Our Prior, Fr. Joel Macul shares his homily for Trinity Sunday:
Deuteronomy 4:32–34, 39–40
Trinity Sunday is about mystery, the mystery of our God, the God of us Christians. Trinity Sunday is not really a celebration of a dogma or doctrine or the Church’s teaching. Dogma is a statement, a distilled statement of the content of belief. One studies a statement to find out its meaning. But behind the dogma is a mystery. That is what our gathering here today is about. We are about acknowledging and celebrating the living God as community, as community of persons. That community of persons that is our God is what we are remembering and celebrating today. However, if we take the word that we have heard this morning seriously then we cannot speak and hence cannot celebrate the mystery of our God as communion without at the same time acknowledging that we are also a community with that God. The story, the tale of God as community, as Trinity, is a story that includes us as part of that community. The story of Trinity, the story of the community of Father, Son and Spirit is a story of love that reaches us and includes us. The experience of our God is an experience of God bringing us into that communion and making us a people with him. If we profess God as Trinity, as a community of persons, we are also professing ourselves as having a share in that communion, in that life, in that love.
The gift of today’s feast is clear. God is all about relationship, about community. God is one in being together. God is all about relationships. To profess God as Father, Son and Spirit is to profess God as essentially relational. When this God touches the human story, God will touch it as community. When God touches humanity, then he reveals himself as an open community. God will slowly draw humanity into his own community. If God is fundamentally relational, and that is what belief in the Trinity means, then God will bring humanity into that relationship.
Each reading today makes it very clear that God is about making relationships happen between him and humanity and among members of humanity. Moses reminds Israel that the wonderful events of the Exodus are people forming events. God is making a nation for himself out of these people. It is unheard of that a god should set about making a nation, a community for himself out of human beings. But our God is a people- forming God. He does it by fighting on our behalf, by liberating us, by speaking to us directly, by giving us his word. What is unique about our God? He stands with us, shapes us into community and then guides our frail human condition to its ultimate communion with him. Trinity means involvement, commitment, covenant.
Paul explains how God builds on this first people-making event of Exodus and Sinai. God moves to a more intimate level than just a nation or a people. God moves toward the intimate relation of son and daughter. Now the relation is one of kin, or sharing a likeness. We have become relatives of God. This happens through God’s own Son, Christ. It happens through Jesus our brother. When we join him in his self-emptying on the cross, then we will share in the life of our brother Jesus. The mystery now is that God chooses to become human. When God becomes human, we who are human are now open to sharing in the heart of God himself. Paul calls it adoption as children of God. In the Spirit of adoption, we are now able to actually say who God. We find our voice and say, “Abba, Father.” This word given us by the Spirit expresses the intimacy and familiarity that is ours with God. God has made us his kin, his relatives.
Where does involvement in this relationship with a relational God begin for you and me? It begins at baptism. We are accustomed to receiving a new name at baptism: a saint or the name of an ancestor. What we often forget is that the name we actually receive is the name of our God. Baptize them, says Jesus, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. We are baptized into a communion of persons; we are baptized into a relationship of love and creativity; we are baptized into something alive and active. We are baptized into the mystery of God. We are baptized in the name of Father, Son and Spirit. This is our identity; this is the source of our very life.
Those of us who have been given this identity also receive a task, a mission. We are to live our discipleship with Jesus in such a way that all humanity will be drawn into the mystery of the relationships in God. Make disciples of all nations—the Trinity is open and all embracing. Social and cultural boundaries are dissolved. Nationality, ethnicity and gender are not the defining identity. Plunged in baptism into the Triune God, that God and living with that God becomes our identity.
The wonder and mystery of the Trinity is that now we are not only God’s very own children but that we can and must live with others in such a way that they will recognize that they too are brothers and sisters of Jesus and ultimately children of God.
Joel Macul, OSB