7 JUNE 2020 Solemnity of The Most Holy Trinity
SHARING THE LIVING WORD
by FR. CLYDE SALTRIERO, O.CARM
“How do you see God?”
There was once a story of a Pope who wanted a portrait of God. So he called all the artisans of Rome. He told them that whoever could perfectly portray God on canvas would receive a papal Award.
The artisans gathered inside the Vatican workroom and each one started to paint a portrait of God. They worked on their masterpieces for several months except for one painter named Guiseppe. Being old, Guiseppe would fall asleep in front of his canvas while thinking how he would paint God.
Finally, the time came when the Pope would judge their paintings. His Holiness toured the large gallery and looked at each painting beside its artist. God was represented in many ways: an Old Loving Man, a Shepherd, a King on a Throne, a Crucified, a Dove and several other ways. Yet to the surprise of all, the Pope was not satisfied with any of the portraits.
While the Pope rested on a corner, he heard Guiseppe snoring in front of his canvas. He went to the old painter and saw the empty canvas in front of him.
“This is it!” the Pope exclaimed, ‘this is the perfect portrayal of God.” The cardinals, bishops and all the artisans gathered around His Holiness holding the canvas with nothing painted on it.
“Your holiness, the canvas is empty and it has no portrait of God,” the cardinals told him.
“Exactly,” the Pope said, “that is how God looks like – Indescribable!”
My brothers and sisters, today the whole church celebrates the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit — Three Divine Persons, yet One GOD!
A lot of people, especially those who belong to other religions found it difficult to decipher the essence of the Holy Trinity. They would ask questions, like: “How come Three and yet One?” or “Why won’t they just be defined as three — having three different personalities?”
My dear friends, according to a Jesuit Theologian, Fr. John Chambers, he said: “Sometimes the Old Testament spoke of God like a son, or like a lover spirit, but the emphasis was always one. Then Jesus came into our world. Jesus was more explicit. Jesus seemed to equal himself to God but He still spoke of God as his father, and Jesus seemed to equal His Spirit to God but He still did not say that He has God’s Spirit.”
In fact, it wasn’t until three or four hundred years later, after much discussion, deliberation, discernment and prayer, that the ecumenical councils of the Church finally made it clear that God is three-in-one. Only 400 hundred years after Jesus, was the truth taught with certitude that God is Trinity.
What is very important in our celebration of this Trinity Sunday is not about defining its dogma. But the importance of our celebration today it that we shall understand the very essence and attribute of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, which is mercy. Pope Francis in the year 2016 once declared that “The Name of God is Mercy”, at the same time, Pope Francis declared 2016 as the “Year of Mercy and Compassion.”
And this essence of God being merciful is even confirmed by Jesus Himself when He revealed to his servant Saint Sister Faustina, the Apostle of the Divine Mercy. In her diary, Saint Sister Faustina recorded all the messages of Jesus which concerns mostly on God being a Merciful Savior rather than a just judge.
The merciful God, through Saint Sister Faustina introduced the whole world that every soul who venerates the image of Jesus, the Divine Mercy will receive extra-ordinary graces, and that at the hour of death, this soul will receive consolation from the merciful savior.
Another thing that God revealed to Saint Sister Faustina was about the “great hour of mercy”, that every three o’clock in the afternoon is considered to be a great hour of mercy, because at this time, as we all know, is the time when the Lord Jesus died on the cross and redeemed the world. Jesus promised that at this particular time, the doors of heaven is open wide for every sinner who knocks at God’s mercy, and that every soul who asks something from God at this very hour will receive mercy and grace.
Sadly, a lot of people nowadays look at God as a punishing God. But Jesus wants us to forget this concept or notion of a strict God — but a loving and merciful one.
If God were a judge, what kind of judge would He be? Would He be vengeful and fearful judge? If God levels off with our human standards, all of us would deserve condemnation and death. But the reality is that God is merciful. He is completely aware that we are just but humans — always subject to error and sin.
That is why Jesus declared in our Gospel: “Yes, God so loved the world that He gave His Only Son, that whoever believes in Him may not die but may have eternal life.”
We should not doubt nor forget it. Whatever happens, especially during this time of great trial, let us always remember that the Lord will always remain a merciful savior.
Again, in the diary of Saint Sister Faustina, Jesus declared: “The greater the sinner, the greater his rights to God’s mercy!”
Isn’t that a very consoling promise of Jesus?
This is a very consoling phrase uttered by Jesus to all of us. We are all sinners, therefore, we have the right to God’s mercy. No matter how heavy the sin you may have done, let us approach and beg for the mercy of God without hesitation or delay.
The story I related to you at the beginning of this homily says that God is indescribable.
But I firmly believe that the best one word to describe God is no other than the word: MERCY!
May we all experience this great mercy of God as we celebrate this Trinity Sunday.