Homily for 16 June (Trinity Sunday)
I still have many things to say to you
but they would be too much for you now.
But when the Spirit of truth comes
he will lead you to the complete truth
I invite you to hear the words of Jesus as not just addressed to his first disciples; they are not just addressed to us at the beginning of our Christian life; he speaks those words to us at every moment of our Christian life. There is always truth which is too much for us, truth which we cannot accept because we are in need of conversion, because we need to grow. It is true for every stage of our life. And he gives us the Spirit leads us deeper into the truth. The Spirit leads us into the truth by leading us deeper into the life, the words, the teaching of Jesus. The Father sends his Son and Spirit to lead us through his truth and love back to him.
Today we celebrate the divine relation which is at the heart of faith. The teaching on the Trinity as expressed in the Creed we say every Sunday developed over time and it is not some abstract, esoteric truth.
The creed tells us that there is only one God. So God is nothing like the greek or roman gods. God is not a very powerful and invisible person who runs the universe – he is not a very big version of us. God is the reason for the existence of all that is, but is not another existing thing. God is greater than all creation and is within all creation. And because there is one source of life and reality, there is a unity to the world we experience. It is reasonable and understandable. It is a world in which the sciences are possible.
This one source of being is at the same time a relation of three – Father, Son and Spirit. This threefold relation we have glimpsed, we have experienced in the mission of the Son, Jesus Christ, and the Spirit who gives us life, wisdom, counsel and joy. We experience Father, Son and Spirit because the One God is himself Father, Son and Spirit.
God is one. The threeness, however, is just as important because it tells us that Jesus is God. God did not send an angel or lesser being to save us; he came himself in the Son. The threeness is important because when we receive the Holy Spirit, we are not receiving a lesser being; God himself fills us and brings us to share in his relation of love, life and knowledge.
What we have experienced, what we experience is God himself. When we call God Father, Son and Spirit we are praying truly for so he is. I say ‘he is’ but there is no gender in God.
St Paul, of course, leads into this much better than I can: ‘the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given us’ We receive the Spirit who is God; who frees us and enables us to love with something of the love of God himself – what grace we are given.
And how did this come about? How can we creatures of earth receive the Spirit and call the transcendent, almighty source of all being, Father? We can because Christ, God’s Son, in becoming human has made us his co-heirs, sharers in his life through the Spirit. With him we share in the glory which is his from the Father of all light. Is there anything more wonderful than this faith? Glory be to the Father…