MYSTERIES ARE TO BE LIVED NOT PROBLEMS TO BE SOLVED!
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
My dear encountered couples:
To be honest with you, writing a homily for Trinity Sunday is one of the most difficult tasks I face. Throughout the year I preach about events in the life of Christ, or talk about how we are to act in response to the teachings of Jesus, or talk about other aspects of Christian living. Today, however, I must talk about an incomprehensible concept, how it is that three Persons exist together in one trinity of being.
The reality of the Holy Trinity is, of course a mystery. But mysteries can be talked about. They can be described. They have clues that our minds can grasp. But a mystery remains a mystery unless and until we grasp it in its totality, and when it comes to God, we simply cannot grasp the total reality of God.
Mysteries, however, make up a good portion of our lives. Science has its mysteries, as does philosophy, as does psychology, as do other intellectual disciplines. They all have much in them to challenge our minds and our intellectual capacities. All of them contain unknowns within them that move us to seek out their answers.
As a matter of fact, human beings need mystery. We need to be aware of that which is mysterious in life. We need to see that many times mysteries are to be lived; they are not problems to be solved.
Husbands and wives who are truly in love, unite themselves in the mystery of each other. Loving husbands and wives learn more about each other every year, but they also learn that there are those hidden parts in their inner selves that only begin to be recognized after many years of deep love. Husbands delight in the mystery of “her,” and wives delight in the mystery of “him.” They have been ushered into the intimacy of the person whom they love even though it is impossible for them to describe the essence of her husband or his wife. When they treat each other as problems to be solved they get into a whole lot of trouble. And all of this is true in the relationship that parents have with their children.
For all of our efforts to find individuality and uniqueness as distinct persons, we still have an overwhelming need to belong. Belonging is stamped on nature. Belonging is found in everything that exists. Even atoms have protons, neutrons and electrons that seek to belong to each other. It is in their belonging that they cause the atom to be what it is.
It’s hell not to belong. It’s heaven to belong. It’s hell to live with nobody to love us other than our own isolated selves. It’s heaven when we love and are loved by others. God made us to belong. The inner nature of God, in whose image and likeness we are made, is Persons who, however distinct they are, totally belong to each other.
We humans are made to belong in a special kind of belonging. We belong as free persons who chose to live in inter-dependency. While there is a belonging that enslaves, possessive belonging, there is also a belonging that gives us freedom, the freedom to be who we are as persons.
Sin isolates us. The first thing we lose when we sin is the sense of joy - the joy of knowing that we live doing what is decent, right and good. Sin tears apart the fabric of our being, that network in which we belong in love and goodness to others. Sin attacks living in inter-dependency; sin destroys our belonging to others in genuine love.
The concept of the Holy Trinity is a mystery, but not a total mystery. Mysteries, after all, are made up of clues. In a mystery story we pursue and piece together clues in order to see the whole picture. So, it is with the Holy Trinity. We have lots of clues about the Holy Trinity. And when we pursue them and piece them together, we get a good glimpse into what kind of a God ‘God’ is.
He’s all about love. And when we live in love we live in God, and God lives in us. Living in love, however, does not mean we must be the same. There’s a great deal of confusion about this in today’s surrounding culture. Some advocate that so-called “civil unions” should be the same as marriages. Boys and girls are urged to dress the same ways. The “androgynous look” is favored in Hollywood. If we hold to values that differ from others, we are often told that we are mean-spirited hate-mongers who are intolerant and prejudiced. But where is it written that we must be the same as others?
Persons, however, cannot be the same as other persons. The Father is a distinct Person; the Son is a distinct Person; and the Holy Spirit is a distinct person. Distinct though they are, however, they exist in one being of infinite love; they exist in one unbreakable bond, in one infinite union of being together.
While all of that remains a mystery to us, it is not so mysterious that we cannot live with each other in a reality of life that reflects and share in the reality of God’s life. To live a God-like life we must forgive rather than condemn. We must build-up and affirm rather than tear down. We must see the best, not the worst. We must be self-sacrificial and not self-centered. We must be giving rather than grasping. We must offer hope, not in despair. We must heal rather than wound.
All of this is best affirmed and nurtured in what we know of as a family. There is nothing in life that more closely reflects the reality of the Holy Trinity than genuine family life. For it is in a family that we not only belong but also where we discover, nurture, and affirm our own unique and individual personalities. It is a family that make us individuals, and it is we as individuals who make our family.
It is in living the reality of being truly a family that we have a glimpse into the life of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.