Readings: Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40; Romans 8:14-17; Matthew 28:16-20
Since Advent we’ve been celebrating events from the life of Christ. This Sunday, it’s as if we’re looking beyond that personal history to the background of eternity against which those scenes are played out.
It might be better to describe what we celebrate today as the foundation of all those events which impact our human story.
The Holy Trinity is not an abstract dogma, but the mystery of God’s own relatedness. What we celebrate in the Trinity is that God is not an isolated and aloof deity but perfect relationship, self-giving and receptive. Without God being such, God would never have created this realm of existence in which we move and have our being.
But God, indeed, created us, so we might receive divine love, be stretched by our relationship with God. Otherwise, we’d be nothing but a bad joke in the cosmos.
On a purely human level, life can really seem like a bad joke. That’s the world of news headlines. Recently, a friend of mine pointed out this malaise as articulated by Theologian Stanley Hauerwas: The project of modernity was to produce people who believe they should have no story except the story they choose.
Divine Revelation, however, offers us a compelling alternative. The story we have just celebrated this entire liturgical year–the Incarnation, ministry, death Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus, the descent of the Holy Spirit and the Advent of the Lord at the end of time–is not just a story about Jesus but our real story. Clearly, it’s very different from the story we’d choose for ourselves. It’s very different from the success story of rewards for good/smart behavior that many, so-called, Christian churches offer.
It is a story that dies not flinch from the limits of human existence while, at the same time, does not capitulate to those limits. Celebrating the Holy Trinity opens our contingent world to the very life of God, which is where our true story takes us; by learning to live who we really are.