Sunday Sermon for May 26, 2013, Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Year C

Readings: Prov 8:22-31; Rom 5:1-5; Jn 16:12-15

In the Gospel reading today our Lord tells, regarding the Holy Spirit, that He will not speak on His own, but He will take from what is the Lord’s; what is the Lord’s, however, is the Father’s and is given to Jesus. This sounds somewhat circuitous, but in reality it demonstrates the fact that the Three are One.

The Son does only what the Father wills and the Holy Spirit speaks only what He hears from the Son, so the will of the Three is identical. The fact that our Lord makes the point that the Holy Spirit does not speak on His own shows us that there is a union of Persons in the Trinity wherein none of the Persons acts independently of the others. They cannot. They share equally in the divine substance which, practically speaking, means that there is only one mind and one will shared equally among the Three.

This being the case, one cannot think a thought independently of the others, nor can any of them will anything independently of the others. To human persons this sounds horrible: imagine not being able to think or will on your own. There would be no privacy of any sort. That is not a problem in the Trinity because God only thinks and wills what is truly the best and most prefect. None of the Persons has anything that He would want to keep from the others.

While this may be difficult for us on a human level because we esteem our freedom of thought and will so highly, we have to remember that this is God’s nature. We are made in His image and likeness, but our nature is not Trinitarian. Beyond that, we have to recall that true freedom is going to be found in doing what is the very best and most perfect. Since this is what God does always, He is perfectly free. Indeed, all three of the Persons share in this perfect freedom.

At the end of the first reading we are told that Wisdom, Whom the Fathers made clear refers to the second Person of the Trinity, found His delight in the human race. This being the case, God in His love for us has chosen to reveal Himself to us. God’s self revelation is not just about His existence, but it is about His very being. His existence and His unity are clarified for us in the Old Testament. There are certainly passages in the Old Testament that demonstrate that there is more that one Person in God, but it is still clear that there is only one God.

In the New Testament we have the full revelation of both the Son and the Holy Spirit. St. Paul, in the second reading speaks of how we are at peace with God through Jesus and then says that the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. Jesus revealed to us the love of God for the human race, but it is still external to us. We can look at what He said and especially what He did for us and we can see what true charity looks like.

God did not just want us to know that He loves us, He delights in us and, therefore, He wants us to participate in His love. For this reason, the full revelation of the Holy Spirit is interior to us. We cannot just look upon the love shown on the Cross; we are called to enter into that love. This is possible because that very love has entered into us through the Holy Spirit. As noted above, all Three share everything equally, so there is not difference in the love that has been given to us through the Holy Spirit and the love that brought about our redemption on the Cross.

This is the same love that moved the Father to send His Son into the world and the same love that caused the Son to do so. This is the love that is within you now! We each have to enter into our hearts and, thereby, enter into that love. It is comparatively easy to look at the Cross and ponder the love such an act required, but God wants us to know that love, and that can only happen when it is within.

This is scary for us because we often do not think of ourselves as being very lovable. Not only does God love you, He finds His delight in being with you. Love, by its nature, is a two way street. On the natural level we find our joy in being with those whom we love. God wants you to find your delight in Him by accepting His love and loving Him in return.

Fr. Altier’s column appears regularly in The Wanderer, a national Catholic weekly published in St. Paul, Minn. For information about subscribing to The Wanderer, please visit