Readings: Exodus 34:4-6, 8-9; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; John 3:16-18
Today’s Gospel may seem puzzling–after all, there are Gospel passages that mention the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit and today is Trinity Sunday. But if the Church has chosen this text for our celebration, it’s worth considering why.
I’d suggest that this Gospel actually provides a taste of the Trinity, rather than just the names of the Trinity. Think of the context: Nicodemus is a sincere Pharisee, a true seeker, yet cautious enough to want to sift out who this Jesus is in a private conversation. He’s not impulsive, nor is he an enthusiast. His conversation with Jesus is very honest–no holds barred–but civil and receptive. Jesus seems very comfortable responding to him and today’s short Gospel is part of his reply. From this conversation, the faith of Nicodemus will awaken and grow.
This reminds me that the Holy Trinity is not data about God but a living relationship upon which reality–uncreated and created–is built. You and I are capable of reflection and self-reflection, of communication and exchange because there is a Trinity; because, however much we distort that potential, we reflect the reality of God’s inner life of personal intercommunion. God, being God–so unlike us–is self-disclosure, is shared being, overflows into forms of being which are “less” than God’s existence.
In the divine generosity, even our sort of being has a capacity for God, is animated by God, even hosts that divine life. I am not God–you don’t need me to tell you that: just look at me! But I couldn’t be standing here before you were God not the foundation, the in-dwelling reality of all that I am. And I couldn’t address you, were God not the foundation, the in-dwelling reality of all you are.
That’s what it means to be saved: not just to be yanked out of a bad situation but to be sublimated–raised to the sublime–as all that I could be, in God’s life.
Is that the life we humans usually live? As I look out at this congregation I see–thank God–an ethnically diverse population willingly, joyfully coming together as one to celebrate the Body of Christ. This is not what I always see beyond the front gate.
I’m not trying to congratulate us, because I should expect nothing less of a Christian community confirmed in the life of the Trinity: a diversity of being is how we find our deepest unity. There is no reason to constantly fear, oppose, defend against whoever is different from me. My fulfillment could be right there; that’s the dynamic of the Holy Trinity.
Today let us pray in God’s Holy Spirit, that all who call themselves Christian may shed their defenses and prejudices and discover who we truly can be together.