After celebrating 50 days of Easter and the explosion of the Spirit at Pentecost, we return to Ordinary Time. But today’s feast – Trinity Sunday – is anything but ordinary. It is more than just a mystery. As Fr. John Kavanaugh, SJ, writes, “The Trinity is central to our faith. If we lose it, we lose all we are.” Who is this Trinitarian God? And who are we in this God?
Father, Son and Spirit are the familiar names we use for the Trinity. But the descriptions of God in today’s readings offer us much more. In today’s first reading, Moses describes an all-mighty God who creates a wondrous world. But that is not enough. God is also a personal God who speaks to his chosen people, acts on their behalf, and desires their prosperity forever.
In the second reading, Paul goes even further. He speaks of an intimacy with God, made possible by the Spirit, who gives us voice to speak the beloved name, “Abba.” Finding ourselves in this intimate relationship, we realize we are children of God, siblings of Jesus – heirs of our Father, if we accept and share in our Brother’s fullness of life.
If this seems too much to believe, the Gospel brings us back to reality. We find ourselves with the disciples – worshipping, yet doubting this Jesus who has died, yet is risen. Amid our doubts and disbelief, he calls us to “make disciples of all nations,” in the name of the Father, Son and Spirit. In the name of this relationship of wonder, love and sustenance.
If Trinity’s names for God are too traditional for us, the 14th-century mystic, Julian of Norwich offers us three other names for God. She writes that God has revealed Godself as Maker, Lover and Keeper. God, the Maker and Origin of the universe and of us, calls us to be people of wonder and of gratitude, who take nothing for granted. God the Lover, who is known to us in the divine humanity of Jesus, invites us to love in return. God the Keeper will never abandon us. With such assurance, how can we be anything but people of hope!
Yes, it is a mystery why God would invite us imperfect creatures into relationship. It is a mystery why God should care for us so. It is a mystery why God should offer such personal, unconditional, eternal presence to us. But this is who God is. And if we believe, if we enter into this relationship with God, we are promised an inheritance beyond price: We will never be alone. “I am with you always,” Jesus assures us, “until the end of the age.”
–Mary Flick, CSJ