Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter
(Acts 7:15.22-18.1; John 16:12-15)
No doctrine of the Church is harder to grasp than the Holy Trinity. How the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are both three and one almost defies explanation. They are not three individuals making up a collective like a three-person volleyball team. The three persons have but one mind and one will. The Son, of course, has taken on a human nature, and his body is part of his heavenly presence. But this extrinsic quality does not explain the real difference among the three. They differ only by their relationships – one is Father; one is Son; and one is the life or Spirit among them. In today’s gospel Jesus reassures his disciples with reference to the unique triad and unity of the Holy Trinity.
Jesus underscores the unity of the Trinity when he says that the Spirit will teach only what it receives from him. In turn Jesus passes on only what he has received from the Father. One might ask whether only the Spirit would be present to Jesus’ disciples or to Christians today. No, Jesus has said in this same discourse that all three are present to his disciples. The Church would formulate the Trinity’s presence in this way: “The Father is present to us through the Son and in the Holy Spirit.”
Although they are one, we can develop a relationship with each of the three divine persons. To do this daily we can make an examination of conscience with the three in mind. We can say, “Thank you” to the Father, the source of all things, for any good that we have experienced during the day. We can say, “Forgive me,” to the Son who died because of our sins for any sins we committed. And we can say, “Please…” to the Holy Spirit who is sent to help us for any special need we have tomorrow.