The Trinity: An Image of Unity and An Image of Diversity

Christians seem to accept the mystery of the Trinity without much question or need for explanation.  It is simply said … it is a mystery.

There are attempts to “explain” the mystery with certain images — like the three leaf glover — one clover, three separate leaves —

Or, an image of relationships —

I am a son — to my parents

I am a brother — to my siblings

I am an uncle — to my nieces and nephews.

I am only one human being, one man — yet, I am son, brother, and uncle.

Analogies help — but they all fall short.  Christians proclaim that there is but one God — yet God is three distinct, equal persons — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

All persons were together from the beginning — yet the Son was born in time and the Father and Son together, sent the Spirit.

We can’t figure it out — we can’t explain it — we accept it.

St. Paul taught us that there is but one body — with many parts.  The eye cannot tell the ear that the eye is more important because it can see and the ear cannot see.  The leg cannot tell the arm it is more important because it is used in walking — and while we might walk with our hands for a short time — we appreciate the role the arms play in the functioning of the body.

St. Paul goes on to say that there are many different gifts — but one Spirit that gives all gifts — for the good and proper functioning of the body/the Church.

What might God be teaching us in this mystery of the Trinity …

For one thing — that God, in God’s nature, is a relationship.  God IS A RELATIONSHIP — of different people… Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  It is said in poetry that “no one is an island” — that we are at our fullest, our best when we are in relationship — with another, with others. Yet, one member of the family unit is not the same as the other members of the family — and none are exactly like any other.  There comes a point when we realize that we are intended to complement one another — we need another or others to complete us.  There comes a point when we realize that because we are different, we won’t think or feel or dream or scheme like the other(s).  We all think, feel, dream, scheme, plan — but differently — AND that is ok.

Maybe a second thing is to take the idea of being different a little farther into our world –and to recognize the diversity of mankind.  Any of us who have traveled know that we are just a little different — because we are from the north or the south — the northeast or the northwest or the midwest. Our food is a little different — sometimes there are even recognizable accents that differentiate us.

Then you look at the differences among nations — folks from Asia or Africa — from Europe or the Scandinavian nations.  What about the Irish and the Italians?

Our ancestors might have a difficult time with the people of Germany or Japan because of World War II.  How could we ever be friends with those nations that caused so much pain, suffering, and death all over the world?

Right now, our nation is torn — we are divided by our differences.  Differences are dividing us.  It appears to many that the pot has been near the boiling point for years and years — perhaps for decades and decades.  But now, it is boiling over and making quite a mess.

Maybe this weekend the mystery of the TRINITY calls us to go beyond our differences to seek a common ground.  We have often said — if we plan on spending eternity together, why can’t we start living and working together now —- different — very different at times — but united in a quest for peace and justice and equal opportunity.

In the Book of Exodus (34:4-9), the Lord standing with Moses proclaims that, “The Lord, the Lord, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity”, stands before us — a stiff-necked (righteous) people — and we want God to accept us as his own —— AND SO DOES EVERY MAN AND WOMAN OF FAITH AROUND THE WORLD — regardless of what that faith might be — or if the faith has a denomination or not.

Because we live in a country that professes to be predominantly Christian — we can forget that is not so in light of the world’s population.  Just go to Japan — less than 1% — less than 1% of the population is Christian —and we believe that God loves all equally.

St. Paul (2 Cor. 13:11-13) challenges us to mend our ways — to encourage one another — agree with one another, live in peace —–WOW, THAT IS A TALL ORDER!

But, if we begin with the man/woman in the mirror — that is the place to begin.  Let it — the quest for peace begin with me — choose not to argue — choose not to belittle — choose not to decide who is right or wrong ——- be just and fair — respect others as we want to be respected — believe that racism in any form is sinful and evil — it is not just white against black — it can be black against white — or America against everybody else.

Each of us is God’s beloved — yet no one is. God’s favorite.

Then, John’s Gospel (3:16-18) gives us one of the most known of all of the Christian Scriptures — God so loved the world — loved the world — that he GAVE his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish, but might have eternal life.

Believing in Jesus is much more than reciting or praying a Creed.  Believing is seeing and doing as Jesus saw and did.

As we pray for an end to violence in our country — and as we resolve to be non-violent, we pray and resolve to treat everyone as a child of God.

We are different — and differences will always exist.  We think differently and do differently.  We like different things and value different things.  We believe different things.

As ripped apart as we might be at this time — I and others — see men and women of all colors and shades of color locking arms together to march peacefully.  Those of us who lived through the 60’s and 70’s know that the diversity of the marchers is different today than it was back then.

God is not going to come down here and straighten this mess up.  He is expecting us to do it.  May the fellowship of the Holy Spirit bring us together to build a better tomorrow.

We do this: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

 

HJM

 

About thegospelforliving

Retired Catholic Priest - now serving the community as a paralegal and charter school consultant.
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