Trinity Sunday

May 26, 2024

May 26, 2024

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May 26, 2024

Trinity Sunday

Julia

Julia

Erdlen

Erdlen

Today we celebrate Trinity Sunday, one of the most complicated and hard to explain mysteries of our Church, even as many theologians have tried. We have a God who is three persons in one, Creator, Jesus Christ, and Spirit, all 100% God and not a fraction of a whole. Trinity isn’t a math problem that we can solve, even if it’s tempting to try and approach it that way. It’s a relationship. We have a God of relationship, between even the persons of God. And that is an invitation and a comfort. What blessed people we are, as the psalmist says, that God has chosen us to be God’s own.

As I walked my college students through rehearsal for the rites of initiation, I ran through the promises they would be making in their baptism, mimed big dramatic gestures of pouring a pitcher of water out three times, and stressed that they would certainly be drenched in water. The Trinity can be compared to many things, but for me it is most recently three pitchers dumped over their heads, and my student’s eyes going wide when they realized just how much water that would be. The Trinity, like the water, can be overwhelming and always so much more than we expect.

God is always bigger than we can imagine, and the Trinity is a constant reminder of that. If I try too hard to nail down one metaphor, one perfect image to describe this mystery, I’ll hit up against the limit of my own human understanding. I can’t smush down God into a tiny box. God simply won’t fit. God is always bigger than I can imagine, and all I can do is keep adding more and more ways to describe and understand God, as I grow in my own understanding and encounter with God.  

The Trinity reminds us that we have a multitude of connection points to God. One of my favorite retreat activities I do with my students is invite them to reflect on their Image of God. What images did they grow up seeing or hearing about, what they might want to leave behind, and what their Image of God looks like right now. We have so many images in scripture, tradition, and from the saints to inspire and  shape an image of God that works for wherever we are now. We have a multitude of connection points to God, and the Trinity gives us three wonderful jumping-off points.

For many of my queer students who have fraught relationships with their biological families, the image and language of God, their Heavenly Parent, whose love and acceptance is truly unconditional, is very needed in their life. Jesus called God Abba and showed us the closeness of relationship God invites us all into. As the first reading says, “Did anything so great ever happen before? Was it ever heard of?” How wonderful it is to be invited so close to our all-powerful, all-encompassing Creator!

And when I meet students in crisis - in tears because they are carrying burdens heavier than any young person should - I can offer the person of Jesus to them. In the midst of great pain, Jesus Christ who cried, was wounded and suffered became very precious to them. God understands them because Jesus Christ was so very human. When tears come, theirs or mine, I see in them the tears of Christ, tears of God.

And for me, the Holy Spirit is my go-to. When I look around and see a world and a church broken by sin, I call to mind the Spirit, the Sustainer, sent to us on Pentecost to guide us to make the Kingdom of God more present on Earth, day by day. The Spirit gives me a hope that is not easily dashed, even when that Kingdom of God isn’t being realized on earth as quickly as I might like. God is all encompassing, surrounding Love that is with ustill the end of the age.

When, as our second reading says, I might fall back into fear, I can recall that the God of relationship, who is three persons in one God, continually invites us to grow in relationship. God has modeled Love in God’s very self. And so, as heirs of God we must try to rise to that invitation to Love, to love God, ourselves, our neighbors, and our planet, as best we can, day by day.  

First Reading

Dt 4:32-34, 39-40

PSALM

Ps 33:4-5, 6, 9, 18-19, 20, 22

Second Reading

Rom 8:14-17

GOSPEL

Mt 28:16-20
Read texts at usccb.org

Julia Erdlen

Julia Erdlen

Julia Erdlen (she/her) is originally from the suburbs of Philadelphia, completed her undergrad at Notre Dame, and then spent a year in Detroit serving as a Jesuit Volunteer at the University of Detroit Mercy. She completed her MDiv at Boston College’s Clough School of Theology and Ministry, where she worked with low-income and LGBTQ+ students. She now serves as the Liturgy Coordinator at Saint Louis University. She has also written for US Catholic & New Ways Ministry, and is a part-time hospital chaplain.

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