MANILA, Philippines – YOU probably heard of the joke about a woman whom a priest found bringing a bunch of novena-booklets to church. He asked, “Who is your favorite saint?” “Of course, I like the Blessed Virgin Mary best! But I also like her sister!”
“Sister? Who is she?” asked the priest. “Santa Trinidad, of course!”
Of course, the Virgin Mary had no sister and the funny story only proves how difficult it is to understand the mystery of the Holy Trinity.
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This Sunday is the feast of the Triune God — the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. In arithmetic we say 1+1+1 equals 3 but with the Holy Trinity it’s 1+1+1 equals 1! It is because the three Persons are distinct but have only one divine nature.
St. Patrick of Ireland used the shamrock leaf as illustration. It has three leaflets but only one stem. Another example is water. It can exist in three different forms: ice, liquid and steam, but the same H2O.
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“What is the significance to me if God is a three-Person but one God?” one might ask. “What relevance does it have in my life?” Aside from the fact that we have a Triune God on which our faith is firmly anchored, God communicated Himself and the Trinitarian family to mankind in a language that could be felt, touched, heard, and easily understood. He is telling us that He cares for us and is not a distant God.
Through Jesus Christ, God also revealed his main attribute which is love. “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son” (Jn 3:16). Jesus further said: “If anyone loves Me, he will keep my word. Then my Father will love him and We shall…make our dwelling place with him” (Jn 14,23).
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Love is the bond that unites the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Thus the more we practice love, the more we live the Trinity not as an incomprehensible mystery, but as a living, vibrant reality.
If there’s ever a most appropriate place where the Trinitarian love can be reflected, it is in the family. The family becomes a little Holy Trinity when family members love, care and respect one another.
Once a young boy, doing his homework, approached his father and asked: “Papa, how do wars begin? The father answered, “Well, a war begins when, for example, the USA attacks Britain, and Britain retaliates.”
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The mother, who was within hearing distance, intervened: “How could that happen? USA and Britain are allies!” “But that’s just an example!” the husband growled. “And how do you expect a child to learn with wrong examples!” the wife shot back.
Irked, the husband replied, “Would you shut up!” “You shut up, too!” the wife snapped. “What you’re teaching is wrong!” And the two shouted at one another. The son raised his voice and said: “Papa, Mama, that’s enough! Now I know how wars begin.”
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The story illustrates that intolerance of others’ opinions can cause conflicts and hurt feelings which are difficult to heal. Family members should strive always to think of the Trinity as their ideal community of love where children respect and obey their parents, where couples are faithful in their marriage vows, and where God is the center of their lives.
Finally, let’s be aware of the Trinity more attentively when we recite the Trinitarian prayer: “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit…” Likewise, when we make the Sign of the Cross.
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FAMILY TV MASS — is aired on IBC-13 at 7 a.m. every Sunday and on GMA Pinoy TV International. Sponsor: Holy Family Chapel, Greenhills, Mandaluyong. Celebrant: Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD.
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