This Sunday is Holy Trinity Sunday and the gospel for this solemnity is the great commission that Jesus gives to His disciples before He ascends into heaven. He tells the disciples to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ very last words to his disciples before his ascension shows us that we are called to be one with God who is a Trinity of persons. This may be something that we have been taught from a young age, but do we have some understanding of what it means? We could never have full comprehension because the full nature of God is a mystery, but we can delve deeper into the mystery. In fact that is our calling as His creatures. 

Before the beginning of time, God was. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that before the beginning of time, God IS. God is outside of time, and because of this, our understanding of beginnings and ends do not apply to Him. Unlike humans who can only experience time in individual moments, every moment of time is present to God. Thus, He IS. In fact, He is the one who holds all of time in existence. Yet, as people bound by time, we can only speak from the limited view of being inside its constraints. 

At our creation, our souls are destined to continue eternally because we are made in the image and likeness of the eternal God. We will experience eternity (hopefully in full communion with God) and come to experientially understand timelessness. But for the time being, we cannot fully understand what it means to say that God IS without beginning or end. 

With that being said, one way that we can learn more about God is through His relationships.  He is a Trinity of Persons in one God, all of whom relate to each other. Those three Persons always ARE with no beginning or end and ARE in eternal relationship with each other. God the Father is the Begetter, God the Son is the Begotten, and God the Holy Spirit proceeds from both. This happens for eternity in God’s one essence. 

Yet, God has extended the relationships of the Trinity beyond Himself to us. He has made relationships with us and revealed Himself to us through His Word which tells us that God is Love (1 John 4:16). Through this revelation, we understand that God the Father is not just the beggetter, but the Lover. Likewise, the Son is not just the begotten, but the Beloved. Finally, the Holy Spirit that proceeds from Both, is the Love that connects them. The revelation of God being Love does not replace our understanding of the Begetter, Begotten, and Procession. Rather, Love encompasses our previous understanding and enhances its depths. 

When we hear the term ‘begot’, it can be tempting to think that the Father was present before the Son and the Spirit. This is not the case. The Father did not create the Son, and They did not create the Holy Spirit. The very nature of love demands that a community be present. A lover cannot be without something to love. A lover also cannot be without love itself. Thus God, who is the infinite Lover, is a Trinity of Persons in Love, who are ever present through all eternity, none existing without each other. 

We also must not think that the Son and the Spirit are idle in their relationship with the Father. They are not just a placeholder for the Love of the Father. Rather they intentionally reveal and glorify the Father in Love. This is accomplished by doing the will of the Father. In doing so, the cycle of Love is completed within the Trinity. Whenever the Father sends out His Son and Spirit, They accomplish His desires and the purpose for which He sends Them (Is 55:11), which is doing the will of the Father and giving Him glory. In turn, the Father showers His love and glory on the Son and the Spirit who have done His will. Thus glory, honor and love are granted to all who participate in the Trinitarian life.

Why does this matter? First, because the intricacy of God’s love is in and of itself a marvel. But beyond that, this has joyous implications for us who believe in God. When God becomes man it is the Son who takes on our Humanity. He does this to establish an intimate relationship with each of us. He does not wish to stay far off, but to draw near to us. Jesus Christ, who is the second Person of the Trinity, the Son of God, takes on our existence so that we can be in relationship with the Trinity. The Son extends His life to us, thus inviting us into the Love of the Trinity.  When Jesus gives us the Church and His Body and Blood in the Eucharist, He draws us to Himself, and we become one with Him in His Body. 

Jesus, the second person in the Trinity, is the beloved of the Father. When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, we enter into His ‘belovedness’. Thus, in our reception of the Body and Blood of Christ, the Father looks on us as His beloved sons and daughters. This has been His desire from before the beginning (outside of time). Each of us has been destined to be eternally beloved by the Father in the same way that His Son is Beloved. The community of the Trinity as a community of Love is eternally prepared to communicate Its Love to us through the Beloved Son of God present in the Eucharist.

But the love is not meant to stop there. Once we receive the Love of the Father, we are called to be Lovers as the Father is. When Jesus, the Beloved, receives the Love of the Father (the Holy Spirit), He does the will of the Father which is always to share His Love. When we receive the Beloved in the Eucharist, it gives us the grace to do the will of the Father as Jesus does. This is why we are sent from every Mass to go forth. We have shared in the Love of the Trinity taking on the Beloved and receiving His ‘belovedness’. We then go out and give glory to the Father who returns the Love and glory to us. Thus, we enter into the life of the Trinity as our love echoes in eternity. 

We celebrate this mystery this Sunday because no greater gift has ever been given. We have been granted access to not only witness God’s divine life, but to experience it! While the mystery remains, we can be sure that what God has in store for us in eternity is something beyond our wildest dreams.