Today we celebrate the feast of the Holy Trinity. This is a mystery basic to our faith as Christians – this is the mystery that separates us from the great faiths of Judaism and Islam. They too believe in the one God, the Father of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But we believe that the “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob loved the world so much He sent His Son to the world – not to condemn the world – but in order that the world might be saved through him.” We believe that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob sent the Holy Spirit to us at Pentecost to complete the work of Christ on earth and bring us to the fullness of grace.
We call this a mystery of faith. We are used to watching mysteries on TV, mysteries that are solved in 45 minutes; the rest of the hour goes to commercials. We can’t solve the mystery of the Trinity. As you know a mystery is not something of which we can know nothing, a mystery is something of which we cannot know everything. Even when we see God face to face and know God as God is, we will still be dealing with mystery. Our limited intelligence cannot comprehend the immensity of God.
What this feast celebrates and teaches us is that the inner life of God is a life of relationships. The Father speaks the Word and the Holy Spirit binds Father and Son together in a relationship of love. One author put it this way, “There is otherness in God’s oneness. God is the beholder and the beheld, the lover and beloved.”
One of the ways we image God is our ability to enter into relationships. All our lives are lived in relationships. As we know we do not go through life untouched or un-touching. The life and death of each of us as its influence on others. We were conceived out of parent’s relationship. We grew up in the relationships of family and friends and all through life we will have the possibility of making new relationships. We know from experience that there are good, healthy and supportive relationships and there are unhealthy, abusive and manipulative relationships. We see and know people who are in positive and negative relationships.
Do you remember the movie,”As Good as it Gets”? It starred Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt. He was an obnoxious, compulsive person and she was a single mother waitress, He always insisted on sitting at her tables and she was the only one who could serve him. He wanted to be her friend; she wanted to have nothing to do with him. At one point in the movie she asked him why he wanted to be her friend. His answer was great, ‘you make me want to be a better person.’ By the end of the movie he was a better person, more kind and thoughtful and certainly more accepting of other people, all because of the relationship they struggled to create.
Our relationship with God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit invites us to be ‘a better person.’ Before the world began the Father chose us to be his adopted sons and daughters, such was his will and pleasure. The Father sent the Son into the world, not to condemn us but to embrace our humanity and to teach us, by how Jesus lived and how Jesus died, to love one another. The Holy Spirit gifts us with what we need to grow into the likeness of Christ and do the works of justice, love and peace and so grow to full maturity in Christ.
‘You make me want to be a better person.’ It would be great if that was the basis of all our relationships; that we bring out the best in others as they bring out the best in us.
People, be they family, friend or stranger come into our lives and challenge us to be a better person. They invite us to be patient and understanding, they challenge us to be generous and fair, they call us to be more open and accepting of the stranger, the newcomer. These good people help us to be more aware of the heavy burdens laid of the poor people of our world by our unjust and oppressive economic systems. Their presence in our lives makes us question how fully we live Christ’s commandment; love one another as I have loved you.
This feast of the inner life of God, a life of intimate relationship can bring us to question the healthiness and wholeness of our own personal relationships. Do we make our friends want to be better persons; do our friends challenge us to be a better person? Are we sources of growth and maturity to our friends and do we allow them to help us grow and mature? May we seek the answer to these questions in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.