Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Our God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three persons, yet one God.
Holy Trinity is the name of one of the parishes in our pastoral region and they celebrate today’s solemnity in a special way today. The Holy Trinity is invoked at baptism as the minister says, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” pouring water three times for each person of the Trinity. The Holy Trinity is interwoven into and praised in many of the hymns that we sing at Mass. The Holy Trinity has one simple prayer, one prayer that is prayed so often, prayed for many different reasons, a prayer that has changed so many lives. It is such a simple prayer that it was the first prayer that many of us learned. It goes like this: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
The Holy Trinity plays such an important role in our lives. Yet it is so complicated: how can our God be Father, Son and Holy Spirit all at the same time? The Trinity is a mystery of the Church that is never really completely understood. Theologians throughout the history of the Church have given numerous explanations of the Holy Trinity. The teachings of theologians can expand one’s understanding, but at times theologians disagree with each other on their understanding of the Trinity.
Theologians say there is large number of heresies one can commit when talking about the Holy Trinity. As I went through the seminary, I took a course on the Trinity where I studied several documents and different views on the Trinity. I passed the course, but honestly, I found the documents difficult to read, and in some ways even boring. I had trouble paying attention to what I was reading and staying awake when reading them. At the end of day, I believe the important thing is not about understanding but rather about believing, having, and developing a relationship with the Holy Trinity. Sometimes I think we can get so caught the small details that we can lose sight of the bigger picture. For example, when I celebrate Mass, I can get so caught up on the minor details on what I am supposed to do, that I forget to pray sometimes.
Our scriptures today focus not on understanding the Trinity but rather on the more important detail of believing and having a relationship with God. We read those famous words from John, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life” (John 3:16). We are promised eternal life not based upon what we understand but because of what we believe. It is with our belief in our God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, that we are promised eternal life. It is in our belief that we develop a relationship with our God. And it is through this development that we gain understanding of the Holy Trinity.
As we celebrate this solemnity let’s not focus on what we do and do not understand. But rather on what we believe and how can we develop the relationship that we have with our God.
To view the full scripture reading, click here.
Fr. Matt Keller, C.PP.S., ordained in June 2018, is the parochial vicar of the Dayton Region Seven parishes, which includes Emmanuel, Holy Trinity and St. Joseph.