“We Proclaim the Godhead”
June 7, 2020
2 Corinthians 13:5-13
Bishop Ariel P. Santos
Trinity Sunday, to many, is like a nightmare for priests and preachers when they give their sermons. The Trinity is not meant for us to be a puzzle to be solved, but a mystery to be explored, a truth that we need to experience and lived out. The Trinity is a model for us to follow. The Trinity is not meant to be understood theologically or intellectually, but to be experienced relationally.
The Godhead is an eternal community of love and love is best understood when we walk in it. Love is not something that we read about. Love is the intention, the desire and the willingness to do good for others. Love is indiscriminate where it is given to the deserving and underserving, the worthy and the unworthy alike.
Our God is an ever-blessing. He does not make anyone earn His blessing. It is said that respect is earned and that we give respect to those who are deserving. Our giving does not depend on the recipient but on who we are. We are partakers of the Divine nature, and our God, with this Divine nature is an ever-blessing God. Since God’s creation is His love, all that He does is to bless, to give, to do good, and to forgive others. These are our make-up, our DNA, our Divine nature that we partake of so that when we are kind to others, when we have compassion for them, it is not because of who they are but of who we are.
We are sons of our Father. We have received freely, therefore, we give freely. The Bible may say, “Give honor to whom honor is due,” or “Do good to those who are good.” But, as children of God, like what Jesus has instructed us, we go an extra mile. Children of God give an excess of kindness and mercy as partakers of His Divine nature. The Trinity overflowed with love and we are created in the image of God who is good ALL the time. He is good whether or not we are thankful.
In 2 Corinthians 5:14, St. Paul said that the love of Christ controls us. We give this love whether people are worthy or not. We think that when we give, we would lose or our worth would diminish. Our worth, which never changes, is based on the unchanging love of God for us. Even if we give and give, our net worth that is not dependent on our resources – material, emotional, intellectual, social or moral – but on God’s unchanging love for us never diminishes. We are the apple of His eye, therefore, do not be afraid to give. .
The nature of the Trinity is relational. It involves and requires others; it is outward. It is a continuous action – never ending; eternal and overflowing of love. As this is the description of the Trinity, then, this is also how we are to give love to others. If we have love but we are by our lonesome and we don’t give it to others, we call this narcissism – a love for self. Love is relational – involving others. Salvation is entering into and participating in this divine community of love, and this is eternal life.
When Jesus ate at the house of Zaccheus, he discovered the joy of giving that he said, “Lord, to whoever I have defrauded, I will give back to them four times and I will give half of my possessions to those in need.” Jesus said to Zaccheus, “Today, salvation has come to this house.” It is not saying that he has earned his spot in heaven for eternal life, but it is that eternal life is discovering the joy of giving not accumulating. Zaccheus has been amassing wealth for himself at this point but he was empty. On that day, he discovered salvation – eternal life – brought about his blessing and giving to others.
Let us renew our minds. Eternal life is not something we look forward to after this life as a reward for us that forever we will have it for our own. Being a son of Abraham, eternal life is blessing others and discovering the joy of our Master, the joy in the Trinity, because They give of Themselves out of love to another.
We can have the heavenly joy right here, right now because there are many needy among us. They are many who can be recipients of our love. It is unceasing, a lifetime reality and a growth process of knowing and growing in the love of God as we relate to each other. No man is an island. This is why we don’t like that we can’t gather in the Church because this is not the community of the Trinity. It is relationship with other. It is a continuous experience in growth and knowledge of our God, Who is love.
The difference between experiencing salvation or condemnation has nothing to do with God who always gives and gives. It has everything to do with us responding to His love. When we respond to His love, then, we discover the joy of our Master. God is a steady stream of love that is constant, unchanging, and eternal. We do not need to be condemned by Him because we already condemn ourselves by not choosing to participate in His love. He doesn’t judge us. God did not send His Son not to judge us but to save us. He offers a way out of sin and death into life. This is partaking of the Divine life.
Jesus said, “Love as I have loved you.” Love can’t be intellectually taught. It is not a theological concept; it is a truth; it is an experience. We have to walk in it in order for us to understand it. Love is God’s nature and it is the original cause of all that is seen and unseen. Creation is the product or is the result of God’s love in the community of the Trinity. As He is overflowing with love, He couldn’t help but have an object or recipient of His love. Our participation in that community is what will fulfill us. It is the true treasure, and if we will discover it, we will understand that God’s will for us is to enter into His joy.
I came across a writing of what Pope Francis where he said, “Rivers do not drink their own water, trees do not eat their own fruit, the sun does not shine on itself and flowers do not spread their fragrance for themselves. Living for others is a rule of nature. We are all born to help each other no matter how difficult it is. Life is good when you are happy, but much better when others are happy because of you.” This is what the Trinity is all about.
I am glad that despite the bad things or the negative that this pandemic has brought, it has also brought good. God uses all things, even the bad things, and He turns it into good. I have seen a lot of charity going around. I have seen a lot of kindness being demonstrated. I have seen a lot of generosity manifested. I am not just talking about the Church or Christians. All of us have been made in the image and likeness of God and this nature drives us to be givers, to be kind, and to be loving as well just like our Father. I have seen people being kind to the needy, people protecting those who are danger, and people praying. We may have been restricted to our homes as Church communities, but this has not suppressed or has stopped the exercise and the demonstration of God’s nature in us, and our participation in the community of love which is the Holy Trinity.
This is Who God is about. This is what we are invited in. This is eternal life and this is the way it is in the kingdom of our God.