TRINITY SUNDAY: JUNE 6, 2020
Listen, my friends, for I am going to tell you all the secrets of love. Are you laughing at me yet? Or do you feel pity for me? Who I am to tell you about love? Love is the inescapable goal of our lives, that always seems so near and yet so far. Love may be the very energy that sustains life and is the force of evolution. The best summary about love is that it is a great mystery.
The same can be said about God. The divine is great mystery. We try to bring God down to our human ways of understanding all of reality and humanity in particular. But God exceeds all our attempts at imaging and understanding. Yes, God is like a father but also like a mother but neither metaphor captures who God is. The Christian revelation tells us this God is a triune divinity, three but One. Now that is even a greater mystery.
Some people dismiss Christianity for holding such a belief. Gilbert Keith Chesterton, apologist of the past century, believed it was proof of Christianity for no human founder would hold up such a mystery.
Love and a Triune God. Are they really different? The first letter of John says that God is love. A mystery explained by a mystery. But maybe seeing their similarity opens up some of this mystery for us.
The Three-in-One God is love because God is pure relationship, three mutual lovers pouring out their love for one another in an eternal dance. It is a dance of pure and complete emptying of the self into the another, nothing held back.
The Triune God also emptied itself in creation. Everything and everyone is the result of God’s lovemaking. The entire physical cosmos is an act of God’s love. Creation is an extraordinary mirror of giving and receiving, of everything connected, everything in relationship. Quantum physics and modern science have made clear what the mystics have always known.
The great biodiversity of the animal world echoes the diversity in the unity of creation. Humans are part of this creation relationship too but we have the freedom to acknowledge it or not.
The great pandemic in today’s world reveals our interdependence and need for each other to deal with the crisis. We can’t go it alone unmindful of the rest of the world. We are in it together. We thereby are making visible the unity in diversity that is God.
The diversity of peoples on this earth is shown in various cultures, races, ethnic groups, genders. When we stop seeing other groups as “The Other” and see ourselves in them, we are expressing the unity that Jesus prayed for. And when we look down and oppress black or brown people, or native indigenous peoples, we are giving mockery to the unity of creation and the unity of God. Hopefully, not only in our country but in the world, we may be waking up to the hypocrisy we have indulged in. White people like to profess “All Lives Matter” which is true but the fact is that black lives have not mattered and we need to acknowledge now that Black Lives Matter. We sin against our common humanity and against God when we deny this in word or deed.
Our Trinitarian God who pours out mutual and unconditional love is made visible in the many doctors, nurses and medical staff, as well as first responders, who are pouring themselves out for the sake of the thousands who have been afflicted with COVID-19.
Our Trinitarian God is made visible in the many who are faithfully engaged in the implementation and promotion of Pope Francis’ Laudato Siencyclical, pouring themselves out for the sake of healing our planet earth and its environs.
Our Trinitarian God is made visible in the many who are exposing the racism and intolerance eating away at the soul of this nation, promoting racial justice on every level of society.
Our Trinitarian God is made visible in the many who pour themselves out for affordable housing, universal health care, equally-funded national public school education and college education available to all.
Our Trinitarian God is made visible in every one of us when we choose the way of love, compassion, acceptance of all peoples and the dismantling of walls that separate us.
Our Trinitarian God of inter-relationship is encountered and celebrated in the central ritual of our faith lives, the Eucharist, through, with and in Christ, through, with and in each other. It is at the table of Holy Communion we are plunged into the Mystery of unlimited love and then are sent forth to live it!
Fr. Timothy Joyce, OSB, STL