The Most Holy Trinity, Proverbs 8:22-31; Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15 (Year C)
The confession of a God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit is fundamental to faith, and therefore fundamental to the year of faith. What we celebrate on the feast of the holy Trinity is a world called into being, sustained and redeemed in the relationships that we know as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We were created to live in relationship with God and with each other.
The primordial reflection of Genesis, that “it is not good that man should be alone”, continues to define our humanity. We are truly alive only to the extent that we have meaningful relationships with each other, with God and the world that sustains us.
The faith that we share is rooted in the faith revealed in the Old Testament. Today’s passage from the Book of Proverbs struggles with a question that has troubled believers in every generation. What common ground is there between God and man when the holiness and perfection of God are so far removed from humanity’s sinfulness and frailty?
The Book of Proverbs, more by intuition than reasoning, speculated about a divine Wisdom reaching down from the distant God, and in so doing, calling us out of isolation. This mysterious Wisdom, rooted in God and preceding creation, became the meeting point for which we long. “From everlasting I was firmly set, from the beginning, before earth came into being. I was by his side, a master craftsman, delighting him day after day, ever at play in his presence, at play everywhere in his world, delighting to be with the sons of men.”
The depth of this imagery, in which the Wisdom of God delights to be among us, was fulfilled in Christ, the Word and Wisdom of God, who in the beginning was with God, who was made flesh and dwelt among us, in whom we become the children of God.
The Scriptures speak in the language of the heart rather than the precise Trinitarian formulations of later centuries. Thus St Paul unfolds the Mystery of Father, Son and Holy Spirit in terms of a sinful humanity longing for communion with God. “Through our Lord Jesus Christ, by faith we are judged righteous and at peace with God [the Father], since it is by faith and through Jesus that we have entered this state of grace.”
St Paul spoke from his long search for communion with God. The conviction of his former life as a faithful Jew had not brought about the intimacy with God for which he had longed. He had tried, by the virtue of his life, to achieve this, but had been ultimately frustrated by the frailty of his good intentions. Finally, he had surrendered himself to the presence of our Risen Lord, realising that in him, and in him alone, are we brought into communion with the Father. More than this, it was through the Holy Spirit, poured into our hearts, that we are alive in Christ. Here the Trinity is presented in the language of the heart. Christ leads us to the Father. The Holy Spirit engenders our life in Christ.
Jesus, in his final discourse to his disciples, draws us into the mystery of the Trinity. The promised Spirit of truth enables us to understand and embrace our communion with the Father. “Everything the Father has is mine.”
Through the Holy Spirit we understand that we belong to Christ, and that in Christ’s death and Resurrection we belong to the Father.