Reflection on the Most Holy Trinity
On this Trinity Sunday, one thing is certain: I am not going to explain the mystery of the Trinity. Scholars have worked on that for years. In one way, it doesn’t seem so mysterious to me. It is God manifesting God’s self in three different ways, as creator, as redeemer/teacher and as advocate. Didn’t our parents do something similar? First as co-creators of our lives, then as teachers and guides on how to live our lives, and inspiring, comforting and advocating for us. We don’t need to know the ins and outs of how the Trinity works, we just need to know that it works.
Some of us here at the Motherhouse enjoy watching a British comedy called “Doc Martin,” a brilliant but grumpy physician. One episode features four teenage girls, three of whom have formed a clique and a fourth one who wants desperately to be accepted by the others who usually make fun of her and generally make their rejection very clear and her life miserable. One day they are all having a conversation about their physical development and as usual, the three made fun of the fourth one because her development wasn’t up to their standards. In desperation, she goes to Doc Martin for help and breaks down in tears when he won’t give her anything. For once, he is actually compassionate, not his usual style, and goes to the outer office, gets some peppermint candy, puts it in a medicine bottle and gives it to her, telling her to take one once a week and it will help her develop. She is excited and asks if she can take it right then and there and he says yes. She remarks that it tastes like peppermint and he says, “Yes, it does.” She leaves his office all smiles and goes off to brag to her would-be friends about what the Doc had done for her. It was especially galling to the other three since the Doc had refused to give one of them birth control pills.
I taught adolescent girls for many years and have seen similar situations in real life — that intense longing and need to be part of a group. We are not meant to be in isolation. It seems to me that God operates on that principle: Father, Son and Holy Spirit form a community. To help us do the same, God entered into our everyday life through Jesus, and the first thing Jesus did when he began his mission was to form a community. It was not a community of intellectuals or religious leaders. He gathered smelly fishermen, a distasteful tax collector, a wild zealot and his future betrayer and formed them into a community of disciples who eventually could go out and build other communities — small gatherings at first, house churches, intimate groups of people who prayed together, shared what they had and took care of each other. Everyone was accepted.
Sometimes I think how different it would be for all churches to be small, more intimate gatherings like the one we are participating in right now. Gatherings where people know each other, share joys, sorrows and problems.
True community is very different from the mega churches we see today. True community does not exclude people because of the color of their skin or their gender orientation. True community supports, encourages, assists when help is needed, is merciful and forgiving and most of all accepts others where they are and sees them as equals. True communities are based on love. Alcoholics Anonymous works because small groups of people come together to support one another. Psychiatry works better if the patient has the backing not only of the physician, but also of family and friends. Religious communities work because people choose to share their lives together.
In a reflection on Trinity Sunday in “National Catholic Reporter” an unnamed author says, “As Jesus speaks of the Father and the Spirit, he is inviting us into the love life of the Trinity, the divine community that created the universe simply to share love with creation.”