June 3, 2012

TRINITY (B)       

All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. – Matt. 28: 18

   The owner of a café in Nevada was so sure that his bartender had the strongest hands around that he offered a standing $1,000 bet that after the bartender had squeezed a lemon into a glass, anyone who could squeeze 1 more drop of juice out of the lemon would win the prize.

   People came from miles around to see the competition. All kinds of strong men tried to win the money: weight-lifters, longshoremen, cowboys, physical trainers, but nobody could do it.

   One day a scrawny little man came into the tavern wearing thick glasses & a rumpled suit. In a tiny, squeaky voice he said to the bartender, “I’d like to try the bet.” Several people snickered. Then the confident bartender grabbed a lemon. With practiced effort he squeezed it dry & handed the shriveled rind to the little man. More laughter from onlookers, then silence as the little man clenched his fist around the lemon. He squeezed until his whole face turned red as a tomato. Then, with one more great effort, he squeezed the seemingly empty lemon shell & six drops fell into the glass.

   As the crowd cheered, the bartender paid the money & asked the little man, “What do you do for a living? Are you a lumberjack, a weight-lifter, or what?” Pocketing the prize, the little man said with a smile, “I work for the I.R.S.”


   For those who have lived long enough, I dare say we have all experienced moments when it seemed like someone or something was squeezing the life out of us – whether it be a gov’t agency or a disastrous habit which is wrecking our lives. But there is one authority that promises to pump life into us: The Holy Trinity.

   Think about it: what is the worst thing that can happen to any human being – that would make life unbearable. It is quite simply being unloved or worse yet, being unlovable. Instinctively, we know that we are at our best, our most moral, our most human, our most divine, when we are in loving relationships. Why? Because it is at those times that our true identity is revealed. What identity is that? Our identity as beings made in the image & likeness of the triune God, revealed precisely as a God whose very nature is a loving relationship between Father, Son, & Holy Spirit. No wonder, then, that we are most happy, most godly, most fulfilled when we are in a loving relationship, when we are “Trinity.”

   Conversely, we are least ourselves, & most unhappy & most inhuman when we are out of relationship, out of sync with the Trinity in whose image we are made. That is why the worst pain & illness in the world is to be out of relationship. Think of the raw emotions of a betrayal, a separation, the death of a spouse or a child, a divorce, or most tragically, never establishing a relationship to be broken, as in the case of orphans or children who grow up never feeling loved by one or both parents. These situations hurt so much because they go against the grain of who we are. The programmers for the Hallmark channel seem to understand this fact very well.

   So the next time somebody says to you, “Well, you’re a Catholic; you believe in the Trinity; what’s it all about?”  We don’t need to go into an elaborate discussion. Simply say, “It’s about three Persons bound in a relationship of love – and it’s about me, because I am the reflection of that relationship. The Trinity is the basis of the moral life which urges me to show in my life the glimpse I have of God’s life: Father, Son & Holy Spirit in love.”  AMEN!