The teaching of the Church on the Most Holy Trinity is clear. The Trinity is a tripod of three persons in one God. They are not three gods but three persons in one God, undivided in unity and equal in majesty. The history of this teaching goes back to the promulgation of the Council of Nicaea in 325 A. D. when Emperor Constantine called an assembly of bishops and leaders of the Church.
The challenge was posed by the Arian heresy which taught that Jesus was not begotten but caused to exist by the Father and thus possessed the divinity of the Father. The relationship of Jesus to the Father was under serious question as taught by the Arians. The Nicene Creed retained Jesus as begotten by the Father just as we say it today. The Council Fathers agreed that Jesus is equal to the Father and that He was begotten and not made as he existed with the Father right from time immemorial. Other resolutions of the Council are setting the date for Easter, the structure of the episcopate and the formulations of canons to guide church leadership.
Did that confuse you? It should not because the Bible offers us some understanding on the work of each. God the father revealed himself to the people of Israel through his saving act from Egypt to the Promised Land. The first reading shows Moses as leader under the authority of God the Father. Moses said to the people, “This is why you must now know, and fix in your heart, that the Lord is God in the heavens above and on earth below, and that there is no other.” God the Father protected them and provided for all their needs to assure them of his everlasting love.
When it was time, God the Son revealed himself by taking flesh to live among us and what theology calls incarnation. And so, Jesus is the image of the unseen God who came into our realm to show us his unending love. The gospel says, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” For one to possess such power, he needed to come from above.
Then Jesus commanded the apostles to go into the whole world and make disciples from every nation with the gift of baptism “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” When Jesus finished his mission, he promised the Church the support of the Holy Spirit which materialized on Pentecost.
There should be no disagreement on the roles of these three persons in one God. It was Tertullian (converted in 185 A. D.) who began the use of the term Trinity. He declared that though God was a unit, he could play many several personalities of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Council of Nicaea argued in that line and recognized the roles played by these personae at different points in the history of the people of Israel.
The point of today’s celebration is to remind us of the Godhead. Although the word Trinity is not mentioned in the Bible, there are many passages that point to the doctrine on Trinity. For example, Revelation 3: 5 - 6 says, “The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Within this text, we can see an indication of the three persons working in harmony.
The second reading offers us an encouragement, “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.” All of us belong to the community of believers and we have been blessed by the work of God as Father through His Son Jesus Christ as we depend on the Holy Spirit to guide us into the unknown future. There should be no confusion as to the unity of the Godhead. Jesus promised us “I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
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