Today is the solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. Today we joyfully proclaim our faith in the mystery of the Godhead, the God who has revealed His glory as the glory also of His Son and of the Holy Spirit: three distinct Persons equal in majesty, undivided in splendor, yet one Lord, one God, ever to be adored in His everlasting glory.
The feast that we celebrate today is a great mystery of God before us that we cannot dare to approach with the human mind. Rudolf Otto speaks of this mystery as the ‘mysterium, tremendium et facinans.’ A great mystery that is so beautiful to behold which at the same time is awe inspiring. It has to do with the Judeo-Christian concept of God. In this concept of God, we see our God who is the wholly other. He is wholly transcendent. He is not of our world. He is completely not of our nature, who at same time is immanent. He is closer to us than we are to our selves. As God of mystery, he is omnipotent, that is all powerful who in his Son Jesus Christ assumed a lowly state. He is omniscient that is all-knowing; he knows all our human conditions and enters into our human experiences. He is all-holy and hates sin and evil. He is omnipresent, that is he is present everywhere. He is all-loving. He loves everything he has made and hates none of them. He is God of justice who punishes iniquity and at the same time shows mercy, love and compassion.
In his compassion, he has sent his Son Our Lord Jesus Christ to save the world by bringing his message of love and mercy and by dying to save us. After the divine mission of his son, he has sent us the Holy Spirit to make us holy. This is the God we profess in our belief today as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Three divine persons in One God.
Notwithstanding, the doctrine of the Trinity is one of the most fundamental differences between Judaism and Christianity. This difference illustrates the common saying that ‘many roads lead to Rome.’ Both religions are monotheistic, i.e., they believe in one God. However, as the Jews insisted, Yahweh is one, hence they profess Shema Yis’ra’eil Adonai Elohenu Adonai eḥad; meaning: Hear, oh Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One. The Christians maintain the doctrine of the three ‘persons’ in the same Godhead. For example, the Paraclete texts in John; the Post resurrection commissioning of the apostles in Matthew and many other pronouncements of Jesus as well as his holy church in her history.
The Trinity is a first class mystery. We do not attempt to unravel it. As the German scholar, Ruldolf Bultmann, once put it, we are trying to say the “unsayable” (in German – der Unsagbar). The simple reason for this is that a finite mind is trying to understand the infinite mind. However, we forget that the real mystery begins at the point where our finiteness ends for if we understand, it is no longer a mystery. So, beyond the point of finiteness, the human mind cannot comprehend anymore.
At this point, we may say that it does not make sense. However, the problem is our own making because we are trying to fit a square peg in a round hole like Saint Augustine trying to empty the ocean into a small hole. The Mystery of the Trinity is a reality accepted by faith, experienced and lived out in our lives. It is the foundation of all Christian life and communities. That is why we begin every prayer with the sign of the cross, while invoking the Trinitarian formula.
One might ask how can we approach and worship such a great mystery. In our first reading today, we learn how to approach and worship this great mystery, from the great reverence of Moses. After God reveals his divine attributes, Moses bows down and implores the favor and forgiveness on behalf of the people. In his discourse with Nicodemus, Jesus wants us to understand that the only way to receive and reciprocate to God’s immense love in sending his only begotten Son, for the salvation of the world, is to believe in him. Jesus Christ is the sacrament of our encounter with the Father in the Holy Spirit. We can worship God with great reverence like that of Moses, only by conforming into the image and likeness of Christ. It is only in Jesus that we can have experiential knowledge of the Trinity and live in peace and harmony with one another. May we be deeply rooted in the Trinitarian love and life now and forever. Amen.