church celebrates a Sunday devoted to the Blessed Trinity is not so much to engage in theological speculation, as to describe how you and I can participate in the very life of God.
It’s all about relationships. It’s all about loving. Because God is love. He told us so, total, giving, self-sacrificing love. The kind of love that means sacrifice, giving up what I want. to give you what you need.
Love.It starts at the heart of the mystery, which we celebrate today: the mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity. It starts with a Merciful Father, who creates the world out of love; And an Only-Begotten Son, love incarnate, who is born and dies and rises from the dead to redeem that creation. And the Holy Spirit who moves all things toward unity and truth in love.
Three persons, three images of love in one God. Saint Thomas Aquinas explained it like this: The Father loves the Son with a paternal, creative love; The Son loves the Father with a filial love which empties the self of all self-interest even unto death, death on a cross. And that love between the Father and the Son is what we call the Holy Spirit….Three persons in one God.
And to live in God, is to live in that love, to be caught up in that Three Persons who are one God because the Father is love, the Son is love, the Spirit is love. “God is wholly and only love, the purest, infinite and eternal love. He does not live in splendid solitude but rather is an inexhaustible source of life that is ceaselessly given and communicated.”*
Think of the moment of creation, when through his co-eternal Son, God created all that is, out of love for us.
It starts with the creation of the light and the seas. You remember what it was like before creation…there was chaos on the face of the earth and darkness. And God breathed his breath upon the chaos and the seas were separated from the dry land, the light from the darkness and life began to be.
The word for God’s breath, for breathing, is the the same word for for wind or fire in Hebrew. The word is ruah. The breath, the wind and the fire of God, the Holy Spirit brings life.
And then God created us. Another word in Hebrew. Adamah. It means dirt. Do you remember how God created man? He took a handful of adamah and he breathed the ruah into it, and Adam was born. We are nothing but dirt with the breath of God added in!
I understoof that the first time I saw a baby born……and the same was true the first of so many times when I stood with a family as someone died, as we waited for that last breath to leave their bodies, for the ruah to return to God from which it came.
This, then, is what we affirm in the celebration of the Blessed Trinity, and each time we make the sign of the Cross: that we have been created in the love between the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, that we might live in that same love on this earth, and be worthy to praise his glory in heaven for ever and ever. Amen.
* Pope Benedict XVI, 7 June 2009.