June 12, 2022 –
The Most Holy Trinity
“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.”
The Church celebrates today the central mystery of our Christian Faith. The life of the Most Holy Trinity is the mystery from which all the other mysteries of our Catholic Faith flow. Yet the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is difficult to wrap our heads around.
The Church, however, has learned over the centuries a simple means by which to explore this awesome mystery. The Church reflects upon who God is by looking at what God has chosen to do. This principle has a very technical name: “The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree”.
This principle is readily seen in families. You have a parent, and you have a child, and about the child you say, “That apple didn’t fall far from the tree”. When you say that, everyone knows what you mean. The child resembles his parent.
We hear a divine example of the “apple principle” in today’s First Reading from the Old Testament Book of Proverbs. In this passage is a discourse given by “the wisdom of God”. In the second half of the discourse, we hear two intriguing statements. Wisdom not only says, “When the Lord established the heavens I was there,” but also, “then was I beside Him as His craftsman… and I found delight in the human race.”
Wisdom is the Lord’s “craftsman”, who “found delight in the human race.” Everything God created in the universe was created with wisdom—that is, was created in an ordered way—because God Himself is All-Wise, and His apples don’t fall far from the tree.
Nonetheless, out of all of God’s creation, it’s “in the human race” that wisdom takes particular delight. In the beginning—in the Book of Genesis—we hear the Lord say, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” [Genesis 1:26]. In other words, the apple that is the human race didn’t fall far from the tree, and in fact is the apple of God’s eye [see Psalm 17:8].
In today’s Responsorial Psalm the psalmist cries out in wonder to God, asking, “When I behold Your heavens, the work of Your fingers… What is man that You should be mindful of him… ? [Yet] You have made him little less than the angels… You have given him rule over the works of your hands”. In other words, because God created mankind in His Image and likeness, God gave mankind a share in His “rule over the works of [God’s] hands”. Or as we might rather put it today, God entrusted to man the stewardship of the works of God’s hands.
All this, of course, begs two questions that lead us into the heart of today’s feast: #1: what is the Image and likeness of God; and #2: what is God’s work? The answer to both is simple, because the answer to both is the same: to love. The image and likeness of God is love, and God’s work is the work of love.
“God is love” [1 John 4:8]. Because God is love through and through—because God is 100% love—everything that God does is loving. There’s no divorce between who God is and what He does. The divine Image is to be love, and so we also are called always to do what is loving in every circumstance.
To help us in this regard, Holy Mother Church teaches us by means of the Sacred Liturgy. We could say that last Sunday, this Sunday, and next Sunday form a triptych: a three-paneled icon that focuses our devotion. Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, and Corpus Christi display before us the Holy Spirit within the Church, the Father Who is the Source of the Trinity, and the Blessed Sacrament of Our Savior’s Real Presence.
Prepare for next Sunday’s feast of Corpus Christi with an eye to growing in your capacity to love: to be love through your daily choices. The Sacrifice of Christ on Calvary, made present sacramentally through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, shows us sinners our clearest example of what it means to “be love” through a human will and heart. Rather than love only those who are lovable, and only when circumstances make it easy to do so, Christ calls and strengthens us through the Eucharist to live and love from within His sacrificial love, and so enter more deeply into the Life of the Trinity.