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The Most Holy Trinity
during the coronavirus pandemic
June 7, 2020


    I like this little story about St. Augustine, fifth century bishop and one of the Church’s greatest theologians. It seems that, one day he was walking along the seashore pondering the mystery of the Trinity (theologians actually do such things!) and he came across a young boy who had dug a large hole in the sand and was watching it fill with ocean water.  “I’m going to put the entire ocean into that hole,” the boy told him.  Augustine told him that that was impossible, that the hole in the sand was way too small to contain all of the vast ocean. To which the boy replied, “And neither can you fit the Trinity into your little brain!”  The boy then vanished, and Augustine realized that he had been speaking with an angel.

     I think we all try to fit the Trinity into our too small brains and when we find we can’t - that it simply won’t fit – we tend to give up on the Trinity altogether. We banish it to the outer perimeters of our faith life.

     But the Trinity belongs at the very heart of our faith, not at the margins. And the Trinity is not a puzzle, a problem to be solved. It’s a mystery – something we can explore but never exhaust - a mystery not about numbers(three is one, one is three); no, a mystery about persons, a community of persons, Father, Son and Spirit, forever locked in this loving, life-giving embrace, forever involved in a beautiful dance that encompasses all of creation and each one of us. It is by the power of the Trinity that we were created and it is in the name of the Trinity that we were baptized - becoming God’s beloved children, brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, made holy by the Spirit who dwells within us.

     The mystery of the Blessed Trinity is the mystery that defines God, but it is also the mystery that embraces us. In ways we will never fully understand, the eternal God, a community of persons forever locked in love, opens the divine embrace to include the likes of us. And in embracing us, God calls us and makes it possible for us to embrace others – to reach out beyond ourselves in the same way God does, enfolding in our embrace all those whom God puts in our path: family, friends, strangers. And at this time when our nation is being torn apart by the gaping, unhealed wound of racial prejudice racial inequality, and racial injustice, our embrace of the other must not only be one of love – it must also be one of justice, it must be an embrace that affirms the unique value and equality of each and every human person, an embrace that says passionately and unequivocally that Black Lives Matter, an embrace that is just as passionately committed to making Black Lives Matter! And, you know, my friends, this is not an option. If we are to call ourselves Christian, it is an imperative. I would call it a Trinitarian imperative!

     And so, aware that God is the source of all resolve and that God is the force that propels us to embrace our holy and ever-so-demanding call, let us conclude with the blessing that St. Paul offered so long ago to his beloved community at Corinth, the blessing we heard in today’s second reading, the blessing with which we began this Mass and with which we begin every Mass: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all!”

Father Michael G. Ryan





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Seattle, Washington  98104
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