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Once three men were enjoying a hearty dinner. One was German, the other American and the third was Filipino. As they were eating, they noticed pesky flies swarming over them. When the insects became too bothersome, the German couldn’t take it. He unsheathed his spear and, with one slash, beheaded a fly, and it fell on the table. The American, not to be outdone, also took out his spear, and with one aim, he struck a fly and cut it in half right in the middle. The Filipino, too, didn’t want the two to outdo him. So he also took out his spear and hit the fly.

The German and the American were not impressed. “It is still flying,” they said. The Filipino retorted, beating his chest, “Yes, but I assure you that that fly won’t be able to reproduce anymore.”

Forgive me for being immodest or irreverent with that joke. But sometimes, I think we deal with the Holy Trinity in much the same way we deal with flies. When confronted with something we cannot understand, we dismiss it. When we are confronted with something that we cannot change, something that breaks our hearts, we abandon it altogether.

The mystery of the Holy Trinity has been the object of many master’s and doctoral dissertations, lectures by theologians, discussions among priests and even laypeople. For some, the mystery of the Holy Trinity cannot be understood, so what do they do? Like the German, who beheaded the fly, we swat it out of our life and render it useless. And because we cannot understand, we say God is dead. He does not exist.

On the other hand, some among us are very analytical; and in being analytical, we dissect the fly and see what is inside the fly. But in dissecting, analyzing, and looking at what is within, we also kill the mystery in the end. The mystery of the Trinity is not for analysis; it is not for beheading to render it useless. It is not for dismissing outright just because we do not understand it.

But some say, “We cannot understand it. Let it be. As we do, let the fly just fly. We don’t bother with it as long as it no longer reproduces. Provided the Holy Trinity does not affect our lives, does not touch our pockets, let the Holy Trinity be the Holy Trinity. I don’t care.”

But the Holy Trinity is not a mystery to be analyzed. The mystery of the Holy Trinity is not simply to be studied. The Holy Trinity must be lived. When people forgive one another, when people live for one another, when people obey in freedom, when people lay down their lives for one another, even if we cannot understand the Holy Trinity in our minds, we have understood the Holy Trinity in our lives, and that is enough.

Perhaps in God’s time, when we see God face to face, we will be able to understand the mystery of the Holy Trinity. But right now, while we are walking here on earth, ours is not to try to understand, ours is to try to live by the love that binds the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. As Thomas A. Kempis said, “What is the use of understanding the mystery of the Trinity when we cannot live the love that binds the Holy Trinity.”

Rom 8:14-17; Mt 28:16-20
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