YEAR A: HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY
HOMILY THEME: Exchange of Love
BY: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
HOMILY: Jn 3:16-18
A teacher in kindergarten instructed the children to draw something they think is interesting. She observed them while they drew, occasionally walking around to see their progress. She asked one little girl who was absorbed in her work, “What are you drawing?” The girl replied, “I’m drawing God.” The teacher was surprised and asked, “But how is that? No one knows what God looks like.” Without looking up from her drawing the girl replied, “You will know when I finish.” (M. Ezeogu).
Mystery does not mean we do not know anything about it. Rather, we know something, but we cannot know everything. And the greatest and most profound mystery of all is what we celebrate this Sunday, the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Through Jesus Christ, we know how God looks like. He revealed to all mankind that God is One, but He is not alone, for He is a community of Three Divine Persons – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “by sending his only Son and the Spirit of Love in the fullness of time, God has revealed his innermost secret: God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange” (no. 221). So, this mystery teaches us who God really is. And at the same time, we come to know and discover the truth of who we really are. Pope St. John Paul II said: “In the communion of grace with the Trinity, man’s ‘living area’ is broadened and raised up to the supernatural level of divine life. Man lives in God and by God.”
We cannot fully comprehend this truth, for this is the most profound and ineffable mystery of our faith. But still God revealed His innermost secret to us, not to overwhelm us with His unfathomable mystery, but to invite us to share in His inner Life. Our task, then, is not to fully comprehend this mystery, for that would be clearly impossible, but to imitate the lifestyle of the Divine Family of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Then we will discover and experience total and perfect happiness.
What, really, is the core of the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity? The Gospel this Sunday talks about it: Love. God is love. It is perfect love that binds together the three Divine Persons, so that they are not three, but One God. True love always unites. And if we live in love, therefore, we will be united with each other, and more importantly, united with the family of God – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
A couple rushed into a dentist’s clinic. “Doctor,” the woman said, “I want a tooth pulled. We are in a hurry. So, you need not use any anesthesia. Just pull the tooth as quickly as possible.” The dentist was surprised and expressed his admiration. “Oh, you must be a brave woman, madam,” he said. “Now, will you please tell me which tooth is it?” The woman pulled her husband to her side and said, “Darling, open your mouth.”
Certainly, this is not the love that our Lord is talking about. One significant characteristic of love is giving: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son” (Jn 3:16). Giving is not easy. And self-giving is definitely painful and truly difficult. But Jesus has given us the example by his self-sacrifice on the cross: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15:13). It is this kind of giving – total self-giving – that leads to strong unity. Giving and sharing build strong families and communities.
There is a product for the elderly that is being advertised on TV that says, “With Life Alert, you can live alone without being alone.” The quest for success, money and ambition has led people to live in isolation and loneliness. In many countries of the first world, children are taught and encouraged to live independently and learn to fend for themselves at an early age. Many couples are reluctant to bear children for fear that the demands of family life might affect their career and plans for a successful future. The elderly people are placed in nursing homes because their children are too busy looking for money and climbing up the social ladder. Obviously, many people in our modern society have no choice but to live alone, and consequently become lonely. Amazing household appliances have been designed to make solitary life more convenient and bearable, so that “you can live alone without being alone.”
In many third world countries, poverty has led many parents to leave their families behind to seek well-paying jobs abroad. In many cases, this ends up in marital infidelity, family breakdown and emotionally damaged children, adding to the number of lonely and wounded people in the world. As we say in Pilipino, “Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo?” (What the use of hay when the horse is already dead?)
Rich and poor alike, the root cause of loneliness is materialism and selfishness. When people are obsessed with the desire to have more, the value of self-sufficienc
y and autonomy is extolled, while the value of giving and sharing is overlooked. But what is the meaning of success and affluence if we have nobody to share them with?
In the Book of Genesis, God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Gen 2:18). He does not want us to be lonely. That is why the Second Person, Jesus Christ, became man and revealed to us the innermost secret of God. And he invites us to share in God’s eternal life and love. The only way towards solid unity and lasting happiness is to model our lives after the example of the Holy Trinity, living our families and communities in mutual and constant exchange of love. Each time we make the sign of the cross, let us express our faith in the Most Holy Trinity, and let it always be a prayer that we may become living reflections of the love and unity of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches