June 12, 2022 The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
Welcome Father Martin Today’s Readings: Prv 8:22-31 | Rom 5:1-5 | Jn 16:12-15
We Christians begin every prayer and every service in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. And in the Creed, we confess God’s Trinity. Do we know what we are saying when we speak like this? What do we believe when we confess like this? God only knows how many theologians have racked their brains over this. And the best of them have always come to the same conclusion, namely: to become very modest and cautious when talking about God and in the end not to talk about him at all, but to worship him in silence […]
For us Christians, the linchpin of all talk about God is Jesus of Nazareth. He, the believing Jew, called God “dear Father” in complete harmony with the faith of his people. Not to paint God before our eyes as an old man with a long beard, but to express in a parable what God is like: One who protects and shelters, who defends and cares - of unconditional reliability. When we call God “Father” with the Bible and Jesus, we must not forget that a prophet like Jeremiah also called God “Mother”, not to claim that God is in reality a woman, but that God is also like a mother: life-giving, life-sustaining, tender, full of goodness - someone to whom one can cling like a child when one feels like crying. […]
[When calling Jesus the Son, Christians] say: Jesus belongs so inseparably to God that we would not know God at all if Jesus did not exist. He belongs entirely to God’s mystery. What belongs together in this way cannot be separated at some point before or after. That is why we Christians say: Jesus is the Son of God from all time and for all time. […] Centuries before the coming of Jesus, the Old Testament let the wisdom of God speak in a few wonderfully poetic lines - in the reading we heard it: God’s beloved child, who is present when the universe is created. - I was his joy. I played on his earth and my joy was to be with the people. You have to imagine it in a picture: God’s little daughter playing in the garden of the whole globe. A picture of grace, full of peace, without arg. That too belongs to God. God’s wisdom is expressed in what he is like. And the New Testament - e.g. the Gospel of Luke, but also Paul - call Jesus “God’s wisdom”. He is Son in such a way, belongs to God in such a way, that from this togetherness also something of God’s beauty shines forth. To be Son in such a way that he is also Daughter. Again we stand at the boundaries of language - and again we are drawn a little into God’s inner being through it.
You are probably not at all surprised now that it is the same with our speaking of the Holy Spirit. We use the symbol of the roaring storm to express how we experience God. In the Old Testament, the Spirit is called “ruach”, which is a feminine word that should be translated as “female spirit”. And once again, this is not aimed at the difference of the sexes, because God, being God, is beyond such differences. Such speech wants to be a parable of the nature of the Spirit of God.
Incidentally, artists have always been ahead of theologians in perceiving such fascinating features in the biblical image of God: towards the end of the 14th century, someone painted the Trinity with a spirit figure in the shape of a young woman in the village church of Urschalling in Chiemgau: Standing in the middle between the Father and the Son, her robe, which is pink and white, is puckered in such a way that it is involuntarily reminiscent of the female vulva, a cross-cultural and ancient symbol of life and fertility, i.e. precisely that which has always been the characteristic of the Holy Spirit in the Christian tradition.
Now you may understand what we mean when we confess God, the One, as the Triune. Just as a broken mirror reflects back a face many times, enigmatically, sometimes seemingly incongruously, so the mystery of God is reflected in the words of our human language: enigmatic, incomprehensible, contradictory at times even - and yet it gives us a glimmer of the richness, of the beauty that must belong to God when such features as Father and Mother, Son and Daughter, Spirit and Spiritess shine forth at the same time. Perhaps our confession of the Triune God wants to be nothing other than an invitation to go on the adventure of seeking God in the mirror of Holy Scripture. If you do, you will be surprised many times.
Source of reflection: Homily (shortened) by Father Martin Müller SJ, 2022. Source of image: Fresco of the Holy Trinity, Church of St. James in Urschalling, Upper Bavaria (Germany).
- 12 June - Opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation is offered after Mass, please proceed to the parish office.
- 16 June - Mass in English on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ at ICCH starts at 11am.