GRASPING MYSTERY

This homily based on John 3:16-18 for the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity was delivered at St. Agnes Church.

St. Anselm of Canterbury came up with a concept that is as much a tongue-twister as it is a brain-twister. He described God as “that than which nothing greater can be conceived.”

Think about that for a minute. It means that there is absolutely nothing that we can imagine that can be greater than God.

Holy-Trinity-Sunday

Mystics–those blessed people among us who have been blessed with such an intense prayer life that they have acquired an intimate knowledge of God–have reached a consensus about the mystery of God: The closer they approach God, they sense, more than ever, their own sinfulness. More than that, the more they get to know God, the more they realize they know so little about Him. This is what St. Anselm means with his tongue/brain-twister. God is simply so holy and so great that His ways are just way beyond us, and He Himself is just way beyond our conception.

The feast of the Blessed Trinity reminds us of how God precisely defies every box we put Him into, how God is such a mystery that we can’t ever completely figure Him out. How can there be one God but three Persons? How can the three Persons be equal and one while remaining distinct? It’s simply beyond any human understanding. There is nothing like the mystery of the Blessed Trinity to remind us just how transcendent and mysterious God is! And for those of us who tend to take God for granted, it is a good reminder!

But I think that’s only one side of the picture. That’s only one take on the Trinity. There is also another way of looking at the Blessed Trinity, and there is also another meaning that we can draw from it. We believe that one of those three Divine Persons, the Son, became human in Jesus Christ–and when our Lord ascended into heaven to “sit at the right hand of the Father,” He did so body and soul. I think this means something really important and radical. Because of the Ascension, something actually changed in the Holy Trinity. There is now also humanity in God Himself! So just as much as the teaching on the Blessed Trinity should remind us of how mysterious God is, it should also make us remember how near God is to us and what we now have in common with with this most Transcendent God. Thanks to our Lord Jesus, God has become one of us because He has gone out of His way to take on our humanity–and to keep it, for all eternity!

So today, Trinity Sunday, we thank God for the love that He reserves for us, a love that not only moved Him to send us His Only Son, as our Gospel reading reminds us, but also led God to take on our very humanity–for keeps!

 

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