John 3:16-18
'Holy Trinity: Mystery
of unity and communion'

by Rev. Robert J. Wagner

Reprinted by permission of "The Arlington Catholic Herald"

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John wrote to show that Christ was
the Messiah, the Divine Son of God.

For 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.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.  Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

When we engage the sciences to seek the truth, we test, observe and measure parts of God’s creation. In this way we expect to find precise equations, relationships and explanations to help unlock the mysteries of the natural world around us.

However, when looking for truth in the mysteries of the church, we cannot use the same approach. There is no testing, observing or measuring that would bring us closer to the divine mysteries. Instead, we rely on Scripture, mediation and prayer, all done with a reverence of one approaching holy ground, that we might dwell with the infinite truth, beauty and goodness of God.

This Sunday, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. One God in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is a truth we know by definition, but when we prayerfully reflect on this mystery, there is much to ponder. For a fitting discussion of the Triune God, we will focus on three points.

First, in the Holy Trinity we see perfectly the unifying force of divine love. When we begin to ponder the mystery of the three Persons existing as one, our minds cannot comprehend it. How can three be one? As Pope Benedict XVI explained, their unity exists “because the Father is love, the Son is love, the Spirit is love. God is wholly and only love, the purest, infinite and eternal love” (Angelus, June 7, 2009). Therefore, what seems logically impossible, three existing as one, is instead proof of the divine power of God’s love, which allows the infinitely powerful persons of the Holy Trinity to exist as one.

Secondly, as we are created in the image of the Triune God, we also are created to be men and women of communion and unity. For all of eternity, before God created anything, the Holy Trinity existed as a community of love. God was never alone. We, too, are meant to live in communion with our neighbors. When we try to isolate ourselves and focus on our needs alone, we will never find happiness. We are meant to give love and to receive love.

We can see the hand of the evil one in all the obstacles to communion, such as unkindness, grudges, a lack of respect toward others. Jesus knows and desires what is best for us, which is why He gives us the command to “Love one another as I love you” (Jn 15:12). How did Jesus love us? By humbling and emptying Himself for us, being a pure gift of self so as to give us eternal life. We will only find peace and joy when we imitate His example and be who God created us to be.

Thirdly, faced with the reality that it is not always easy to be peacemakers and agents of unity, we take comfort in knowing that we are enveloped in the love of the Holy Trinity. We take comfort that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:38-39). The love that unites the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is not solely contained in their communion, but is the love that flows out to all of the universe, and especially through the Body of Christ, the church. It is the love we receive in the sacraments, in the Scripture, in prayer. It is the love we receive in the Holy Spirit, which we know to be the Divine Love of the Father and the Son.  It is the love that not only surrounds us but lives within us.

The mystery of the Holy Trinity contains truths that show us who God is and who we are as men and women created in His image. Confident in the unifying love of God, may we go forth as disciples of Christ to love one another and bring peace and joy to those we encounter.

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