Trinitarian Life as Communion and Mission

Antonio, P. Pueyo
Trinity Sunday
May 22, 2005
Reproduced with Permission

Living this Trinitarian communion and witnessing to this life of love is not always easy. As one missionary observed, "There are two difficult situations in a mission. First, when one has to live alone in his mission area, and second, when he has to live with others."

This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. The mystery of the Trinity is not an easy doctrine to explain It can be a stumbling block in preaching. Preachers have tried to use different images to explain it. In Ireland the shamrock leaf with its three points has been used as an illustration one leaf with three points. I hve seen one catechist light three matchsticks and brought them together -- three matchsticks, one flame. The Trinity is three is Persons in One God. The Trinity is one God manifesting Himself as Father, Son, and Spirit.

Rather than begin with doctrinal explanations, let us look at our experience of uniqueness and union. Each person is different and unique. As somebody said, after God created each one of us, he threw away the mould. Although unique, we are not alone. We are called to live life in communion with others. We are a unity in diversity. This call to communion has as its source as well as its model the life of the Holy Trinity. The God we know is not just the Lord God who is creator and who called a chosen people with whom He made a covenant. He is a God who in the fullness of time revealed Himself most fully in the human face of Jesus. He is a God who continues to be with His Church and the whole of creation today through His unseen yet real Spirit. God is Trinity.

Theologians like St. Augustine tried to explain the inner life of the Holy Trinity as a life of love. At the risk of perhaps not doing justice to St. Augustine, let me attempt to explain it in simpler language. Love by its nature overflows. A love that is kept is not love. The Father's eternal love overflows towards the eternal Son. This love is eternally reciprocated by the Son. This mutual and Eternal Love between Father and Son is personified in and as the Holy Spirit. This life of communion between Father-Son-Spirit is the Trinitarian life of love.

God therefore is community. God is communion. Each Person is distinct and unique, yet they are one. Therefore the Church, being the fruit and the child of the Trinity is also a communion. We are a Church of communion. Each member is unique, yet together constitute community. Thus each member of the Church is important and necessary, even those seemingly unproductive, like the elderly, the sick, and the children. This recalls the story of a flower who was asked by the fruit-bearing plants what she was good for. She shyly answered, "I am here just to be beautiful". There is a place in the Church for workaholics like Martha and slower people like Mary.

This communion has been described in different ages by various images. St. Paul used the image of the body (1 Cor. 12:27). Thus the term the Mystical Body applied to the Church in an earlier age. The Church is also likened to a family. The Christian family is the Church in miniature (Familiaris Consortio,, no. 49). In the cyber age, the Church has been likened to a network - a communion of communities. Whatever image we come up with, the reality exceeds the model and verbal description. This is what makes the Church a mystery. This is why the Trinity is; a mystery. Our words cannot quiet fathom the reality. We enter into the mystery by living it and becoming a part of it.

Living this communion and witnessing to this life of love is not always easy. As one missionary observed, "There are two difficult situations in a mission. First, when one has to live alone in his mission area, and second, when he has to live with others."

The Trinity did not remain as Trinity in-and-for itself. The Trinitarian God is Love. We have already said that love by its nature overflows. Thus God created the world and all that are in it. God's concern is to love and give life to humanity and the whole of creation. God's concern is for us to share in His Divine Life of Love. Even when human beings sinned, God wanted to restore humanity to grace.

If this is so, the Trinitarian Church is also a Church in mission. This is very clear in Jesus' prayer to His Father, "As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world." (John 17: 18). As Church in Mission, we are sent to a particular people and place, and at a particular time.

The Church cannot distance herself from the concerns of humanity. The Church is tasked to proclaim the Gospel of Life even, and more so, amidst a culture of death. This is the worldly culture that has become enamored with violence, that seeks; escape in harmful and addictive substances and lifestyles, that kills to avoid suffering, and that sees unborn and newborn life as inconveniencies.

In an age of consumerism, we profess that people have more value than goods. In a new age where people join cults to satisfy their hunger for the spiritual dimension of life, we proclaim new life in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - a life of communion and mission.