Is the Trinity contradicting itself
Sermon of June 7th, 2020 for reading
Ex 34, 4b.5-6.8-9
Jn 3: 16-18
It is actually strange that the liturgical calendar has its own solemn solemnity of the Trinity. Every Sunday we celebrate the Trinity of God. And every day, every moment of our life, we Christians are allowed to believe in the Triune God, to be rooted in him. The Trinity of God is the basic secret of our faith. We are baptized into the three-one God. We begin our prayers "in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." That must be extremely important, the gateway to everything else Trinity Sunday. Is the Trinity perhaps an unsolvable riddle or even contradicting nonsense that one simply has to swallow? It is true that one cannot read a secret of faith in the world, but must have it communicated through God's revelation. But when God has something to tell us then he wants to be understood.How should the message of faith make our hearts secure if we could not understand it at all?
But how is that really? Do we Christians believe in three gods? Or is it just someone who appears in three different masks, so to speak? What does the Trinity of God mean for us, for our concrete life?
Believing in the Triune God is about how one can reconcile God's absoluteness with his devotion to the world. God is the creator of heaven and earth, the creator of all reality. Nothing can be without him. It's bigger than anything we can think of. And as such, he dwells in inaccessible light, as the Bible says. Seen from the world, God is hidden, absent. Then how can there be fellowship with this God? The answer we owe to Jesus is: The whole world is involved in a love from God for God, in the eternal love of the Father for the Son, which is the Holy Spirit. Jesus takes us into his relationship with the Father. This is the "salvation" we heard about in the Gospel of John. God gives himself to his creature by accepting it into his own triune life. Only in this way can we humans have fellowship with God. And this is where all are finally fulfilled Promises of God to Israel.
Perhaps one can make it clear this way: Mutual love only exists among equals, among equals. For example, if you are very fond of a pet, perhaps your poodle, then it can never be a matter of mutual personal love. You are human, and the poodle is a poodle. The difference is just too big. This is even more true of our relationship with God. In our mere creation, we cannot be loved by God on an equal footing. The difference between the creature and the Creator is just too great. We are finite creatures, he is the infinite God. As mere creatures we are at best in a relationship of slaves to a benevolent ruler. No matter how benevolent the ruler is, that doesn't change the fact that we can't meet him on an equal footing. There can be no mutual personal love between creature and creator if such a love is only possible among equals, among equals.
Against this background, Jesus now proclaims God as the loving Father. Jesus is the incarnate Son, of the same nature as the Father and loved by him from eternity. The Father loves the Son in the Holy Spirit, with divine love, on an equal footing. And Jesus' message is that we share in that love. We are accepted into this love between the Father and the Son. God makes us his children, equal to him, he fills us with his Holy Spirit so that he can love us in a divine way, and we him, on an equal footing.
But is God one or three now? Well, the one incomprehensible divine reality has existed from eternity as God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit: One nature in three persons. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are different modes of God's self-presence, namely God's relationships with himself. God owns himself as Father, as Son, and as Holy Spirit, and all of this. While this is not logically difficult, it is only recognized as true by believing in revelation, because it is completely beyond our natural faculties. You have to consider: It only makes sense to speak of the Trinity of God if it is also about our own relationship with God: We stand before God together with Jesus.
In concrete terms this means: God's love for me does not depend on my qualities and on no conditions at all. I can rely on her under all circumstances, in happiness and also in suffering, in life and in death. I have my home in God for all eternity, nothing will change that. I can live on one last trust. This is where all true freedom, the freedom of God's children, is rooted. The Father hears the voice of his Son in my prayers. So I can be sure that my prayer will reach the infinite God.
Meister Eckhart once put it this way: “God has only one love. With the same love with which the father loves his only begotten Son, with which he loves me. "I can only speak parable about this divine love in pictures that come from my very personal experience of human love.
Trinity of God, the center of our faith. No out-of-the-way speculation, but an expression that God is love, that the God and Father of Jesus is also our God and Father. Amen.
Robert Deinhammer SJ, Jesuit College Innsbruck
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