“It’s a mystery.” Such a statement can mean many things to us. It might mean something that is unsolvable. Or perhaps it means a question for which we do not have an answer. On the other hand it may be our way to avoid a question we cannot handle. It can even be used to refer to a novel or a movie involving a crime.
When we speak of the “mystery of the Trinity” or some other “mystery of our faith” none of the above descriptions is accurate. “Mystery” in this case is used to speak of something the meaning of which is so great that we can never exhaust the truth of it. All of our seeking and searching, all of our questions will help us with understanding, but there will always be more to discover in such mysteries. This is certainly true of the “mystery of the Trinity.”
In celebrating the Feast of the Trinity we are acknowledging a truth this is at the foundation of who we are as Christians. It expresses our faith in our God who loves us deeply, as a parent. So deeply does this God love us that God came in the person of Jesus to live among, to share the life that we live, even unto death. More than this, Jesus draws us into sharing a loving relationship with God and calls us to share with others, all others, the loving relationship we have with God. This gift of love from God brings us to full and eternal life. All of this and more is expressed in the “mystery of the Trinity.”
Matthew in his Gospel (Matt.28:16-20) opens up the many aspects of this mystery of the Trinity. He does so in relating an experience of the disciples in an encounter with the Risen Jesus. It is significant that they have this experience on a mountain, in fact the mountain on which Jesus presented what we call the Sermon on the Mount. This sermon covers Matthew chapters 5-7. It is a collection of sayings and teachings which capture the core of the message of Jesus and the focus of his whole mission among us. In some ways then, it expresses the meaning of the Trinity for us.
As the disciples encounter Jesus on this mountain, they discover that they are being included in the relationship of love that Jesus has with God as a loving parent. They are adopted children of God. In this relationship Jesus draws them into his mission. He is not “handing on the mission”, but rather he is “including them in his mission.”
Matthew’s account reassures those disciples and us that Jesus will be with us always. The gift of the Spirit expresses this. Thus, we will always live and act in our relationship as children of God who loves us as a parent and shares even divine life with us. The disciples and we are to live in loving relationships with all the peoples of the earth. For all peoples are children of God. This and more is expressed in the “mystery of the Trinity.”