Homily for the feast of the Most Holy Trinity - Year C - Jn. 16:12-15
Father Daniel Meynen
"Jesus said to his disciples: 'I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.' "
"Jesus said to his disciples: 'I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.' "
Each time we make the sign of the cross, as we did at the beginning of this celebration, we say: "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." But do we truly understand what we are saying? I do not believe so... The reason for this is that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit we invoke constitute what we must call a Mystery: the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Now, a mystery is precisely something that one does not understand. This does not mean that we are unable to express anything at all concerning this reality; on the contrary, we are able, thanks to what Jesus told us, to describe this mystery a little and to grasp it through comparisons and images.
The Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, which we celebrate today, consists of this: the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three gods, but only one God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is the Mystery of the Trinity of Persons in the one God. If one were to seek for a comparison in order to try to grasp a little of this mystery, the only one that is completely adequate is that which Jesus himself gave us, when he said: "As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me." (Jn. 6:57) This is a comparison between the Most Holy Trinity and the union of the various persons who make up the Mystical Body of Christ.
"For he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you."
The Father is at the origin of the Most Holy Trinity: he is its principle. The Father gives life to his Son: from all eternity, the Father begets his Son. The Son continuously receives life from his Father: "I live because of the Father." (Jn. 6:57) The Son is begotten by the Father and thus he is God, like him. Now, to be God is to be perfect and to lack nothing: it is to have everything in perfection. So, when the Father begets his Son, he gives him all that he has, as God: "All that the Father has is mine." (Jn. 16:15) But the Son is not the Father, and the Father is not the Son; and yet both are but a single God.
The same applies to Eucharistic communion. Jesus gives us his life, under the form of food, and we become sons of God by participation: the Body of Christ which enters into us makes us into the (mystical) Body of Christ. But Jesus is not us, and we are not Jesus; and yet we are all but one Mystical Body.
When the Son receives everything from the Father, he becomes similar to the Father, sharing what is proper to his Father. This is why Saint Paul says of the Son that he is the Image of the Father (cf. Col. 1:15). But then, the Son can do nothing other than imitate his Father and render to him all that the Father gives him in begetting him. This is what we do in Eucharistic communion when we give thanks (render grace) to the Lord who enters into us: the graces that come from him, we render to him!
In rendering to the Father what comes from him, the Son should be able to imitate the Father by, he too, begetting a divine Person. If the Father begets the Son by giving him all that he has, then the Son, for his part, should also beget a divine Person by giving back to the Father all that he has received from him. As the Father exists, this divine Person begotten by the Son cannot be the Father: in all truth, it is the Father who begets the Son, and not the Son who begets the Father. Also, the divine Person that the Son would be able to beget is, in reality, begotten by the Father, through his Son. This divine Person is similar to the Father to some extent, and it is said to be spirated by the Father and the Son. This divine Person is called the Holy Spirit, "the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father" (Jn. 15:26). The Holy Spirit is not the Father and he is not the Son, but all three are a single God.
In Eucharistic communion, when we give thanks (render grace) to the Lord Jesus, we cannot beget Christ. But the Lord allows this grace to benefit the growth of his Mystical Body, and thus produce the birth of a new member of the Church. Here too, another person is born, another person who, with Christ and with us, forms the one Mystical Body of Christ.
Finally, if there is a spirit that presides over the whole of this Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, it is the spirit of love, for it is truly love that leads the Father to give to his Son all that he has, and similarly, it is love that leads the Son to give back to his Father what he had been given by him. This is why the Holy Spirit is nothing other than the Love of God personified.
We, too, when we give thanks (render grace) to the Lord when it enters into us under the species of the bread and wine, we prove to him all of our love, and the grace of God becomes, for us, "charity"! All of us are then but one Body of Christ in the Love of God! As Saint Paul says in today's epistle: "Hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us." (Rm. 5:5)
With the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God and the Mother of the Church, let us give thanks to the thrice holy God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit! May we all, through Mary and with Her, have in our hearts some of the joy and love of God the Trinity!