Deut 4:32-34, 39-40; Rom 8:14-17; Matt 28:16-20
There was story about a man who was suspected of being out of his mind, climbed a tree. Many were worried about this. So they shouted at him to go down from the tree but he did not. They called the barangay captain to convince him to go down but he was not convinced. They called the mayor but it’s hopeless. Finally, they called the old parish priest of that place.
So they old parish priest went to the place and they asked him to make a blessing if in case he will fall down and die. So the priest made the Sign of the Cross. After a while the man went down from the tree and the people were surprised why it happened that way.
They asked the priest why he was able to convince the man to come down by making the Sign of the Cross. The priest told them: “No, I did not convince the person to come down. I just say, ‘If you will not go down (tracing a vertical line), I will cut this tree (tracing a horizontal line in the air). After that he came down.”
Today is Trinity Sunday. This celebration of the Solemnity of the Blessed Trinity had started since the 10th century. The idea of the Trinity is not explicitly stated as a doctrine in the Sacred Scriptures. But implicitly it is stated many times. Even the early Christians discovered later that they simply could not speak of God without speaking of the three ways in which He had revealed Himself to them. This does not mean that there are three Gods. It means that there is only One God who has shown Himself in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Let me begin by saying that the doctrine of the Trinity does not attempt to explain God. It only explains to us in a very elemental way what God has revealed to us about himself so far. To describe the tip of the iceberg above the water is not to describe the entire iceberg. So we Christians affirm the Trinity, not as an explanation of God, but simply as a way of describing what we know about Him.
According to Fr. Bel San Luis also in his book on homily said that of all Church doctrines, the one of the Blessed Trinity is perhaps the hardest one to explain. He said: we say 1+1+1 equals 3 but if we apply this mathematical equation to the Blessed Trinity, it is like this: 1+1+1 equals 1. The law of mathematics here could not be applied. In other words, we believe that God is one nature but three persons, but the full meaning of these words is far beyond our poor comprehension. However, the Trinity is unique model and sign of harmonious unity – a unity God expects to see in the daily lives of His children.”
Today’s gospel also, makes us to reflect on one of the basic truths of our Catholic faith, that in the One God they’re Three Divine Persons, distinct but equal, we invoked based on the Gospel as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Let us try to discuss these truths one by one.
God is One (Ang Dios ay ISA). Pope Paul VI described the dogma of the Blessed Trinity as “infinitely beyond all that we can humanly understand”. This Holy Trinity is One in the sense that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are one in essence and nature and that is, of being divine. Just like us, we have one essence and nature that is our being human. The Fourth Lateran Council said: “We firmly believe and confess without reservation that there is only one true God, eternal infinite (immensus) and unchangeable, incomprehensible, almighty and ineffable, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; three persons indeed, but one essence, substance or nature entirely simple.” In other words, God is Three in One. An advertisement on Noodles said: “Masarap, Magaan pa sa bulsa, Busog ka pa.”
The Three Divine Persons are distinct. It is because Jesus Christ who became man is not the God the Father or He is the Holy Spirit. God the Father is not Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit. God the Holy Spirit is not the God the Father or Jesus Christ. They are really distinct from each other. Our proof for this was when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River. God the Father in a loud voice was there, God the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove was there and God the Son who was baptized was there too. The Eleventh Council of Toledo (AD 675) also said: “He is not the Father who is the Son, nor is the Son he who is the Father, nor is the Holy Spirit he who is the Father or the Son.”
The Three Divine Persons are equal. It does not mean that God the Father is the One who came first; God the Son is the second one to come and God the Holy Spirit is the last one to come. But rather they are eternally equal since there is no beginning and there is no end for these Three Divine Persons.
That is why we have the duty to give homage and adoration to the Blessed Trinity because we owe every blessing to this Trinity. We owe most specifically our creation to God the Father; our redemption to God the Son and our sanctification to God the Holy Spirit, but these Three Divine Persons work equally in these three most important events of our Christian life.
Making the Sign of the Cross is one of our devotions to the Blessed Trinity. At the words, ‘In the name of the Father, we touch our forehead, to affirm that the Father is the First Person of the Godhead. At the words, ‘and of the Son,’ we touch the breast or heart, to signify that the Son of God came down from heaven and became man. Lastly, by touching the left and the right shoulders with the words, ‘And the Holy Spirit,’ we profess that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son as from one source. We make it from the left to the right to express that the Cross of Christ removed us from the left side of sin and perdition to the right side of holiness and salvation. We finish the sign of the Cross with the word, ‘Amen’. This means, “So be it”, we assert that we believe the Holy Trinity.
St. Augustine said: “The Sign of the Cross was introduced by the Apostles themselves.” Tertullian (194 AD) observed: “At every step and movement, whenever we come in or go out, when we dress ourselves or prepare to go out of doors, in the bath, at table, when lights are brought, at lying or sitting down, whatever we may doing, we make the Sign of the Cross.”
The Sign of the Cross as a form of our devotion to the Blessed Trinity is very venerable and holy because it reminds us of the mystery of the Blessed Trinity and of our redemption.
See Today’s Readings: Cycle B