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The Feast of a Dogma that Sets Us Free and Gives Us Life

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The Church has just gone through a number of very important feast days: Easter, when Jesus rises, the Ascension of Jesus to the Father, and Pentecost, when the Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit.

Photo credit: Tofin Creations

Photo credit: Tofin Creations

And this past week we celebrated the solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. 

This is a Feast not of an event, but of a truth that the Church says we must believe. Jesus is the truth. And teachings like the Holy Trinity are really manifestations of the person of Jesus Christ. When we believe and accept this, we have life and we have freedom.

In the first reading of Trinity Sunday, from the book of Deuteronomy, we don't have the dogma of the Trinity but we have a very clear assertion: "I am the Lord your God; there is no other." There is one God, period. If you think there's another, you're committing the sin of idolatry. 

So when we talk about the Trinity, we're not talking about three Gods; we're talking about one God. How many Divine Wills are there? Just one will of God. The will of the Father is the same as the will of the Son and the same as the will of the Holy Spirit. They each have the fullness of the will of God. 

We talk about the mind of God. How many minds of God are there? Again, there is just one mind of God.

Some of the things we know about God, such as His existence, we know from human reason. But to understand the Holy Trinity, you have to go beyond human reason. In the reading from Deuteronomy, Moses is calling his people to celebrate the fact that we know things about God that the rest of the world doesn't know. He's saying, "God who fills the whole universe, who is infinitely beyond us, has deigned to talk to us. He has found it worth his time and trouble."

In this reading, we're celebrating the love of God who cares enough about us to tell us these mysteries. He wants to show us and tell us who He is. He wants to enter into a relationship with us. What a blessing!

And if this was a blessing in the days of Moses, it is even more of a blessing to us today, when we have the teachings of Jesus, the history and tradition of the Church, the witness of all the saints and the explanation of the theologians and doctors of the church. 

Do you realize how much God must love us to reveal to us everything about Himself? This is why we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Trinity. God has told us His most intimate secrets. The Gospel for Holy Trinity Sunday finds Jesus saying, "Go baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." But it's not just this verse that reveals the Trinity. 

It's the whole series of events that reveals Him, beginning in November with Advent, when God promises to send the Messiah. A Son being sent by the Father. Jesus always spoke about the "One who sent Me," and says He always does the will of the Father. 

It becomes clearer when Jesus is baptized in the Jordan, when the voice of the Father is heard and the Holy Spirit descends like a dove. At His crucifixion, Jesus said, "Father, into Your hands I commend my spirit." After the resurrection and at His ascension, Jesus says, "I'm returning to the Father," and tells the apostles that "the Father and I are going to send you the Holy Spirit and he's going to remind you of everything that I told you. He's the Spirit of Truth."

But here's the final piece of the puzzle. The celebration of the Holy Trinity teaches us who we are, our destiny, the meaning of love. 

In the second reading from Romans, Paul says those who are led by the spirit of God are sons of God. In other words, we're not just sitting back looking at God from a distance; we are the sons and daughters of God.  The Spirit has entered us, this reading says, and bears witness that we are children of God.

Do you realize how revolutionary that is? God is the eternal, all-powerful Spirit that created and fills the universe and will judge the world. We, who are like specks of dust, get to call him Father! That is astounding!

This is why He reveals to us the dogma of the Holy Trinity, because he wants to make us His sons and daughters. He wants us not just to know Him but to be in Him. He wants us to know of the Son and be filled with the Spirit. It's amazing!

"You will know the truth," Jesus said, "and the truth will set you free." We must  never think that memorizing a list of dogmas is enough. God gave us the dogmas because they give us life, they set us free. We've been baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; we make that sign of the cross because that's our life. That's why we can give life and that's why we can defend life. It's why we can proclaim the truth. Why we can reconcile when there's been division; why we can forgive enemies and why we can ask forgiveness. It's why we can build the Kingdom of God. 

God revealed the Trinity because it's our destiny to sit with Him on His throne.

The Holy Trinity is ultimately about a culture of Life, about achieving world peace and about the gift of heaven. Let us remain, always, in awe of what God revealed to us in the Holy Trinity and pray that we may be worthy of the title sons and daughters of God. May we rejoice and proclaim this gift to all the world.

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