The Holy Trinity (C)
(Proverbs 8:22-31; Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15)
Our first reading makes clear one most beautiful aspect of our relationship with God: the fact that the wisdom of God is not alien to us; in fact, it is delightful for us to learn of and learn from it, and thereby to appreciate and understand ever more of God’s great beauty and goodness manifested in all His works and to be experienced in all His dealings with us:
Thus says the wisdom of God: ‘The Lord possessed me … the forerunner of His prodigies of long ago, at the first, before the earth. When the Lord established the heavens I was there … beside Him as His craftsman. I was His delight day by day, playing on the surface of His earth, and I found delight in the human race.’
There, Wisdom brings about the closest union between God and man, in that God delights in His Wisdom, and His Wisdom delights in us; and now if we turn to St. John’s Gospel in the New Testament we learn that:
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.
Oh, the wonder of God! The Book of Proverbs, written at least 600 years before Jesus is found to be in such profound harmony with the Gospel of St. John whose words open up for us the marvellous beauty of the wisdom hidden in those Proverbs written to prepare God’s People for the coming of Jesus, so far in advance, so long ago!
But that is not all, far from it! Jesus in today’s Gospel reading assures us:
The Spirit of Truth will guide you into all truth. He will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything the Father has is Mine.
It is indeed, as I have just said, delightful for us to learn of and learn from, to appreciate and understand, the wisdom of God manifested in all His works for us and in all His dealings with us; but it is yet more delightful, indeed sublime, for us to be able to even share in – according to our natural capacity and personal measure – the very life and love that flows between Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for:
The Spirit of Truth will guide you to all truth.
He will guide us into all the truth that is Jesus’ about His Father and all the truth that is the Father’s about His Son; the Spirit will guide us into all truth, truth that enlightens and truth that inflames, truth that guides and truth that comforts; and in all the stages of our growth and spiritual development the Father will be our Goal, Jesus our Inspiration and Companion, the Spirit our Strength, our Hope, and our Guide .
All this is, I say, delightful for us, because, by our very nature we desire and long for happiness, being invited and encouraged to do so by the beauty of the world around us, created for us as our present home and sustenance, and originally, as a veritable garden of delights for our earliest forebears. Now, however, without God’s calling us to Himself we – become fallen, sinful, and weak creatures – too easily imitate our forebears and seek for happiness where it cannot be found and should not be sought: in selfishness and pride, greed and lust, of all sorts.
As our first reading showed us, creation was indeed a joyful work of wisdom and love, and there are bonds of deep compatibility and joyous sympathy between ourselves and the rest of creation because God created the whole universe with mankind as its crown through His Wisdom -- God’s craftsman and delight -- and His nurturing and hovering Spirit of love: Son and Spirit, the Father’s two creating hands! Such bonds with creation, dear People of God, are not just the indirect result of God’s creative activity, they are directly willed by Him for our well-being and creation’s greater good, for mankind is the channel of God’s presence to creation and also creation’s voice for the praise and glory of its creator:
The Lord God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it. The Lord God formed out of the ground various wild animals and various birds of the air, and He brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each of them would be its name. (Genesis 2:15, 19)
Praise the Lord from the heavens, sun and moon, all you stars of light! Praise Him from the earth, mountains, fruitful trees and all cedars, beasts and all cattle, creeping things and flying fowl. Let them praise the Lord for He commanded and they were created. (Psalm 148)
Mankind is part of, and open to, the whole of creation as its custodian before God. He is, however, unique in the whole of creation, in that he is made for, and called to, God; to share in God’s own life and blessedness as His true children through faith in Jesus by the power and working of His Spirit:
God created man in His own image; in the divine image He created him, male and female He created them.
Selfishness and pride, greed and lust -- in all and whatever forms -- are directly contrary to man’s well-being. That is what Our Lord made clear to us when, asked what was the first commandment of all, He answered saying (Matthew 12:29-31):
‘The Lord our God is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.’
There we can appreciate that love of neighbour is associated with and conducive to love of God, whereas selfishness – be it self-love or self-solicitude – is alien to both. Ultimately love of neighbour becomes one with love of God when Jesus Himself is seen as our neighbour ‘par excellence’.
Dear brothers and sisters, we should indeed rejoice and delight in today’s solemn worship of the most Holy Trinity, because of the glory and beatitude of Divine Life and Love being gradually revealed and most marvellously offered to us: with the Father as our ultimate Goal, the Word-made-Flesh our Saviour and Inspiration, the Holy Spirit our Comfort and our Guide ... relationships to which we are invited and being gradually initiated into and prepared for here on earth, through our life as disciples and members of Jesus in Mother Church.
We thank the Father for calling us to Jesus first of all; we love and admire Him for the wondrous beauty of His truth: for Jesus spoke what He heard with and received from His Father; while the Spirit speaks not of Himself but calls to our minds all that Jesus taught us; and for His wondrous mercy and grace in Mother Church and in the secret gifts and sometimes quite personal blessings that keep, inspire, and rejoice each us on our way with Jesus.
We look to Jesus with boundless gratitude for revealing the Father to us, for bestowing the Father’s Promise, His own most Holy Spirit, upon Mother Church and endowing her with His own most precious Body and Blood in the Eucharist; for His total love for us in His sacrifice of absolute commitment to His Father’s will; and for the Church He founded -- His Body and our Mother -- which treasures and infallibly hands down to all succeeding generations the inspiration of His words of wisdom and love in her Scriptures, and lovingly pours out His healing and sustaining grace through her Sacraments of His abiding Presence with us.
We look and listen for the Holy Spirit Whom others can neither see nor hear, but Who is constantly opening our eyes and ears to appreciate and embrace the living memory of Jesus Our Lord, His uniquely life- and light-giving teachings, His Eucharistic and sacramental presence with us at all times and in all situations. We humbly await and even tremulously expect Him Whose presence we can never experience with present awareness but Whose condescension and favour we can most gratefully and joyously recall in the secret depths of our hearts, new-born with the life of Jesus for love His and our heavenly Father.