The Most Holy Trinity
The Most Holy Trinity Homily Transcript
>>The feast of the Holy Trinity they joke in seminary, they call it the ‘preacher’s nightmare’ – trying to explain the Holy Trinity.
When I teach my seventh graders at St. Juliana’s school about the trinity I use a shamrock or a triangle or a venn diagram and they don’t understand and I tell them, “Don’t worry. You’ll get it when your, later, when your older in life.”
And then I realize, actually they probably won’t. I still don’t really get it. And yet, to me it’s not the ‘preacher’s nightmare’ but the ‘preacher’s dream.’ to talk about God, to talk about the Holy Trinity.
God is love and the love of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is poured into our hearts giving us the fulfillment of life. We flourish in life only because of God. Because of the love the trinity that’s in our hearts.
There’s a beautiful icon that was written in 1425, it’s the icon of the Holy Trinity. Sergei Rublev painted it or written it and it’s in, currently, the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. Ah, you might be familiar with it. If not, maybe you’ll look it up when you have some free time after mass.
The image of the Holy Trinity it depicts three angels and they’re sitting around a table. Now, it’s a direct reference to the book of Genesis when the three angels visited Abraham and Sarah outside the oak of Mamre. And Abraham and Sarah welcomed them into their home and prepared a meal for them.
But really it’s a reference to the Holy Trinity and if you look closely at this icon: Jesus is in the center, He’s got His finger blessing over the sacrificial lamb that’s on the table. The Holy Spirit is to Jesus’ left. The Holy Spirit is pointing down into the middle of the table or the alter, where there’s a little box or little niche because in alters usually we put the relics of martyrs in the alter. Okay? And then, the Father is to the right of Jesus and He’s blessing Jesus – He’s blessing the Son.
So, as we look at this icon and we pray with it several things begin to stand out to us. First, is that niche that’s in the base of the alter. Our gaze is focused on that niche and like I said, that’s where the relics of martyrs would go. And so, martyr, of course, is associated with suffering.
And then when we continue to look at this icon our gaze is then lifted upwards to the tree. The tree forms a cross – the oak at the top and the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit form the horizontal beams of the cross. Right? So, suffering. Suffering is entailed in the Holy Trinity. That’s what St. Paul says to the Romans. Right? “You’re going to glorify God, enter into my suffering.”
So, we look at this icon. We see the cross. We see the relics of martyrs – suffering. But then the cross also then eventually forms a circle. You don’t have a circle without a cross. And of course, the circle symbolizes eternity, the Holy Spirit, Father, and Son exist in a circle of love for all of eternity.
So, but we’re called to do as Catholics, as Christians is to love God. To experience and receive the love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in our souls. Which is fulfilling, but it’s also going to entail some suffering. Like any relationship of love involves suffering, we die to ourself. And then notice then what Jesus tells us to do. He says, “If you love me, you’re going to go out and you’re going to make disciples in my name. Baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” The sign of the cross.
So Jesus says: if you love me, you’re going to get other people to love me as well. Just like you love me. And that’s going to be difficult, but it’s going to be fulfilling.
So brothers and sisters, on this feast of the Holy Trinity; first let us love God in prayer. Let us simply open our hearts to receive that love of the Holy Trinity. And then, let us allow that love that’s in our hearts propel us outwards to go make disciples, preaching the love of Jesus Christ in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Amen. God bless you.
Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40
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