"In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit". Amen. That brief familiar prayer immediately leads us into the central mystery we celebrate this Sunday - the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity. Jesus in his earthly life gradually revealed to his disciples the mystery of being totally united with his Father. One is reminded of the conversation between Jesus and Philip in St. John's Gospel, where Philip asked Jesus to show them the Father. Jesus replied to him: "You must believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me"(Jn. 14:11). We recall that at Jesus' Baptism, the Holy Spirit descended upon him. In the preface of Trinity Sunday we pray in the following words: “You have revealed your glory as the glory also of your Son and the glory of the Holy Spirit: three persons equal in majesty, undivided in splendour, yet one Lord, one God, ever to be adored in everlasting glory”. Even with such a beautiful prayer we can hardly claim to understand the profound mystery of the Holy Trinity. In the Gospel of this Sunday, Jesus instructs his disciples before his ascension into heaven to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Didache or Teachings of the Twelve – written as early as 50 A.D. - gives the same mandate of baptizing in the name of Triune God: “After the foregoing instructions, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living [running] water. If you do not have living water, then baptize in other form of water. If you are not able to baptize in cold water, then baptize in warm. If you have neither cold nor warm water, then pour the water three times on the head, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Therefore the Trinitarian baptismal formula is not only biblical but also backed by apostolic Tradition.
The teaching on the Holy Trinity has always been problematic because we tend to look at it as a mathematical formula to be understood. Rather the Holy Trinity is a model of life to be imitated. There is a very simple way to reflect on the mystery we celebrate this Sunday. The life of the Holy Trinity is a life of intense sharing of one and the same life, in the most perfect manner possible. That is perhaps the reason why, God in creating us does not immediately take us into heaven. The explanation is simple. If God did so we would mess life up there! Thus our life on earth is meant to be a time to practice sharing life with the people God has given us, in order to gain the experience of the Trinitarian life first. We need to do this so intensely and intimately that we become totally transparent to others, with nothing of our own to hide, in complete trust and confidence in one another. In other words, the doctrine of the Holy Trinity is not just a subject for theological speculation but a life of communion and sharing to be imitated and lived. So what message do we take home this Sunday? 1) We are challenged to try to live the Trinitarian life of communion with each other; 2) The life of the Holy Trinity is a life of communion and sharing we can live and imitate. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
©2018 John S. Mbinda