If you're ever tempted to think you know it all or that you've figured everything out, try spending five minutes talking to a child. A conversation with a child can teach us how little we really know. Children have such active and inquisitive minds. Nothing gets past them. And, when it comes to questions of faith and religion, children come up with questions that would stymie even the most brilliant theological mind.
Try answering these questions to a child's satisfaction:
- If God made everything, then who made God?
- How can God know everybody?
- How can God be everywhere at the same time?
- If God is everywhere, why can't we see Him?
If you find those questions difficult to answer, how much more difficult would it be to explain the Trinity? God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are three persons in one God. The Father is God, the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God. Yet, they are one God. If you think you understand this, try explaining it to a child. Better yet, if you think you understand it, try explaining it to me! The Trinity is a mystery beyond any one's ability to understand.
Though we can never really understand this mystery, it is necessary for us to know about the Trinity because it tells us something important about God. Because God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, He lives in a community of love. God is not an entity but a family. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, throughout all eternity, have lived together in a communion of love and fellowship.
And so, God didn't create us because He was bored or because He was lonely. God created us because the love that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit share is so abundant that it overflows. Just as the intimacy a husband and wife share overflows to bring children into the world, just so, out of love, God created a world that He could share Himself with. Jesus explains it to Nicodemus in today's gospel reading: "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him may not die but have eternal life." God created us so that we could be a part of the deep love that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit have shared throughout all eternity.
God is a mystery. And, we as human beings are so removed from the God who created us that we could never hope to share in His life in heaven. We could never hope to know God with the feeble minds we were created with. We could never hope to love Him with the selfish hearts we have. But, God loved us so much that He sent His Son so that we could know Him and could love Him. God, through Jesus' death and resurrection, has brought us into His family of love so that we can share that love with Him and be members of the family of love that He is.
It is our baptism in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit which makes us children of God. Gathered here as members of God's family we come to the altar to share in God's very life through the gift of the Eucharist. At this table, the God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit will come to us in the simple form of bread. It is here that we experience the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. All of us are invited to share in the abundant life and the abundant love of God.
Mysteries are impossible to understand. No matter how long we live or how much we study them, we will never fully understand the mystery of the Blessed Trinity. But, we can understand love. More importantly, we can experience love. The mystery of the Blessed Trinity is simply this - that God is love and that God loves us. Even a child can understand that.