Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity • Year A

Francis J. Caponi, O.S.A.
Villanova University
Villanova, Pennsylvania

Ex 34:4b-6, 8-9
Dn 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56
2 Cor 13:11-13
Jn 3:16-18

This day, Christians are invited to contemplate a mystery. Not a whodunit, for we know His name; not a murder mystery, for He is the source of life; not a puzzle which can be solved by human wit, for we are, none of us, that clever. This day, we are invited to contemplate a mystery as bright as a summer noon, as clear as rainwater, as rich as fertile farmland.

God is not alone. God is Trinity. God is One, and God is More.

This is the mystery which brings us here, the mystery in which we proclaim that God became man but is still God, that God moves among us but is not a captive of this world.

“Whoever has seen me has seen the Father,” Jesus says to Philip – but how can this be, unless God is One and God is More? And so we call Him “Son.”

“I am with you always, even unto the end of the world,” Jesus says to the apostles – but how can this be, unless God is One and God is More? And so we call Him “Spirit.”

How can God dwell in our hearts, and within the tabernacle, unless God is one and God is More? How can He live in slum and hospital, in raging sea and silent pool, in lands blighted by war and families overflowing with peace – how can God be here and there, all these places, now and always, unless God is One and God is More? And so we call Him “Trinity.” We praise Him as the One-in-Three, the everlasting community, the endless sharing and receiving of life from which comes forth all things. If we think on this for one moment, contemplate even briefly the countless signs that God is utterly in the world and completely above it, we must, like Moses, fall down and worship so gracious a God, the giver of all good gifts, the Lord and God of our fathers, “praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.”

But there is more! Grace upon grace, we also celebrate today the unimaginable gift of being made in God’s image and likeness. God does not just create: He creates something like Himself. We are created in the image of the Trinity. We are stamped with the divine Community, such that in our bones and cells and hearts and brains we seek belonging and friendship. Each of us is one and each of us is more, and all of us are made to bind our hearts to other people, to receive mercy and to share compassion. We see this on this altar, as we offer back to God what He has given us: the sacrifice of Christ. In the Eucharist, we enter into communion with the Trinity. We join the Son and Spirit in singing praise to the Father, we join the Father and the Son in breathing forth the Spirit upon the world, we join the Father and the Spirit in giving birth to Christ in the flesh. At this altar, we fallen creatures, born weak and tearful, destined for only a few short years, years which we zealously fill with sin for ourselves and sadness for others, we become like God.

Because of this, the Trinity – this symbol which the greatest minds of mankind have bowed before in awe and wonder – has a hard, practical meaning for us. God is One and God is More, God is Trinity, and so God hates loneliness. He made us in His image, fashioned us with tongues to speak and ears to hear and hands to offer and receive, destined us for eternal life with the communion of saints: how could God not despise loneliness? How could the divine community of Father, Son, and Spirit who said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” how could He not be nauseated by the sight of men and women surrounded by piles of comforts and pleasures unimagined in other ages, yet alone?

The contact of bodies which yields no spiritual bond, the torrent of information which leaves us knowledgeable but unknown, the parties of our divisions and our lonesome jubilees, the failure of friends, the fractured neighborhoods, all the gifts refused and ignored – how could these be anything but blasphemy to the God who is Trinity? The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit despises the stench of loneliness which rises up from nursing homes and hospitals, the clamor of loneliness which sits in classroom and works at the computer, the ash of loneliness tasted by the addicted and the poor.

“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,” that we might be lost no longer but reunited with Him and with one another. The good God sacrifices Himself to call us back from the loneliness of sin. He has set His face against our selfishness, our closed eyes and tightened fists.

If we believe that God is One and God is More, that God does not exist in solitude, then our mission is clear. A follower of Jesus Christ must recognize loneliness as ungodly, a grave offense to the Trinity. We can never be truly human if we are lonely, and we can never be truly Christian if we allow others to be. A follower of Jesus Christ must seek out the lonely and minister to them as surely as he strives to serve the hungry and clothe the naked. This day, make an overdue visit, write an e-mail, pick up a phone, share a meal, and so lessen the loneliness of one human being, whether that loneliness is chosen or imposed. In all of these, you are following Jesus Christ. You are imitating the Trinity.

“Brothers and sisters, rejoice. Mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another,” be a companion to that man and woman whose isolation offends the Almighty, “and the God of love and peace will be with you.”