ONE GOD, THREE PERSONS (HOLY TRINITY SUNDAY, YEAR B)

By: Fr. Sylvanus AMEH

Readings: Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40; Psalm 33; Romans 8:14-17; Matthew 28:16-20

The doctrine of the Most Holy Trinity is the central teaching of Christianity, because it is the mystery of God himself, even though it is incomprehensible to us. It says summarily that God is One, but in the One God are three persons: Father, Son and Spirit. These three persons are not three gods:

  • The Father is not the Son or Spirit
  • The Son is not the Father or Spirit
  • The Spirit is not the Father or Son
  • Yet all are one in the Trinitarian Godhead

There is no mention of the Holy Trinity anywhere in the Bible. Mention is only made of the Father, the Son and the Spirit. It is from these mentions that we deduce that in one God, there are three persons. Let us look at some of these texts.

  • In Genesis 1:26, God said, “Let us make man in our own image.” The “us” in this statement is an obvious indicator that a community of persons had a dialogue concerning the creation of man. However, the idea of the three persons in one God became clearer in d New Testament.
  • In Luke 1:35, Jesus says “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of God will rest on you, and the child you shall bear will be called the son of God.”
  • We read in John 1:1-3, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the word was God… through him, all things were made, and there was nothing that was made which was not made through him.” Note here that the “Word” is clearly addressed as a distinct being, and that this “Word” is also God. It is this “Word” that became flesh and dwelt among us (vs.14).
  • In John 14:16, Jesus said “I will ask the Father, and he will send you an advocate, who will stay with you forever.” Here too, the Father, Son and Spirit are mentioned as distinct persons.
  • When Jesus gave the great commission in Matthew 28:19, he said “Go into the world and make disciples of all nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Notice how he says “in the name, not in the nameS, yet mentioning three persons, thus indicating a unity of persons.
  • The picture of the three persons in the one Godhead is clearer after the baptism of Jesus. Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit descended and the Father spoke (Mt 3:16-17).
  • Later on, Jesus will begin to talk about the oneness of himself and the Father. In John 10:30, he said “The Father and I are one,” and in John 12:45, he says “Whoever sees me has seen the Father.”
  • In his letter to the Romans, St. Paul mentions the three persons of the Trinity when he said “We have peace with God through Jesus Christ and the love of God is poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:1, 5).
  • Also, in the conclusion of his second letter to the Corinthians, he prayed that “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God the Father, and the Communion of the Holy Spirit be with them” (2 Cor 13:13).
  • All these texts and more show clearly that there are three divine persons, but only one God. Scripture also says clearly that there is only one God. Deuteronomy 6:4 tells us that “The Lord and the Lord alone is one God” and God also says “I am the Lord, there is no other God” (Isa 45:5), meaning that there cannot be three gods.

Lessons

Live in love and harmony

The three persons of the Trinity are undivided and bound in complete unity. Though each person is distinct, there is no division in the Trinity, rather, there is complete harmony. This teaches us that we too, made in God’s image and likeness, can and should live in completely peace & harmony. We may be different, but our differences should not divide us. Just as God is one, we too must be one, living in unity. This is a message that we need to remind ourselves of, more so at a time like this when the things that polarize us seem to be numerous.

Shun pride, embrace humility

Though God is so great, so majestic, so incomprehensible, he still came down to us in the person of Jesus and lived like us. There is nothing stopping God from completely alienating himself from us, but no, he came down to our level. Philippians 2:7 tells us that he humbled himself, took the form of a slave and was born in human likeness. We should learn too, to remove pride from our lives and come down from our high castles. We must not feel that we are too good or too big for some other people, such that we cannot relate with them. Sometimes we allow pride to control us and destroy our relationship with other people, but we seem to forget that before God, we are all the same, we are all equal. In our eyes, we may be bigger than some people, but in the eyes of God, we are all dust. If Jesus Christ, who is God can relate with us, then who are we to feel too big to relate with each other? Let us therefore, put away our pride and embrace humility.

We must remind ourselves again that the Holy Trinity is a mystery beyond our comprehension. We accept it, not because we can truly comprehend it, but we accept it in faith because God has revealed it to us in his divine Word. The day anyone fully understands the Trinity, that day, God ceases to be God, for no one can fully comprehend God. That is why scripture says God’s ways are not our ways, and his thoughts are not our thoughts (Isa 55:8-9)

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

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