Jesus said to his disciples: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he come, 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, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.”
Today is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. What can one say about a mystery so profound? The temptation here is just to say what we believe about God, that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three Persons in one divine Being, and then sit down. There is the story of St. Augustine of Hippo walking a beach one morning contemplating the mystery of the Holy Trinity. He comes across a boy who had dug a hole in the sand and was going back and forth to the edge of the sea with a bucket, filling it with water, then pouring the water into the hole he had dug. Intrigued, St. Augustine asked the boy what he was doing. The boy explained that he was going to fill his little hole with all the waters of the sea. St. Augustine smiled and told the boy, “That is impossible. The sea is so large, and your hole is so small.” The boy looked into the eyes of the great bishop and theologians and told him, “I will sooner accomplish my mission than you will understand the mystery of the Trinity.”
The Trinity is the beginning of our Catholic faith, the first article of Catholic faith. The existence of God is not an article of Catholic faith because you don’t need faith to know that God exists. Reason demonstrates the existence of God. Faith is what we believe about the God whose existence reason demonstrates. Belief is the language of faith, but we know that God exists. Atheism is irrational. The evidence of God’s existence in the order and intelligibility of Creation is overwhelming. In our first reading, divine Wisdom boasts, “When the Lord established the heavens I was there, when he marked out the vault over the face of the deep; when he made firm the skies above, when he fixed fast the foundations of the earth; when he set for the sea its limit, so that the waters should not transgress his command; then was I beside him as his craftsman, and I was his delight day by day…” St. Paul, in his Letter to the Romans, writes, “Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made.”
As such, our creed does not begin, “I believe in God…” Our creed begins, “I believe in God, the Father almighty…” There’s a comma there, not a period. “I believe in God (comma), the Father almighty.” You don’t need faith to know that God exists. You do need faith to believe that God is our Father. That is the faith of the Church, that God is not simply a disconnected Creator, making the world than leaving it to itself. No, God is deeply involved in His creation, and especially in us, whom He made in His image and likeness. This is why we have a great responsibility to care for creation. God has made us His stewards, and we will answer for how well we carried out our responsibility.
Why do we believe that God is our Father? Because He has revealed this to us in His word and in our encounters with Him. In our modern world, many are convinced that we cannot know whether God exists and, even if He does, we cannot know anything about Him. The ancient Hebrews thought differently, and so do we Catholics. We believe that God is the source to the answers for the great questions of life: “Who is God? Who are we? Where did everything come from? Why is there evil in the world? Why do we die? Is there hope for us, after all? We believe that God is the source of the answers to these questions, and that God has revealed the answers to us. We can know God, and we can know the truth about God, though we can never pretend to fully comprehend the mystery that is God. Knowing the truth about God, we can know the truth about our world and ourselves.
We have confidence in the truth of God’s revelation because we have confidence in the one who has revealed God to us, our Lord Jesus Christ. We trust in Jesus. Jesus says in today’s Gospel, “Everything that the Father has is mine.” Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, will guide us to all truth. The Father has given the truth to the Son, and the Son is glorified by the Spirit, because the Spirit reveals the truth given to the Son by the Father.
Jesus said earlier in the Gospel of John, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (Jn 8:31-32). The Holy Spirit helps us fulfill the challenge to remain in Jesus’ word and to truly be His disciples, to know the truth and to be set free by that truth. Again, we can know the truth of God because He has revealed His truth, and we trust in that revelation because we trust in Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life. Jesus is the Word of God. Jesus is the Wisdom of God. Jesus is the Truth of God, and He has revealed that truth to us through the Holy Spirit, who assists us in understanding and living according to God’s truth revealed to us in Jesus.
Here is the one truth revealed to us by Jesus that I hope all of us can embrace on this great solemnity: God is love, and He loves us, each of us, deeply and passionately.
Love is always about relationship. When God revealed Himself as love, He revealed the Trinity, the union of love between the Father and Son that is so real we give it a name: the Holy Spirit. This is why marriage is a reflection of the Trinity, because the love between the husband and wife is so real that you give it a name, Bernadette, Genevieve, Felicity, George, Joseph, Edward. Our great hope is to one day share in the very nature of God, where the love of the Trinity consumes us, that we become so absorbed in divine love that our humanity is fulfilled, and we become, finally, all that we were meant to be in the first place.
To you, O blessed Trinity, be worship and honor, glory and power, praise and joyful adoration through eternal ages. Amen.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.