Faith And Humility Makes One Spiritually Smart
Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (A)
My dear encountered couples:
Have you ever wanted to appear educated, intelligent, a person who knew what he or she is talking about? Of course, you have. We’d all like to make people believe we are geniuses. We’d all like to be admired and looked up to for our vastness of knowledge. Nobody wants to be considered stupid, or dumb, or out of touch.
Parents who find it difficult to answer the questions of their children know what I mean. Children think their parents know everything. If you’re a parent and can answer even half of what your child asks you, consider yourself smart. If you answer 60 percent you’re a genius. Teachers have the same problem. Few things are more embarrassing for a teacher than to be asked a question by a student and not have a good answer. But it happens more than teachers like to admit. After all, they’re paid to know everything, aren’t they, at least in their particular field? Have you ever had a teacher tell you “Look it up yourself, honey, the research will do you good?” Uh huh, yeah, we know.
Well, today is one of those days for me. Priests and preachers are expected to be able to explain everything about God and religion. But today’s feast is a real mind boggler. It’s the Feast of the Trinity. You know what the Holy Trinity is. Of course, you do - Three Persons in One God. I called Pope Francis and invited him to fly over and explain the Holy Trinity to you. Said he had a previous engagement. Told me to look it up myself.
And so, here I am, just like last year – writing, waiting for words of theological wisdom to drip from my lips, feeling embarrassed, sort of like a catechism with some of the pages missing. I’d really like to unveil the mystery of the Most Holy and Blessed Trinity and make it perfectly clear to you, but to do that, I’m afraid I’d have to bluff it. And I’m not too good at bluffing. I’m tempted to tell you to look it up yourself. But know what? There isn’t a book anywhere on the face of the earth that can explain clearly to anybody the Trinity of Three Persons in One God. There are a lot of books and theologians that try to explain it, that try to help us understand it, but none of them comes even close to the reality. Only God understands it. Only God can ever understand himself - just like only you can understand yourself. And maybe you have a hard time doing even that. That’s what we go to psychiatrists and psychologists for. We pay them to explain us to us.
The only reason we believe there are Three Persons in One God is because Jesus told us so. Jewish people don’t believe it. Jews today believe in only one Person, one God, just as they did back in the days of Jesus. That’s why the leading Jews were so upset with him. Jesus claimed that he himself was God when he spoke of himself as being equal to God, when he said he and the Father are one. They considered such a claim blasphemous and sacrilegious. When he spoke of the Holy Spirit, of sinning against the Holy Spirit, sort of accusing them as having committed an unforgivable sin, they became really confused and angry.
Jesus would have liked to explain it to them, he would have liked to have laid it out clearly to them, but he couldn’t. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God himself could not explain the Holy Trinity to the Jewish people of his day. He who is the smartest and greatest theologian of all times was not able to make even one human being understand clearly about the Three Persons in One God. He just asked everybody to have faith in his words and believe.
That is what we do, because we humans just do not have the capacity of intelligence to understand an infinite God, a God without limits. And so, we have faith in Jesus and take his word for it. Orthodox Jewish people, and those who are what is called Reformed Jewish people, do not have faith in Jesus and, therefore, do not believe his teaching of the Holy Trinity. Do you believe it? Of course, you do. You are a person who has faith in Jesus Christ.
When God through Jesus revealed to us that there are Three Persons in One God he was showing his tremendous love and regard for us. If you love God back - with your whole heart - then you want to know everything there is to know about him. And you want him to know everything there is to know about you. Lovers are like that. Lovers want to hear everything about each other whether they can understand it all or not. God proves his love for us by opening up and revealing his most hidden secrets, his deepest mysteries. What if you went to heaven and found out for the first time about the Trinity? “Why didn’t you tell me?” you might ask God. “Didn’t you love me enough to tell me?” Well, he has told you.
But what difference does it really make in all practicality with our daily living whether there are Three Persons in One God or One Person. Well, it does whether we understand it or not. And when we can’t understand it, and maybe none of us really does, then that’s further proof we aren’t as bright as we would like to have people think we are.
Your accepting things that Jesus taught as being the absolute truth, things you cannot understand nor explain nor see the reason for, not only means you are a person of faith, it means you also possess humility. Since you admit you are not all knowing, which is a fact about all of us, it is smart of you to admit it. For it leaves you open to know things that those who say, “Prove it to me” will never know as long as they keep that attitude. You as a believer in Christ know more than unbelievers know when it comes to spiritual realities. And what is really more important than spiritual, eternal realities?
And so, we have established two things about you. You have faith in Christ, and you have humility. Those are basic qualities necessary for you to be saved. You are already on your way to heaven. Now all you have to do is try to live as Christ taught you to, while depending upon God’s help in order to do it - upon the help of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
If anyone ever calls you dumb, don’t you believe it. For when you believe and live the words of Jesus Christ, you place yourself among the smartest, among the most intelligent, among the wisest people ever to live. Congratulations!