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Trinity Sunday C: June 12, 2022

John 16: 12-15

Fr. John Tran                                                                                                                                  

A friend of mine told me about attending mass in a nursing home. There was a women at Mass who had not spoken much for many years, and more recently only a few phrases. After the consecration, the priest said, “Mystery of faith;” this woman said in a clear voice, “The mystery of faith; What do you suppose he means by that?”, she asked. What a great question. And really, we would have to admit: I don’t know; not really; it is a mystery, after all.

In a way, that is what we are dealing with as we celebrate the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity. The opening prayer refers to the Trinity as “a wondrous mystery.” But, really, what do we mean by that? Much has been written through the centuries by the great theological minds. They have used words like unity of substance, equality of majesty, person, relation and so on. But in the end, we do not know the mystery of the Trinity. Not really. It is a mystery and a matter of faith.

Even though words fail us to fully understand the Trinity, I have always for a hint of meaning in an icon by Andrew Rublev, a Russian artist who painted an icon of three angels sitting at Abraham’s table; this came to be seen as an icon of the Holy Trinity as time went on. In this painting all three persons of the Trinity are the same age, same features, same kind of clothing. What this means to me is an image of relationship in equality, of openness to one another, of interconnection and intercommunication, of individuality and mutuality: in a word, a love that binds together and at the same time frees the figures, that draws in and radiates out at one and the same time.

This is the Trinity of Persons into whom we are plunged in baptism; this is the mystery of divine life which fills us and joins us together. This is exactly the kind of communion that we strive to form here on earth as sons and daughters of God. And from this communion, we are sent to be God’s presence and action in the world. Gabriel Marcel wrote: “Life is not a problem to be solved, it is a mystery to be lived.” The Trinity, a mystery, yes; but a mystery that can be lived by us every day. Our very salvation depends on it. Jesus never tires of telling us this in his preaching and teaching, but most especially showing it by how he lived. He never departed from the love he shared with his Father and his Spirit: this mystery of faith. We are called to provide daily a glimpse of this mystery. “Love one another as I have love you.”

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