The Feast we celebrate today is not one that was (or is) celebrated in the Jewish faith. In their faith the Jewish people focus on, praise and thank God the Father of his people. For them God is the almighty Father who loves his people as a community and as individual children whom he has created. God the Father stands alone.
For us Christians, this core belief of the Jewish faith is also central in our faith but in our faith in God we go much further. The Mystery of the Trinity summarises our belief in and understanding of God. We believe there are three Persons in God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and yet God is one. These three Persons aren’t three separate Gods but together are for us the one God of Jesus Christ. For us God is triune or threefold. This is how Jesus presents his understanding of God and so we speak of and believe in the Trinity of Persons in one God. This is a deep mystery beyond our understanding but it shouldn’t be seen simplistically as a mere mathematical conundrum!
Today many Christian scholars, in discussing the God of Jesus Christ, emphasise that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not just perfect and infinite, but combine together to form the perfect community. Our Church teaches that the relations between the three Persons are perfect; they are relations of perfect love. The Father loves the Son; the Son loves the Father, both love the Holy Spirit and the Spirit returns that love perfectly. These relationships are, then, relationships of equality, of perfect sharing and are perfectly mutual. Thus we can say the three Persons form a perfect community in which everything is shared and love is perfect.
All this is the reality of God’s inner life; this is the nature of the divine life. While we believe, as mentioned in previous homilies, that God has promised us a share in that divine life, it is obvious that we ourselves as just human, cannot achieve that by our own resources. God’s grace in Jesus is essential for us and we know that the Saviour provides that grace abundantly for all.
It may be more practical and helpful in our spiritual lives to think and pray in terms of our relations with Father, Son and Holy Spirit as individual divine Persons. Leaving the inadequacies of the past aside, we should see God the Father as the God of love. He/she has created all creatures out of love and continues to love them all, including especially ourselves, despite our sins and faults. We are called to reciprocate this love as best we can. Jesus as God the Son came on earth to show by his life and death how much the Father loves us. He is for us the model of how we should love the Father and our neighbours. He calls us to do that and gives us the grace to do it. We may say the Holy Spirit is God’s love made personal and active in our world. As such the Spirit inspires, energises and calls us to imitate Jesus and so to love as best we can. In this context we may quote an old saying some find appropriate and accurate: The Holy Spirit comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable!