THE MOST HOLY TRINITY
“God is one and God is three” was the very first lesson I learned in my catechetical class when I was seven years old. When I studied theology I learned that that was the shortest definition of the Trinity: one in Substance yet three in Persons.
There are only three monotheistic religions in the world that began with Abraham: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. What distinguishes Christianity from the two monotheistic religions and the other religions in the world is the doctrine of the Trinity. The Trinity is central in our Christian belief, that is “the one God exists in three Persons and one substance, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”
In the Trinity we believe in God who is a communion and a family of love. If God is love, the Father is the Lover, the Son is the Beloved and the Holy Spirit is shared Love. We believe that this One God revealed Himself in pilgrimage with His pilgrim people towards Himself. The whole economy of salvation is nothing but the unfolding of God in a progressive and continuous revelation of His being and love to us.
We see in the New Testament the fuller revelation of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit through the events in the life of Jesus. There are two biblical events when the three persons were made manifest at the same time namely the Baptism of Jesus and the Transfiguration. Mt. 28:19 mentions the Father, Son and Holy Spirit which became the basis of the formula of our Christian baptism. The doctrine the way we understand it now was not yet defined during the time of the writing of the books of the New Testament. St. Paul already had the implicit belief but the synopticists St. Matthew, St. Mark and St. Luke did not give us a clear understanding yet as to the doctrine. Even St John who had the most developed Christology among the New Testament writers was still groping in defining the doctrine.
Tertullian was the one who introduced the terms trinity, substance and person to explain that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are "one in essence or substance but not one in Person.” About a century later, in 325AD, the First Council of Nicaea established the doctrine of the Trinity confirming that Jesus is begotten and of one substance with the Father (we say in the creed: consubstantial).
The mission of Jesus is not just to reveal to us the three persons of the Trinity but to bring us into the Trinitarian life. Our understanding of the doctrine will only be academic and philosophical unless we enter into a personal relationship with each of the persons of the Trinity: God as our Father, Jesus as our Saviour and the Holy Spirit as our Sanctifier. Eternal life is nothing but our full communion into the divine fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our celebration today reminds us of this profound truth.
Let us ask Mary, our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity to bring us into the fullness of the Trinitarian life....