|Reading 1||Response||Reading 2||Gospel|
|Dt 4:32-34, 39-40||Ps 33:4-5, 6, 9, 18-19, 20, 22||Rom 8:14-17||Mt 28:16-20|
Trinity: revealed, experienced, lived
On the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, the Lectionary readings trace the human experience of the mystery of God, and how God’s self-revealing words and actions lead us to explore God’s three-fold nature and the mystery of salvation.
In the first reading from the book of Deuteronomy, Moses recounts the mighty acts of God: creation (“God created humans on the earth”), law-giving (God spoke “from the midst of fire” on Sinai, giving commandments to make the people holy), and salvation (what God “did for you in Egypt,” delivering the Israelites from slavery to freedom). In these acts, the chosen people experience God’s three-fold engagement as creator, savior, and caller-to-holiness.
In the second reading from his letter to the Romans, Paul describes how Christians experience God in baptism. We experience God first as an adoptive Father whom we call out to as “Abba.” We experience the Spirit as a witness to our adoption, that as God’s children, we are heirs to God’s kingdom. We experience Christ, our sibling, who shares both his sufferings (death) and glorification (resurrection and eternal life) with us.
In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus commissions his disciples to baptize all nations “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Scripture scholars believe that when Matthew wrote his gospel in the 80s AD, his community was already using this Trinitarian baptismal formula to initiate new members. Their lived experience led them to know God as a caring Father, Jesus as the Father’s teaching and saving Son, and the Spirit as their community’s binding force.
When somebody mentions “the Trinity,” our eyes can glaze over. Explanations are usually full of technical theological words like “person” or “hypostasis,” or strange math where 3 = 1. But theology (the study of God) came centuries after God’s own self-revelation and humans own lived experience of God.
We know God though the way God acts in history, through the incarnate Word we personally encounter, and through the renewing Spirit that permeates our believing communities. Paul greets his ekklesiais with “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit” because he personally experienced the grace, love, and community of the saving God. Matthew’s ekklesia initiates its new members “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” because they personally experienced God in this threefold distinction. Unfortunately, theology’s technical words about the Trinity fail to capture the living God of personal experience.
The Trinity Sunday readings invite us to consider our own personal experience of the Father, Son, and Spirit, a God who reveals an ever-deepening mystery of God-in-relationship. As disciples, do we continue to encounter God by listening to Jesus, by learning from Jesus’ actions how to live, by learning how to pray with the Spirit, and by doing what is pleasing to the Father? Or do we know all we need to about the God who created, saves, and connects us?