Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
June 12, 2022
For some reason, I’ve always liked the word “ANTITHESIS.”
Even though it’s a pretty useful expression, it is rarely heard in general conversation. It seems more like a “school word.” It is defined: A person or thing that is the direct opposite of someone or something else.
I find it a useful word to use when I am stumped in my efforts to understand or explain a person or thing whom or which is nearly impossible to describe or explain. In other words, when we can’t wrap our minds around an idea, it is sometimes helpful to think of what that idea IS NOT.
The Holy Trinity might be one of those things that Jesus wanted to explain in detail…but appreciated that His Apostles and disciples “could not bear it” as it is just too big a thing for us to wrap our minds around. The Lord deferred to the Holy Spirit to enlighten us as to how Three Divine Persons eternally exist within One God. After all these centuries, the “Threeness of God” is challenging even for a believer to conceptualize, let alone explain to an outsider.
Why shouldn’t it be? The Scriptures aren’t exactly helpful. The elements are all there, in both the Old as well as the New Testament. But nowhere in the Bible will we find the Trinitarian Doctrine (which is the very bedrock of our Christian faith) neatly defined. It was an insight that has come to us over the centuries as theologians wove together the various strands of revelation…the little hints or glimpses that God has given to help us better know and understand the Divine Self.
I wonder if this is one of those times when the word “antithesis” might come in handy.
Consider the invasion of Ukraine. As horrific as this war has been in terms of human suffering, what I have found to be absolutely heartbreaking is the spiritual devastation. The patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church has publicly supported the invasion. In short, Christians are killing other Christians with Church approval.
Christians who supposedly believe in the same God…Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…are locked in mortal combat with one another. And the truly heartbreaking thing is that the religious leader of the invading force supports this action.
Christians who believe that we are all created in the image and likeness of God are firing rockets at nothing short of the image and likeness of God. That is the antithesis of The Blessed Trinity, Who exists in eternal harmony, total unity, mutual respect, perfect peace, and infinite love. What we are witnessing in Eastern Europe is the antithesis of The Blessed Trinity.
Tragically, we do not have to look overseas (and to the Orthodox Christians) for concrete examples of the antithesis of God’s undivided unity and perfect peace, harmony, mutual respect, and love. Recently, a reliable Catholic news source published what they must believe to be reliable results from a poll conducted in mid-May.
The poll confirms what we know to be the situation. There is a clear…and growing…gap between American Catholics and Church leaders regarding a number of social issues with moral and spiritual implications. Both sides of these issues appear to be dug in and immovable. There is division, discord, and even disrespect within our Church…THE BODY OF CHRIST…and this is definitely the antithesis of what we celebrate today…THE BLESSED TRINITY!
I might not be able to conceptualize it…or offer a clear and convincing explanation of it…but I know when it is missing because I feel its absence and it hurts. We live in a period of salvation history which is the very antithesis of our God, Who created us in the Divine image and likeness. When we fail to co-exist in harmony, unity, mutual respect, peace, and love…we fall short of what we were created to be. And then WE, ourselves, become the antithesis of the Blessed Trinity.