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The Holy Trinity, Kindness of God

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The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe, Trinity-A, 11 June 2017
Exodus 34:4-6,8-9//2Corinthians 13:11-13//John 3:16-18

The doctrine of the Holy Trinity for most people is an abstract and mysterious concept. Most often, we try to take it for granted as a “mystery” or something that could not be fully explained and understood that must be accepted through a leap of faith. Not really. Though it is really mysterious at how could there be one God in three Persons, it can still be explained and understood in the light of the Sacred Scriptures. The Church had rightly chose to celebrate this Sunday as the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity at the resumption of Ordinary Time to enable us to move from a doctrinal concept to an experience of the Trinity as a community of Persons who love us into eternal Life.

First, let us distinguish two key words of the Trinity, nature and person. Nature refers to what makes something, answering the question what? What is He? God. What are we? Humans. Person on the other hand refers to a relating being that answers the question who? Who created everything? The Father. Who redeemed us from sins? The Son of God, Jesus Christ who became human like us. Who sanctifies or makes us holy? The Holy Spirit. Who is the priest? Fr. Nick. Who is your father? Wilfredo Sr. and so on and so forth. Here begins the mystery of the Trinity: God is perfect that in His nature, He has three Persons. We humans are not perfect that can only have one nature, one person. Every human can only be one person and cannot be anybody else. Something is wrong when an individual has two or three persons in himself or herself which is duplicity or multiplicity that may be diagnosed as schizophrenia or other forms of personality disorders.

In the fourth century, the Church had its first serious crisis when a priest in Alexandria Arius denied the divinity of Christ that consequently imperiled faith in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit together with the equality of the three divine Persons. The heresy is called Arianism that was successively condemned by the councils of Nicaea in 325 and Constantinople in 381 which affirmed and formulated the faith in a Creed we still recite in the Sunday Mass. Arius and his followers could not accept how Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity be truly human and truly divine. One of the beautiful concept from Nicaea and Constantinople is “perichoresis” to describe the relationship of Christ’s divine and human natures. Though it is not found explicitly in the bible, the idea of perichoresis is in St. John’s Gospel which we have reflected during the final three weeks of Easter season when Jesus discussed His unity with the Father (chapters 14-17). Through perichoresis, there is the interdependence and equality of the three Persons in the intellect, will and freedom that they always act in concert as God. While through appropriation we have earlier claimed that Creation is the act of the Father, redemption by the Son, and Sanctification by the Holy Spirit, in perichoresis, these are all acts by the Trinity, by the one God. It is the inner-penetration of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit with one another that they have perfect unity. A perfect illustration of this is watching people dance like in AXN’s “Asia’s Got Talent.” See how members dance and move perfectly together as one bound together by music. That music binding the dancers together in unity is the perichoresis of the three Persons of the Trinity. And the good news is that like in dancing, when the performers are so good, they move us too into dancing so that in God’s perfect love, He invites us to join us in their dance of love by sharing with us His life and divinity in the Trinity.

It is in this aspect wherein even if we may have not seen God, we have all felt Him in our personal experiences as well as in countless moments in history when God revealed Himself in mighty and simple deeds to mankind. God does not prove Himself but simply shows Himself to us, inviting us into His inner life where we feel certain degrees of personal intimacy that is why we pray. We praise God in prayers because we have experienced His majesty and greatness. We ask Him for so many favors in prayers because we have experienced receiving so many blessings from Him, most often things we have not even asked at all. We thank God too because indeed we felt being blessed. And most of all, when we have sinned, we say sorry to God, asking His forgiveness because we have felt His immense love and mercy. These were all so possible and so true especially in the coming of His Son Jesus Christ: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (Jn. 3: 16)

The Trinity as a reality in Christian life has always been in the Church since the very beginning attested to by St. Paul’s usual greeting of “grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and love of God and the fellowship of the Holy spirit be with you all.”(2Cor.13:13) Moreover, St. Paul’s letter today tells us something we always take for granted in every celebration of the Mass which is also an expression of the Trinity: the kiss of peace. “Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the holy ones greet you.”(2Cor.13:12) According to St. Bernard, the Holy Spirit is the kiss of the Father and the Son, the “undivided love, the unbreakable unity” of the three Persons. In the beginning of the short reading from St. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, he calls us all to “rejoice, mend ways, agree with one another and live in peace.” It is a call into the life of the Trinity, of communion or unity of community rooted in God expressed in this “holy kiss” laden with so many wonderful meanings, evoking intimacy and love. We do not kiss strangers; we only kiss people we love, those close to us. Kiss is a sign of kinship among people.

It is very interesting to know that the word “kind” is from the root “kin” meaning “family” and “kinsfolk.” When we say a person is kind, he/she is not only good but most of all, that person is one of us. In the first reading when Moses met God, he cried out to the Lord as “rich in kindness.”(Ex.34:6) Beautiful! Moses praised God because He came into his presence like another person, a kin! He is a God who is one of us, always coming out into the open to invite us into unity with Him in others through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. Therefore, when you kiss, make sure it is because of love and kinship, not like Judas Iscariot and other traitors. The Trinity is a reality of God’s kindness calling for man’s kindness too with others. In spite of our many differences as persons, we can still be one with others in God to grow and mature as an individual and a community because we are all God’s kin in Christ. This is what we always do in every Sunday Eucharist when we shed light on the face and true nature of Jesus whose acts and teachings revealed to us the Father and led us to Him in the Holy Spirit. May we realize this fundamental truth of our faith which is more than a doctrine to understand and memorize but something we have always experienced that needs to be shared.
Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II,
Parokya ni San Juan Apostol at Ebanghelista,
Gov. F. Halili Ave., Bagbaguin, Sta. Maria, Bulacan

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