A reflection on Trinity Sunday

By George McHale

The readings for this Sunday:

34:4b-6, 8-9
2 Corinthians

Studies show that women, as a rule, see more color than men. Thus is begotten
Spousal Argument No. 7b:

“Honey, bring my blue sweater downstairs, please.”
“Here it is, dear.”
“That’s not my blue sweater.”
“Oh…I thought it was.”
“Well how could you think that? It’s green.”
“Well, it looks blue to me.”
“How could you possibly confuse my blue sweater and my green sweater? You’ve
seem me wear them dozens of times.”
“I have? They looked the same to me.”
“Then you must be colorblind.”
“So get your own damn sweaters!”

And, bam! The suitcases are on the porch.

While it’s not up there with the “Put the butter in the fridge—leave
it on the counter” fight or anywhere near the “When do we open
Christmas gifts? And whose family do we do it with?” brawl, it points
out clearly one of the seminal issues in marriage or in any relationship. We
do not experience the same world.

In fact, since “color” is the brain’s interpretation of
a specific wave length of light and because there is no way of establishing
whether my interpretation is the same as yours and since you may interpret
orange the way I interpret blue, we barely can be said to inhabit the same

And if I can barely know what “blue” is and if I realize that “blue,” as
well as everything else I observe, is actually a construct of my brain, what
can I possibly say about God? And what can I possibly say about the Trinity?

For all the grousing I have done about the inadequacy of virtually every
Trinity Sunday homily I have heard, I am now confronted with writing for
the same feast. And what strikes me most of all is that the mystery of the
human personality (Just as a for instance, why were so many of my beautiful,
intelligent, capable, self-assured female students content to ally themselves
with the useless, often abusive, louts they lived with?) is much more mysterious
than that God’s knowledge of the Godhead is so real it is another person,
and the love between them is so real that it is another person. Just
add water; don’t stir (cf., Athanasius: The Father is not the Son…);
and, voila, the Trinity! But this just spurs more questions. Why couldn’t,
for instance, the love between the “Spirit” and the “Father” generate
a new person, etc., etc., and so on ad infinitum? More importantly,
where do we fit into that lovely, self-contained system?

So let’s go back to the time before there was a Trinity, back to the
experience of the disciples of Jesus, who weren’t yet versed in Greek
philosophy but knew what they knew in their hearts.

So…by tradition and their entire Hebrew Weltanschauung, they knew that
God is One, that God is almighty, omnipotent, omniscient, and…wow…loving.
But they knew that in, through, and with Jesus, they had experienced the Godhead.
How could God be omnipresent and still have sweaty armpits and toenails and
bad-hair days? I don’t think they much cared. They knew what they knew.
And once Jesus was gone, somehow they knew, especially when they got together
for a meal and some good conversation, that the Godhead was still with them.

Should we, could we, ask for more?

Well…just one more thing. If we are made in the image of God, what
does this tell us about ourselves? Oliver Wendell Holmes said that in any conversation,
there are six people present: Who I truly am; Who I think I am; Who I think
you are; Who you truly are; Who you think you are; and Who I think you
are. Once, a student pointed out that there’s also Who I think you think
I am; Who you think I think you are; etc., etc., and so on ad
. Hmmm…have
we arrived at a Truth?

If I can’t know “blue,” and I can’t know you; how
in the world can I know me?

Maybe it’s in the same dynamic thesis, antithesis, synthesis of the
Godhead that we can begin to know…and love…and serve…ourselves.
And know…and love…and serve…one another. And know…and
love…and serve…the God around us, the God beside us, the God
within us in this world and be happy in the next, where “then we shall
know fully as we are known.”


Thanks, brother. I will have to read this several times, but it sounds like great intellectual and heart fun! lola


I am so glad to find something creative. I think it is great!