Trinity Sunday (2019) They say that when a priest thinks he can explain the mystery of the most holy Trinity, it is a sign that he is going mad!… So, this could be a very short homily, if I can’t explain anything about the mystery of the Trinity. To seek some help I looked up two words in my dictionary: mystery and trinity. ‘Mystery’, says my Collins, complete and unabridged dictionary, is ‘any truth that is divinely revealed but otherwise unknowable.’ ‘Otherwise unknowable’, not much help there. And the word ‘trinity’ is defined as, ‘the union of persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in one Godhead.’ That was more helpful, but I wanted to know more. And who better to ask than a child. I was visiting one of our catholic schools, a class of 7-8 year olds, who’d just had their first holy communion. I asked the class of about 30 children, put your hands up who can explain the trinity. Immediately, and without hesitation most the class put up their hands. ‘Please sir, please sir’. So I asked one lad at the back. I quickly realized that though he had his hand up he couldn’t remember the answer. So I asked the girl beside him, she said ‘God is Trinity, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, all three are God but they are one.’ I congratulated her for her good answer. Then I asked how do you describe the Holy Trinity. Again the same number of hands shot up. There was a lad sitting right at the front whose right hand was so high it was almost touching the ceiling. So, to save him from doing any damage to himself I asked how he would describe the Trinity. Delighted to be asked he replied, ‘Well, there is God the Father on the top. He’s an old man with lots of wrinkles, he’s very bald and has a long white beard. In the middle there is the Holy Spirit, he looks like some kind of white pigeon, with his wings outstretched. Then at the bottom is Jesus, he’s like the father only younger, he has all his hair and a dark beard.’ Good, I said. I then asked them a third question: who can tell me what binds the Trinity together. “Glue” one lad shouted out, and everyone laughed; obviously the class comedian. “A triangle”, said a second. Good, I said, I could see where he was coming from. No one seemed to know so I asked the question another way: “what is the relationship between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit”? A girl in the front who said, ‘love.’ Yes, love. Well done, I told her. What binds the Trinity is love; they love each other equally. You see, if you want to know something just ask children. God, the Trinity, remains a mystery which I cannot explain, but I do know something about love, we all do. But do we love each other equally? Isn’t our love for each other often one sided. Often, I think it is true to say, a mother’s love is like this. It can even be sacrificial, in other words, she will sometimes give up things for the sake of her children, or work for them without complaining. Take, for example, a mother-son relationship, where the son is a teenager. I look back on my own teenage years and I blush with embarrassment. In my late teens I would come home expecting my tea to be ready and the ironing to be done, ‘cos I wanted my shirt ironed, as I was going out that night. This is sacrificial love or, a one-sided love. When we love like the Holy Trinity, as we are called to, the son would get home before mum, having bought flowers on the way, he does the ironing and put a quiche in the oven. I may have got a few sons into trouble for this, but you get the point? There is a difference in the two types of love; we are called to love like the Trinity its not one-sided; we love equally. Yes, it is true we don’t understand the mystery of the Trinity, but we do understand love. It is, however, something we live imperfectly. God is love. The Trinity is love, where the three persons love each other equally. The Trinity is our model. We are called to love in the same way, equally. What a beautiful world it would be if we could only try to be less selfish and love more.

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