A Dominican Sister Theologian reflects …
Proverbs 8:22-31 Romans 5:1-5 John 16:12-15
Today most Christian Churches, at least those in the West, celebrate Trinity Sunday. This feast has not always been part of the Church Year. The Sunday after Pentecost was set aside to honor the Holy Trinity only in the 14th century, and the feast was only raised to its current level as a major feast of the liturgical year at the beginning of the 20th century.
The doctrine of the Trinity seems to have little bearing on the way we try to live out our Christian lives. Trinity seems too ‘ethereal” – too far removed from our lived experience and so it doesn’t seem to have any impact on our daily living. Who is this God we call Trinity – Father, Son, Holy Spirit?
The God that Jesus passed on to his followers was the God of the Jewish people –the God they called Yahweh. But is God limited or defined by one people’s understanding? Is God not larger or greater than anything we can imagine? How much do we limit God by imposing upon the divine what we know or think of God?
It is Jesus about whom we claim to know the most. And who was this Jesus? He was one who walked among the people, who saw their needs and responded to them, who fed the hungry, healed the sick, welcomed the lonely, and erased all the boundaries drawn to keep some people out.
And what of the Spirit? In the second reading from Paul’s letter to the Romans, he tells us that it is because of the Holy Spirit that has been given to us that the love of God has been poured into our hearts. And in today’s Gospel Jesus describes the work of the Spirit. The Spirit will guide the disciples, and the Spirit will guide us.
God is mystery. There are other things in our lives that are mystery – love for example. When we truly love someone and are loved, it is real mystery. When we try to describe that love, we fall short. So, too, God is total mystery. not in the sense of unintelligibility but in that we are invited into fuller participation and at the same time not being allowed to hold on or even grasp the reality which is God. Perhaps Trinity Sunday might be an opportunity to reflect on the God who we see in the person of Jesus and in those who follow him closely.
Anneliese Sinnott, OP