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5/19/2016 3:15:00 PM
The Trinity Reveals a God of Love

Mary Jo Tully
Chancellor, Archdiocese of Portland

May 22, The Most Holy Trinity
Proverbs 8:22-31
Romans 5:1-5
John 16:12-15

Of this I am sure:  any and every human attempt to express God's self-revelation and our response to that revelation is limited by the simple reality that God is too great for us ever to comprehend much less commit to writing. In the seventies, William Luijpen, a Dutch phenomenologist, wrote a book that may or may not have enduring worth. Its title ought to be cross-stitched and framed. It should be inscribed on banners and every catechist should have one in his/her office. The title is What Can You Say About God, Except God. For most of us, God is always a surprise.

Today’s liturgy is about the greatest surprise of all. We might think that is the Trinity. Instead, I would say it is the infinite love that God has for each of us. Today’s liturgy reveals that love through the mystery of the Trinity.

When we sing “How wonderful your name in all the earth,” we remember the power through which God creates each of us. God is Creator. He has made us little less than the angels. He has shared his life with us.

In the second reading we hear about Redemption. St. Paul tells us “we have peace with God through Jesus Christ.” He goes on to tell us that “the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.”

Then in the Gospel, we have the words of Jesus: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears.”  We need the Spirit to understand what the Church is saying and why it is true.

Today we celebrate a central mystery of our faith--the mystery that defies our language but engages our very being. The Holy Trinity is a doctrine that we do not fully understand but one we experience in our day-to-day lives. Signs of the Trinity are all around us. Most of them make Saint Patrick's use of the shamrock to explain the mystery rather superfluous. Whenever we see a loving family, for instance, we witness the spirit of love that their union creates. So too, the love of the community gathered at Eucharist creates a spirit that enables and calls forth the Holy Spirit. The love we show creates more love and continually forms the spirit that opens us to the special coming of the Holy Spirit.

Our faith rests on the Trinity. We are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that the Trinity is one, that the divine persons are really distinct from one another and that they are relative to one another. In learning about one person of the Trinity, truths about the others are revealed. God’s works tell us who he is. Jesus revealed that God is Father—not simply creator. The sending of the Spirit reveals the full mystery of the Trinity. More than anything else, the Incarnation of the Son and the gift of the Holy Spirit inform us about the divine persons.

To learn the central truths of our faith is to uncover the centrality of the Trinity.

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