Our Triune God

Our Triune God

We need to wonder how shocked Nicodemus must have felt when Jesus broke to him the greatest piece of good news ever: 

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”

Decades ago, we might have noticed those placards, those posters at ballgames simply saying: John 3:16.  

For many Catholics, not familiar with the Bible, that sign might have looked like some sort of cryptic message in code. Or we, ourselves, might have felt annoyed that the person holding it wanted so desperately to be on TV. Hopefully, now we realize that the bold people holding those signs could not keep for themselves the most astonishing news ever. They felt compelled to encapsulate that brief, incredible statement for all those who knew how to navigate through the Bible.

We, Catholics, get used to the crucifix in church, at home, around our neck, in many places. Yet it is the reminder of what God did to prove to us how much He loves us.  

Today is Trinity Sunday! It is time we stop and attempt to wrap our puny brain around the significance of this awesome, historical fact that is designed to turn our lives upside down. Let’s do so as much as it is humanly possible. This is the key for entering into our modest human understanding of the mystery of all mysteries, the Holy Trinity: that 1+1+1 makes one! One God in three Persons, equal in majesty, co-substantial, co-eternal, undivided and totally, continuously interested and completely involved in our history, in our life.

The Book of Exodus (34:4-6, 8-9) already indicates how impossible it is for us human beings to begin to get a decent, half-acceptable grasp of God’s nature. So the Lord simply pronounces His name: LORD!

Everything beautiful, powerful, compassionate, loving, desirable, hoped for is contained in that most holy name. So much so that, out of profound reverence and humble awareness of total unworthiness, the Israelites were strictly forbidden to pronounce God’s name!

“… a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity…” 

All this, God had revealed about Himself before we could direct our gaze at the cross; before He opened His arms on that beam and told us how much He loved us.

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”

The worrying, the confusion, the restlessness of our heart, our fears, our anger, our frustrations, whatever threatens  to overcome us from time to time, are all a clear indication that we have to look again at the Crucifix to find composure and inner calm. Before we can again function as God’s children the way He so deeply desires that we would, we must hear again those words that Jesus spoke that night to Nicodemus.

Hence, we, too, bow down with Moses and worship our “crucified Holy Trinity” and we urge our God to come along with us in our company, as we journey through life (cf. Exodus 34:9). We remind Him that we are still stiff-necked, still stubbornly insisting on doing things our way, on leading our life the way we see fit, even insisting on messing it up quite badly. We remind Him that we need to be pardoned in our wickedness and sins. But, we even dare to demand that He, who is infinite love, receive us as His own even as He could remind us of how many times we declared our trust in Him and we surrendered ourselves into His arms, only to take back control over our life as soon as that trust was tested a little.

This prayer, this form of worshipping the infinite love of our Triune God should be something that comes straight from our hearts because we cannot keep from His attention that we are tired, hurting, disenchanted, concerned and apprehensive even though He would like us always to be serene and trusting in His love.  

We look with envy at little children and how worry-free, how serene, how able to enjoy life they are. There is a message in their trust in their parents. It is the same message that those holding the placard, John 3:16, were so eager to share with the rest of the world. It is as if the Lord would be whispering in our hearts: “Wouldn’t be nice if you felt as happy, as peaceful, as reassured as most children are? Don’t you see, my son, my daughter, that your children are happy and worry-free because they have seen constant, unmistakable signs of your love for them?”

Then, Jesus would continue: “Here, look at my outstretched arms on that cross. They will be opened forever to embrace you and to reassure you. They will never be shaken in a gesture of condemnation because they know nothing but love and forgiveness.”

As we hear these or similar words from Jesus’ lips, we fix our gaze on our Triune God on the cross and rejoice.  

This is what our brothers and sisters from Corinth urge us to do (cf. 2 Corinthians 13:11-13). Not because they are immune to any trouble, but because they have fixed their gaze on the Crucifix. Because they feel that they are the holy ones, sanctified by God’s blood, sealed by the anointing of His Spirit of love.

This must be our way of celebrating Trinity Sunday, by having our life transformed by the knowledge of the ultimate sacrifice of our God. He, the Almighty, cannot do anything bigger than that. If He gave us His only Son on that cross, we shall never be in want of anything else for the rest of our life!

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Written by
Fr Dino Vanin