Holy Three, Holy One

16 June 2019 – Holy Trinity

The feast of the Trinity, celebrating God undivided yet triune, quite rightly summons forth a sense of transcendence that invites us to bow down before so great a mystery. . . . Opening ourselves to the action of the Spirit, we may be blessed with the gift of Holy Awe. . . .

Profound as our experience of the transcendent Trinity might be, however, today’s feast offers us hints of even greater wonders. Paul reminds correspondents in Romans 5 that we now are justified by faith. Through Christ, who died for us while we were still sinners, we are at peace with God and stand in grace, firm in the hope of sharing God’s glory. Even more, Paul assures us, “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us” (Romans 5:5).

As we come to recognize that we are made in the image of the Triune God the mystery of the Trinity is no longer something distant and far removed from us. Instead, God, the Three-in-One, dwells in us—an intimacy that is astounding. “This grace in which we stand” (Romans 5:2) is nothing less than our sharing in the divine life of the Trinity. Commenting on this truth, Augustine asks: “Why should we go running round the heights of the heavens and the depths of the earth looking for him who is with us if only we should wish to be with him?” (The Trinity, [Brooklyn: New City Press, 1991] 253.)

Following Augustine’s lead, we come to realize that we are invited to draw closer to God, not in the sense of overcoming spatial distance, but in so far as our likeness to the Holy One becomes clearer and more recognizable. –– Mary Elizabeth Kenel

John 16:12-15

John’s literary technique of confusion and misunderstanding may have shaped Jesus’ question of the disciples regarding where it was that he was going (v 5). Jesus ascribes the disciples’ silence to their grief over what they had been hearing about him (v 6). Then Jesus informs the disciples (v 7) that unless he goes, the Spirit cannot come. –– Mary Elizabeth Kenel

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31

Created before everything else, Wisdom was present during the creation of the world as a craftsperson at the side of God. Wisdom is everywhere: in high and low places, wherever paths meet and at gates where people meet. Wisdom is available to all who want to learn God’s ways. –– Mary Elizabeth Kenel

Romans 5:1-5

Neither the law nor circumcision count toward the inheritance of God’s promises. For even Abraham was before these. Rather, it is only faithfulness that makes one an heir. Our only boast is our suffering, for by suffering we are led to endurance, which leads to character, which leads to hope—hope does not fail us. For hope has been validated by the Holy Spirit and God’s love. –– Mary Elizabeth Kenel

Mary Elizabeth Kenel is a writer and clinical psychologist with a practice in Washington, D.C.

Homily Service 37, nos. 6-7 (2004): 51-60.

David Turnbloom