Sunday, June 12, 2022

Moved by the Music

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (C)

Readings: Proverbs 8:22-31; Psalm 8:4-9; Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15

Picture: cc roanokecollege

My dear friends, do you read music? Unfortunately, I don’t. But even if I did, I expect that the experience of reading a piece of music off a page will be quite different from actually hearing it played. And I wonder if the same might not be said about the Trinity. As we know, the doctrine of the Trinity is the way we make sense of how God can be both one and three at the same time. We do it by saying that God is a Trinity of persons – Father, Son & Spirit – sharing the dignity of a single substance. But simply knowing how to recite the formula is not enough. For, like musical notation on a page, in addition to being read, the doctrine also needs to be played and heard, for its intended effect to be more fully experienced.

Our readings help us to do this by highlighting a key aspect of the doctrine that is easily missed, namely, God’s deep desire to communicate, to connect, even to commune with us. The first reading does this by re-writing the story of creation. It tells us that God’s first creation – created even before the oldest of his works – is Wisdom. And a key characteristic of Wisdom is delight. Not only does Wisdom delight God, by being ever at play in his presence, she also delights in the company of human beings like us. Created Wisdom connects us with the God who is present in all that God creates. So we might say that God’s first gift to us, even before we ever existed, is the gift of connection.

Yet so strong is God’s desire to connect that God isn’t satisfied with doing it through a creature like Wisdom. God also chooses to reach out to us personally. The second reading reminds us that, through the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus – the second person of the Trinity – we are given privileged access to God. An access that we enjoy, not just by pondering the beauty of nature, but also by finding solace in the Crucified and Risen Christ, whenever we suffer. In the company of Christ, our sufferings bring patience, perseverance, and a hope that does not deceive us, because it flows from the love that the Spirit pours into our hearts.

This is how the same Spirit leads us into the complete truth. Which includes the consoling message that, contrary to what our daily experiences may sometimes lead us to believe, our God is not distant, or disinterested, or disconnected from us. No, the God in whom we profess belief, is not just a Unity in splendid isolation, but a Trinity in constant communion. Drawing us into the loving embrace of Father, Son, and Spirit, and sending us forth to reach out to others. But to enjoy the music of this truth more completely, we need to go beyond reading it off a page, or preaching it from a pulpit. Above all, we need to pray. For prayer is how we let God connect with us. And isn’t this what God has gathered us here at this Mass to do? Amid the different struggles we may each have to face, we come to experience together a prayerful connection with the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit.

Sisters and brothers, if music is meant more to be heard than to be read, then what can we do to help one another better enjoy the Trinity’s consoling and challenging melodies today?

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