‘Do You Accept Being Drawn Into God’s Trinitarian Life?’
The following is the text of a homily given to the Cor Jesu Young Adult Group at St. John the Baptist Church, Fort Wayne, on Jan. 8.
Every year during the Christmas season, the entirety of St. John’s first letter is read at the liturgy, beginning on Dec. 27 and ending on the Saturday after the Epiphany. In a marvelous way, First John unfolds the mystery of the Word made flesh and reveals to us what we are to become as the children of God.
Today is Wednesday after the Epiphany, and we heard part of the fourth chapter of this letter of St. John. A major theme of the letter is that a genuine Christian life must be a life of love — love for God and for one another. It is not enough that we say that we love God: We must demonstrate this love through real and concrete action toward our brothers and sisters. What is foundational, however, is St. John’s teaching that this love originates in God, that “God is love.” God not only shows love; God is love. As the Catechism says: “God’s very being is love. By sending his only Son and the Spirit of love in the fullness of time, God has revealed his innermost secret” (CCC 221).
This gets to the greatest and most unique truth of our Christian faith, namely that there is one God in three Persons. The Trinity is the center of our Christian faith and life. God is not some static deity who manufactures a world unrelated to Him. The God revealed to us in Jesus Christ, the God we believe in as Christians, is a continual gift-giving between Persons united in love. God is a Love so powerful that, while Three, He is utterly One.
In His inner life, God is a communion of love. God the Father holds nothing of Himself back from the Son, whom He loves; and the Son holds nothing of Himself back from the Father. The Holy Spirit is the seal and the fruit of this love. This is the mystery of the Holy Trinity. God is love! This is God’s innermost secret that He has revealed to us. It’s pretty astounding. St. Augustine once expressed in a homily how astounding this is. He said: “If nothing at all were said in the other pages of the scriptures, and this were the one and only thing that we heard from the voice of the Spirit of God, that God is love, we wouldn’t have to look for anything else.”
Now, besides talking about this astounding mystery about God’s inner life, which surpasses our complete understanding, there’s something else that is astounding. God revealed Himself, His being as Love, to us, by sending us His Son, by becoming one of us (the Incarnation). Why? Not only to reveal Himself to us so that we know who He is in His innermost life, but in order to share that life with us. As we heard in our reading today: “In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him.” He did this out of love for us. As today’s reading also says, “God sent His Son as expiation for our sins.” He sent us His Son to