Reflection – May 26th, 2024 – Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Today is the feast of the Holy Trinity, the feast that marks one of the most unique beliefs of Christian faith, separating Christianity from other world religions. We believe in one God in three persons. We believe in a God who is defined by relationship. 1 John states that “God is love.” God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit and the perfect love that unites them in such a way that nothing is done by one person of the Trinity that is not equally shared by the others.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus’ disciples are instructed to go and baptize “in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit.” The Catholic Church only recognizes baptisms that use these three names for the persons of the Trinity. Some denominations use the words ” Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer” in place of Father, Son and Spirit but the Catholic Church does not consider that to be a valid baptism because Father, Son and Spirit all create, all redeem, and all sustain. Furthermore, when we are baptized, we are not simply acknowledging the gift of our creation and receiving the blessings of redemption and ongoing sanctification, as amazing as those gifts are! When we are baptized, we are welcomed into the relationship that is the Trinity. As the gospel of John 14:20 says: “on that day you will know that I am in the Father, and you are in me and I am in you.”

Today’s gospel also includes the statement: “they worshipped but they doubted. When I am struggling with doubt, when I am wondering why God allows people to do some of the horrific things that they do, it is my understanding of the Trinity that helps me maintain my belief and my hope. The Father, Son and Spirit are one because the love between them is perfect. The scriptures make it clear that Jesus had the option to turn away from the Father, but he chose to remain faithful, to maintain the absolute love that he shared with the Father and the Spirit from the beginning. This perfect love did not prevent pain, suffering or evil but it did prevent pain, suffering and evil from having the final word. In our baptism we were welcomed into the relationship of the Trinity. At every point in time, we have the option to turn away, but we also always have the option to open our hearts and dwell in the perfect love that casts out all fear because it knows that love, and not suffering is what will endure.

People often ask me how I can bear all of the sadness of the palliative care unit. The reality is that the palliative care unit is one of the places where a person has a chance to see the amazing power of love and to witness the human capacity to share in the perfect love of the Trinity. When families and friends gather at the bedside of someone who is dying and tell the family stories, the limitations of time and space sometimes seem to fall away and all that remains is love. It is love that binds the Trinity. It is love into which we are baptized. And it is love that is stronger than death. The Feast of the Holy Trinity invites us to once again choose love.

~Pam Driedger


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