The Gospel reading for Trinity Sunday Mass was John 16:12-15, where Jesus declares his divine authority – “All that belongs to the Father is mine” – and his connection with the Holy Spirit.
Trinity Sunday reminds us that a holistic approach to poverty relief flows from a holistic view of God. Our God is one, but he’s also three – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. A man is one, but he’s also two – body and spirit – and each must be nourished.
I admit that from a public relations perspective, the Trinity seems like a liability. You just can’t wrap your brain around it. St. Patrick’s three-leaf clover is, at best, an incomplete metaphor; and even the more philosophically satisfying metaphors, such as three-dimensional space, don’t fully explain how three Persons can be one God.
Yet, the Trinity is also an asset. Love of neighbor begins with the love that the Father, Son and Spirit share with each other in eternity. Self-sacrifice begins with the radical idea that God the Son sacrificed himself on the cross for our sins. Sanctification begins with the Holy Spirit sent from heaven to transform our hearts and minds.
The doctrine of the Trinity means that God is far beyond us, but also very near to us. Because God is spirit, we can tell the poor there is hope beyond their difficult earthly lives. Because God became flesh, we can affirm that our bodies are important and that the physical needs of the poor matter.
Just as we worship God in his wholeness, we must serve our needy brothers and sisters in the wholeness of what God created them to be: flesh and spirit, mind and heart, designed for earth, called to heaven, endowed with a moral will and filled with a longing to know the Maker.