Prv. 8:22-31; Ps. 8; Rom. 5:1-5; Jn. 16:12-15
(Audio recorded live, 12 June 2022)
Jesus said, “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.” The hallmark of a good teacher is recognizing the limitations of the students. Anyone who has ever taught knows that different people learn differently and at different paces. Jesus was speaking to his inner circle of disciples, the ones who had been with him the longest. Yet, he recognizes that there is only so much they will be able to retain, partly because of the trauma they will experience when their Master is arrested and crucified, and partly because they are men. Men and women both are emotional creatures and this was a very emotional time for them all. Nevertheless, the promise Jesus makes is to send the Holy Spirit to continue to guide them to all truth. And this promise is itself a teaching. Jesus says, “[The Holy Spirit] will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming.” In an earlier passage, Jesus says that he speaks the words of the Father, and that the Father and He are One. Now, if the Son speaks the words of the Father and they are One, what of the Holy Spirit, who speaks what he hears? Is not He also One with the Father? And if One with the Father, then also One with the Son, as they all speak the words of the Father. Today, as we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, we acknowledge this unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and the love of God, which pours fourth to all Creation.
The ancient Israelites knew of the Spirit of God. The Book of Proverbs provides a beautiful reflection on how the Spirit, personified as Wisdom, was with God in the beginning, saying, “The LORD possessed me, the beginning of his ways, the forerunner of his prodigies of long ago; from of old I was poured forth, at the first, before the earth.” The author of this proverb no doubt had the Book of Genesis in mind, as did the psalmist, who says, “When I behold your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you set in place – What is man that you should be mindful of him, or the son of man that you should care for him?” But, we know that God’s dwelling is with mankind. He has chosen us to be a people peculiarly His own. He manifest his works throughout the ages, spoke through the prophets, was incarnate of the Virgin, and became man. God could have chosen to be any other creature in the Universe, yet he chose to be one with us.
Why did God become man? St. Paul speaks of our need for justification: “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith….” How do we gain access to God? By the one sacrifice of Christ. We were cut off from God on account of Sin, but Jesus offered himself in expiation for our sins and paid a handsome price for each of us. He also taught his disciples the way to the Father, encouraging them all to follow him. But, he knew that it would not be enough for him to come for a few years, teach his disciples, then simply ascend to the Father. He sent the Holy Spirit to remain with us, to inspire us to hold fast to his teachings, guiding us to all truth. Even today, the Holy Spirit is with us, speaking His words of wisdom deep in our hearts.
No matter what challenges come our way, as St. Paul says, “[T]he love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” The Holy Spirit is One with the Father and the Son, therefore, whatever the Father wills, the Son and the Spirit also wills. And as one Unity, the Most Holy Trinity calls all people to that same unity. That is why we gather together every week. We, the people of God on earth, form the community of God. And while each of us are distinct, we share one faith; while each of us have unique gifts, we are one Church; and while each of us are at different stages in our journey, we have one destination: union with Almighty God.
And so, on this Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, may we rejoice in our God, who has blessed us in the Spirit, may we be nourished by Christ, who redeems us from sin, and may the words of the Father continue to dwell in our hearts all the days of our life.