Today we celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity. Our celebration will never get off the ground if we only try to work out in our heads what it means. Some things can only be understood when we experience them for ourselves. Perhaps our hearts will take us there more quickly than our heads.
In the Creation story in Genesis, God speaks the amazing words, 'Let us make humanity in our own image!' This is strange language for a One God culture. But it doesn't take long for that image to be tarnished and shattered, bringing punishment on the guilty.
In St. John’s Gospel, even though he agrees that the world and the human face have somehow become alienated from the one who created them. Even though he can see that something is happening which is separating creation and the human family from the Love which brought them to be. Even though he acknowledges that darkness and hostility cloud the faces of those born for better, he sees more .......
God continues to love His creation even when it is broken. This love flows into the world through the Beloved Son who came to renew the communion that was lost, and bring life where death reigns. St. John cannot stress enough that God is never motivated by the need for revenge or condemnation. There is no desire to punish the unjust. Yet, each of us has to choose whether to open or close ourselves to the offer of love that is on the table. And this isn't any old table. It is the table at which the Beloved Son of God celebrated the last Supper. Where new words of life and love were to be found hidden in the bread that was broken and in the chalice of forgiveness. Every word, every gesture at this table is an invitation to see into this Love. If we get it, it becomes more fun trying to figure out ways to remain steadfast in love, even with those who have separated themselves from us.
So for me it unfolds like this. The whole creation bears the imprint of the Creator and the human face is the Icon of the Creator. Since we are made in the image of the Trinity, who we are is much more than we ever imagined we could be. Just as the Trinity are so in Love that they are One, it means that we are not alone inside our own skin.
Perhaps our biggest mistake is to think of ourselves as self-sufficient, self-enclosed people who have an individual destiny. When we do this we will always be in competition with others. Our personal dignity will always be undermined by comparing ourselves to others, and by negative experiences which may invade our lives.
Jesus speaks often about the infinite preciousness of every person. Perhaps we only grow in our understanding of what this means when we engage in the struggle to build communities of belonging. But we do not belong to each other in our solitude. Our belonging is created by the loving activity that defines our lives as people. Can you begin to feel the exhilaration which comes from escaping the prison of individualism and stepping into the far horizons of community?