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A Reflection for Trinity Sunday

June 7, 2020

Among the many “urban legends” in circulation is one relating to an expression said to be a Chinese curse:

“May you live in interesting times!”  While appearing to be a blessing, it is in reality loaded with the ironic hope that the recipient will be caught up in difficult and unpredictable circumstances.  Moreover, the saying cannot be traced back to any known Chinese source.  I think it is safe to say that what has already transpired in 2020, from a worldwide pandemic to mass unemployment to the global protest movement following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis, certainly qualifies as “interesting times,” to say the least.

One can fairly ask the question:  Is this a curse, the worst of all possible years in living memory, or is not this time rather an opportunity?  We are reflecting together on this question on Trinity Sunday, a feast celebrating the central truth of our Faith, namely, that in one God there are three Divine Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  On the face of it, this Church teaching may seem as remote and disconnected from our times and lives as can possibly be.  In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

The Trinitarian nature of God reveals Him to be perfect communion, a divine society wherein the love of the Father for the Son is so perfect and so perfectly reciprocated by the Son toward His Father that the fruit of their love is the Holy Spirit.  The Church always describes this revelation as a mystery, something which no human mind can ever fully know either in this world or the next.  But what we do see in the Blessed Trinity is love, mutuality and relationship, a divine community of Love whose members hold nothing back from each other,

but rather fully communicate themselves to one another in an ordered tranquility.

From a Christian point of view then, the Blessed Trinity is the model, template and paradigm for all human society, ranging from the family, the basic building block of society, to the universal Church and even to the nation itself.  On a very practical level, we would do well to ask:  What would our society look like if each of us consciously lived from the Trinitarian truth that the only society worthy of the human person is the one in which the members related to one another in a communion of love?  If such were the case, George Floyd might very well be alive today.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:  “Charity is the greatest social commandment.  It respects others and their rights.  It requires the practice of justice, and it alone makes us capable of it.” (Paragraph 1889)

If charity alone equips us to practice justice, as the Catechism teaches, then the famous passage in today’s Gospel, “God so loved the world that he gave his only son” (John 3:16), implies that we who have received the love of God in Christ have been empowered to be in just relationships with all people, regardless of race, ethnic origin, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, or social class.   Interesting times or opportune times?  May the Triune God grace us with the understanding to see what needs to change in our society and in our own hearts and grant us the courage to implement real change so that all Americans may live in safety and with the dignity and respect that all God’s children deserve.

Peace in the Lord Jesus,

Fr. Gregory

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