Trinity Sunday – Year A
Saint Cecilia Catholic Community
June 04 2025 – 10:30 AM
Rev. David Justin Lynch
Exodus 34:4B-6;8-9 | Daniel 3:52-56
II Corinthians 13:11-13 | John 3:16-18
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
That’s very Trinitarian, and today, we celebrate Trinity Sunday. Many preachers avoid preaching today like a plague. Either they don’t truly understand the Trinity themselves, or if they do, they fear they will not be able to explain it such that the congregation understands it.
If you ask the Internet, “What is the Trinity,” you will get a response that goes something like this.
The Trinity is the concept that explicates a theory of one God existing in three distinct but inseparable persons: God the Father, God the Son, meaning Jesus, and God the Holy Spirit.
Each person of the Trinity is considered fully and equally God, possessing the divine nature. They are distinct in their roles and relationships but share the same essence or substance. In other words, they are one God in three persons. The Father is seen as the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, the Son is believed to have become incarnate in Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit is considered the presence and power of God in the world and within believers.
The doctrine of the Trinity is not explicitly stated in the Bible but has been derived from various biblical passages that describe the interactions and relationships between God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. The Trinity has been a foundational belief for mainstream Christianity. The Trinity has shaped the understanding of God’s nature and the relationship between God and humanity.
We recognized that as we opened our service this morning with a hymn wherein we sang, “God in three persons, Blessed Trinity.” But is God a person? Is Jesus, God’s Son, a person? Is the Holy Spirit a person? No, God is not a person like you and I are. No, Jesus is not presently a person, although he was at one time a person like we are. And no, the Holy Spirit is not a person like you and me are. So either what we sang is untrue, or perhaps, when we consider God, we need to define divine personhood differently than we do in our everyday lives.
Such a redefinition is necessary because we interact differently with God than we do with our fellow humans. One essential characteristic of a flesh-and-blood human person is that she or he possesses free will, or agency, that is, the ability to decide something and if able, to take action. God, however, is a mystery. We honestly don’t know if God consciously intervenes in the world and in our lives on an immediate basis or whether God designed everything in advance and then went away. All we can do is trust God to “do the right thing,” so to speak.
Trusting God is what it means to believe in God. We trust God always to have our back. If we did not trust God, we would have no reason to pray. But we pray to God without any assurance that God is listening to us or will do what we want God to do. Prayer allows us to express our hopes and aspirations. Since we do not know what God does when we pray, we are left looking at how prayer affects us. In prayer, human persons seek to augment their finite energy by addressing themselves to the infinite source of all energy.
When we pray, we link ourselves with the inexhaustible motive power that spins the universe. We hope that a part of this power will be apportioned to our needs. Whether or not that actually happens is anyone’s guess. Just like God, it is a mystery.
What does it really mean to believe in something or someone? If someone asks me, “Do you believe in God” or, more appropriately today’s feast, “Do you believe in the Trinity,” I would, of course, respond, “Yes, I do.” But to believe in someone or something is not only about intellectually accepting that someone or something exists.
A better question is, “What does it mean to believe?” The word “believe” permeates all religions and religious orientations, even that of atheists, who contend that God does not exists, or of agnostics, like my little brother Geoffrey, who aren’t sure about God.
Every Sunday, we sing the Nicene Creed, and at every Baptism, we say the Apostles’ Creed in dialogue format. Both creeds begin with the words “I believe.” What is going on inside ourselves when we articulate these words? What are we really singing or saying with the words, “I believe in God?”
God’s existence does not depend on human acknowledgment. That God exists is a reality beyond human perception. Look outside and see Mount San Jacinto. Scientists will tell you that the forces of nature put it there. However, how did those forces come into being? Who designed the principles by which those forces operate? God designed and put those forces into existence. And how does our birth relate to God’s existence? Yes, you were created by a biological process, but who designed that process to work as it did?
Try as you might, you cannot escape God the Creator. Whether God created the Universe as we know it in six days as described in the first chapter of Genesis is a matter of pure speculation. Unlike fundamentalist Christians, who read the Bible literally as a book of absolutely true historical facts written directly by God communicating to its human authors, Catholic Christians read the Bible as a collection of divinely-inspired stories.
Catholic Christians read the stories of creation in Genesis in a symbolic way, believing that they reveal some important things about the nature of God and humanity. The first chapter of Genesis reveals God to be omnipotent as creating the universe from nothing. God is seen as transcendent. God existed from the beginning above and beyond the universe. God is also seen as eternal, that is, existing before all things.
But Genesis is not the only creation story in scripture. There is another one, a very extensive one, in the Book of Job, considered by some scholars to be, chronologically speaking, the first scriptural book to be composed. Chapters thirty-eight through forty-two of Job go into great detail to explain why the Universe did not come into being on its own and was the result of an ordered design. I urge you to open your Bible and read it.
So what about Jesus, the so-called second person of the Trinity? Jesus was a flesh and blood person just like the rest of us who lived among humanity for about thirty-three years, a tiny smidgen of time in the multi-billion-year history of the Universe.
Nine weeks ago, we celebrated the Resurrection, when after finishing his human existence on earth, Jesus triumphed over sin and death to become a spiritual being with a spiritual body. Jesus is no longer physically among us to interact with us in the way you and I interact with other people.
Forty days after Easter, we celebrated the Ascension of Jesus, wherein the spiritual Body of Jesus ascended to Heaven to be with God the Creator demonstrating his exaltation and completion of his earthly ministry. It also marks the beginning of the disciples’ responsibility to carry on the mission of Jesus to spread the gospel by establishing the early Christian community.
Last week, we celebrated the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The Holy Spirit makes all life happen. She initiates and sustains our life, and in fact, that of all living and breathing creatures. The Greek word for spirit is pneuma, which also means “breath.” The second chapter of Genesis tells us that God created Adam from the clay of the earth and that Adam became a live human person when God breathed into Adam’s nostrils. Whether that literally happened, I do not know, but I do know that a baby begins personhood at birth when the baby takes her or his first breath and that when people cease breathing they cease living. Human life and breathing go hand-in-hand. The presence or absence of breath delineates the beginning and end of human life.
However, Jesus and the Holy Spirit have a very special relationship that we ordinary humans do not. Unlike us ordinary humans, Jesus was conceived in Mary’s womb by the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus received his divine nature, while from Mary his mother, he received his human nature.
On Trinity Sunday, we put all of that together and talk about what it means. Yet every time we celebrate the Eucharist, all of this comes together. God in three persons is the creator of everything, including Jesus, bread and wine, and us as human persons. The spiritual body of Jesus, that is, his resurrected body, during the Eucharistic Prayer, becomes physically present among us in the form of Bread and Wine through the power and action of the Holy Spirit. When we receive Jesus sacramentally, Jesus becomes part of us. Since Jesus is fully divine as well as human, by receiving Jesus in the Eucharist, we share in the divine nature of God.
The church year began with the Christmas Cycle on the First Sunday of Advent. After the Christmas Season, it paused and began the Easter Cycle a few weeks later on Ash Wednesday and concludes with the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, when the church was born.
Trinity Sunday begins a season of Ordinary Time when the readings center on the ministry and message of Jesus to help us with our own ministry and message. Ordinary Time is the season of what could be called “Applied Christianity” where we learn the practical application of the fruits of our relationship with Jesus. Over the next six months, we will live into our relationship with God, Father Creator, Incarnate Son, and Life-Giving Spirit.
When we celebrate the Holy Trinity, we celebrate the fullness of God’s divinity, manifested in God as Creator, God among us, and God’s continuing presence among us in the ongoing action of the Holy Spirit.
When we celebrate the Holy Trinity, we celebrate God’s majesty as the great king above all gods as we stand in awe of God just as Moses did in his encounter with God in today’s First Reading. Today’s canticle after the First Reading is one of the few times in the church calendar that it is not from the Book of Psalms. Instead, it is from the Book of Daniel as a response to the experience of Moses. It describes God as praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.
When we celebrate the Holy Trinity, we celebrate God by standing in awe of God and worshiping God in the beauty of holiness. That is why the Sunday morning liturgy here at Saint Cecilia’s is always celebrated with solemnity and dignity rather than emulating the informal group therapy approach found in other churches. Here, we sing an opera with God as our audience.
When we celebrate the Holy Trinity, we celebrate that all the corners of the earth are in God’s hands.
When we celebrate the Holy Trinity, we celebrate that God both made the sea and prepared the dry land.
When we celebrate the Holy Trinity, we celebrate coming before God’s presence with thanksgiving to be God’s people and the sheep of God’s pasture.
Yet despite God’s awesome power and majesty, our God is a loving god, described in today’s First Reading and throughout the Old Testament as “a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.” That is why here at Saint Cecilia’s, we welcome everyone regardless of characteristics like gender, race, sexual orientation, politics, or religious background. It is why we offer all sacraments to everyone. Here, we teach that God loves you unconditionally no matter who or what you are. Here, we don’t observe Pride Month, only in June. We observe its principles twenty-four-seven-three-sixty-five in all that we do as a church.
Our goal here is to have the power of God’s presence among us inspire us to live as Saint Paul implores us in today’s Second Reading. That is, be happy. Change your negative ways to positive ways. Encourage one another. Come to a consensus. Live in peace. Christianity is that simple. Saint Paul’s words are just a manifestation of the New Commandment Jesus gave us on the night before he died. That is, “Love one another as I have loved you.” And if you love Jesus, as I do, that is the commandment you will keep.
As I have stated over and over again in our Baptism homily, Christianity is a behavior religion. It is about love, not doctrine. That is why I have not bored you this morning with a detailed theological discourse on the doctrine of the Trinity. In the final analysis, the doctrines to which you ascribe, or even a total lack of doctrines in your life, do not matter to God. What matters is love. God loves you just the same, and so do we here at Saint Cecilia Catholic Community. AMEN.