THE MOST HOLY TRINITY – B
The liturgical celebration of the Trinity is based more on a doctrine rather than an event in the history of salvation. The Trinitarian doctrine that we have now comes from the Greek philosophy expressed in the scholastic theological understanding of persons and essence. We therefore try to understand the doctrine of the Trinity as the belief in one God with one divine nature in three divine persons. These three persons are distinct yet they co-exist in unity, are co-equal, co-eternal and con-substantial. Our understanding may sound metaphysical because of the aide of philosophy nevertheless we do not undermine the revelation of the Trinity in the history of salvation through the biblical tradition. In fact, it is through the unfolding of the three Persons of the Trinity in the bible that inspired the biblical authors and subsequent thinkers and theologians to define the doctrine the way we understand it now. Thanks to the inspirations of Origen, Tertullian, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas and Karl Rahner (to name a few), now we can at understand a bit the most fundamental of all the Christian doctrines which still remains an elusive and absolute mystery.
The immanent Trinity which is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as they are related to themselves becomes the economic Trinity when they entered into the history of salvation through revelation. In fact we could say that the history of salvation is nothing but the unfolding or the manifestation of the three Persons of the Trinity who became a Pilgrim-God leading humanity in a pilgrimage towards Himself. The Old Testament records the beginning of what we may call the “footprints of the Trinity” as the three Divine Persons walked through and with the people He loved. But the fullness of the unfolding of those imprints came in the New Testament when the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, became man and literally walked together with His people.
In Jesus we do not just see the revelation of the Trinity but rather He invites humanity to enter into the life of the Trinity. He did not just reveal God as a Father, but our own Father who we can call “Abba”; He did not just reveal the Holy Spirit but was given to us as the “Paraclete”, and Jesus did not just reveal Himself as the savior but our friend. This is quite revolutionary in a sense that finally a religion is here whose God is not just immanent but a real person whom we can relate with. The gospel this Sunday reminds us the mission of Jesus entrusted to the Church: “Go therefore, make disciples of all nations; baptize them in the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit.” Our mission is to let the whole world know the presence of God as the Trinity and to bring all peoples into this Trinitarian life: that God is our Father; Jesus is our Savior and friend and the Holy Spirit is our sanctifier.
Unless we enter into a personal relationship with the Father, with Jesus and with the Holy Spirit, the Trinity will remain a boggling mystery which is confined only to the domain of the mind. As this Trinitarian life penetrates every stratum of our being, we are challenged to translate it to make a difference in the lives of other people and eventually the world!
Through us and with us, the Trinity continues to walk as a Pilgrim-God until He brings all His sons and daughters back to His womb.