Homily for June 3, Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. Most of our major liturgical celebrations are related either to specific events – like Christmas, Easter, or Pentecost – or to people that we can easily picture and connect with certain images, stories and places, like Mary the mother of Jesus, Saint Peter, and St. Paul. The Holy Trinity is one of the few exceptions, because we are celebrating God as both One and Three, something that is beyond our full comprehension.
No one image can adequately express this truth of our faith (although symbols can help, like the triangle or the shamrock). Nor is the Trinity tied to any one specific place or period of time. All three Persons of the Trinity have been involved with the history of the world and of salvation. The Father is the Creator of all things visible and invisible, and He sent the Son to redeem us. Most of our prayers in the Liturgy are directed to Him, because Jesus told us to pray in His name to the Father. The Son is He through Whom the Father made all things. The Son is also our Redeemer, who remains with us, living and active especially through the Sacraments. The Holy Spirit spoke through the Prophets, and is our Consoler and Advocate Who guides the Church and strengthens each one of us with His gifts.
In the words of the Catechism, “The whole history of salvation is identical with the history of the way and the means by which the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, reveals himself to men “and reconciles and unites with Himself those who turn away from sin” (CCC 234). So, celebrating the Trinity is like celebrating everything that God is and has done for us. This is all well and good, but it also helps if we can focus on something specific to make this celebration more concretely related to our daily lives.
The book of Genesis tells us that we are made in the image and likeness of God. That phrase is interpreted in varying ways. It can’t be taken too literally; the Holy Trinity as such has no body, so we are not made in His image the way a statue is made in the image of a famous person. But one aspect of God we are made to reflect is His love. The Father and the Son are one in Love, and the Holy Spirit is often spoken of as being the very Love of God Itself, so great that it is a Person. God loves Himself, and He loves us. We also are made to love – and our love should go in three directions.
First of all, we are to love God above all things. We show that love by giving God priority in our lives. That means spending time with Him through the Sacraments and personal prayer, and obeying His commands. Secondly, we are to love God in each other. There are many ways of doing that, as we well know, but what it boils down to is an appreciation for the good in other people and a willingness to make sacrifices for them.
We hear about these first two kinds of love fairly often; but thirdly, we should have a proper love of ourselves. This is not the same thing as selfishness, egotism, or self-indulgence – the false self-love which is so common in our world. Rather, it means recognizing that every one of us is a creation of God’s love, and is lovable despite our sins and our weaknesses and defects. Sometimes we can be very hard on ourselves and feel that we need to prove our value to ourselves or to others. God already proved our value by creating us and by dying for us on the Cross. Our happiness should not depend entirely on other people affirming us. We need to accept and love the goodness God has placed in us, and do our best to bring that goodness to its fullest realization; that will make us truly happy. We do that by seeking God’s will in our lives, conquering sin and growing in God’s grace.
As we celebrate the Blessed Trinity, the source of all love and goodness, let us remember that the Trinity is not distance, but dwells in our hearts. With God’s help, may we each strive to be a better image of God, reflecting that love and goodness in all that we say and do.