Tuesday, June 13, 2017

June 11, 2017
Trinity Sunday
Sometimes, we are exposed to various things and or have used them for years, but never really know why we do or what they really are. One lady had a collection of vintage kitchen utensils which included one whose purpose was always a mystery. It looks like a cross between a metal slotted spoon and a spatula, so she used it as both. When it was not in use, it was prominently displayed in a decorative utensil caddy in her kitchen. The mystery of the spoon/spatula was recently resolved for her when she went to a rummage sale and saw another one in its original packaging. It was a pooper-scooper. 
Today I thought I would focus on some biblical original packaging or “proofs” of the Trinity. Granted, the word “Trinity” is not in the bible, but neither is “Incarnation” and a few otherwords used to describe Catholic doctrine, but we believe those truths. Even though the word “Trinity” is not in the bible, I wantto show that the doctrine is. So, let’s explore a little. We use the Trinity frequently and even keep Him/Her prominently displayed, but we don’t know where the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity came from.
Some would say that Jesus Christ is not God and that the Holy Spirit is not a person. Other groups believe that Jesus is God, but they believe that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are different modes of the same person.
The Bible teaches that within the nature of the one true God, there exists three separate and distinct persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. They are co-equal in nature and co-eternal. The Trinity doctrine is NOT three gods in one. All through the Old Testament and many times in the New, we clearly see there is but one true God; but, nowhere in the Bible does it say that this God that we call the true God, that Christians worship and serve, is just the Father, or a single person known as the Father.
It is difficult to describe the Holy Trinity and no analogy is a perfect example, because the doctrine of the Trinity is a paradox – mystery of faith. However, is one many of you have probably heard – one reasonably good way to illustrate the Trinity doctrine that would be with H2O, which is common water-two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen. You can freeze H2O and you would have water solid, or ice. You can turn on your faucet and you would have the liquid H2O. You can hear the whistle of H2O that comes out of the tea kettle spout which is steam, but it would still be H2O. H2O can and does exist in solid, liquid and gas. The solid is not the liquid; the liquid is not the gas; and yet all three are of one nature: H2O. And that is exactly how it is with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Father is not the Son, the Father is not the Holy Spirit, and Jesus is not the Holy Spirit, yet all three persons are ONE God.
Genesis, chapter 1 verse 26:
   "Then [Elohim (Hebrew)God said, ‘Let us [notice that plural pronoun] make man in our [there's a plural word again] image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.'" We see the plural pronoun us and also the plural word ourOur image and ourlikeness.
In the book of Daniel 7:13-14, a plurality in God is again shown.
   "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed."
The New International Version reads, "worshiped him." The King James Version of the Bible states that they served him.The word in the Hebrew is worshiped. They worshiped the one that's called Son of Man. And this is Jesus. So not only is the Ancient of Days worshiped, we see that there is someone else that's separate and distinct from the Ancient of Days, according to these two verses that is likewise worshiped.Therefore, there must be plurality in God. There has to be, because only the True and the Living God of the Bible can be worshiped. To worship anything or anyone else would be idolatry. We must remember that much of the bible was written by devote Jews, who only “worshipped” the One True God. 
Deut. 6:4 is a verse that some will bring up to you in their effort to disprove the doctrine of the Trinity, but you can turn the tables on them and show just the opposite. That verse reads:"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God [there's that word Elohim again], the LORD is one." 
So, here we find out that Elohim is one. Now this is a very important thing to listen to, because this word one shows compound unity. Echod is the Hebrew word. This word one as used is compound unity. As an example, in Gen. 2:24 there is a verse that certainly most of us are acquainted with: "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." 
There's the compound unity. The same exact thing that Elohimis, compound unity, husband and wife become - “one.
Are all three persons defined in the Trinity doctrine really a person? The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. So, the next thing we need to do is to define exactly what is meant by a person. A person possesses intellectemotion and will. The Father possesses intellect, He possesses emotion and He possesses will. And so does the Son, and so do all of us. And the Holy Spirit, like it or not, is indeed a person as is the Father and the Son. 
The Holy Spirit has an intellect. Jn. 14:26 reads: "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." 
For someone to teach, they must possess intellect. So if the Holy Spirit teaches, He has an intellect. And it's also shown that the Holy Spirit does teach in other verses as well such as 1 Cor. 2:13 and Neh. 9:20.
The Holy Spirit has emotion. In Rom. 15:30 Paul is writing and he said to the church at Rome: "I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me." 
So he referred to the love of the Spirit. Love is an emotion, and the Holy Spirit has love. Therefore, the Holy Spirit has an emotion. 
The third and final point that the Holy Spirit is a person is the fact that he has a will. And that's shown in 1 Cor. 12:11: "All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
So the Holy Spirit has intellect, He has emotion, and He has will, just like the Father and just like the Son. And not only that, there are other indications that the Holy Spirit is indeed a person.
Let me cite a few other facts regarding the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit guides, He speaks and He hears (Jn. 16:13). The Holy Spirit intercedes (Rom. 8:26). The Holy Spirit forbids certain actions (Acts 16:6-7). The Holy Spirit sends into service (Acts 13:4). The Holy Spirit can be grieved (Eph. 4:30). The Holy Spirit may be blasphemed (Mt. 12:31). He can be lied to (Acts 5:3). The Holy Spirit can be insulted or outraged (Heb. 10:29). And the Holy Spirit can be resisted (Acts 7:51). These are all traits of a person. And again, we see from all these verses that the Holy Spirit is indeed a person as is the Father and the Son.
In Acts 13:1, 2: "In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.'" Here we see the personal pronoun I. So this again shows that the Holy Spirit is not merely an active force, but instead a person.
In Acts 5:3, 4 we read this: "Then Peter said, ‘Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.'" Verse 3 says he lied to the Holy Spirit. Verse 4 says he lied to God. Therefore the Holy Spirit must be God.
In Exodus 17:2, 7 we read: "So they quarreled with Moses and said, ‘Give us water to drink.' Moses replied, ‘Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the LORD [that is, Elohim] to the test?' " ... "And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the LORD [that is, Elohim] saying, ‘Is the LORD [or is Elohimamong us or not?' "
In Hebrews 3:9 the Holy Spirit is speaking and says, "where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did." So the Holy Spirit is the one they tested, but Exodus 17 says it was Elohim. So the Holy Spirit must be Elohim.
A second comparison is found in Jeremiah chapter 31:31-34. This is an Old Testament prophecy about the New Covenant, or the New Testament: " ‘The time is coming,' declares the LORD, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,' declares the LORD. ‘This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,' declares the LORD. ‘I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, "Know the LORD," because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,' declares the LORD. ‘For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.' "
This is a prophecy in the Old Testament regarding the covenant that we're now under. Hebrews chapter 10:15-17 is where we need to go now. The Holy Spirit is speaking again: "The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: ‘This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.' Then he adds: ‘Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.' "
1 Corinthians 2:10-11 teach that the Holy Spirit is all-knowing. He knows everything: "but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God."
So how do you go about showing that Jesus is God? In John 20:28, we find out where one of the Apostles called Jesus his Lord and his God. He did not just call Jesus his Lord, but also called Jesus his God. His name was Thomas, one of the original Twelve. Thomas called him God, and believed that Jesus was his God. Now he's a strict monotheistic Jew. He believed in only one God, and yet he thought that Jesus was his God.
Other verses show that Jesus is called God. If you compare Jn. 1:1 with verse 14 of the same chapter, you would find out that Jesus is God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And verse 14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
In Rev. 1:17-18 Jesus identifies Himself as the Alpha and Omega. He said to John: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades." 
In Rev. 22:13. There Jesus said: "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End."
The only rational thing to conclude is that the Bible teaches the Trinity doctrine even though the word itself is not found in the Bible. 
The Bible teaches that God raised Jesus from the dead (Acts 3:15 and Acts 13:30 and Gal. 1:1). And would you believe that elsewhere in the New Testament, we read that it was the Son who raised himself from the dead (John 2:19-22; 10:17, 18). And finally, it was the Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:11). So how could it say the Father raised him, the Son raised himself, and the Holy Spirit raised the Son, unless the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are the one true God by nature?
Is there a point in time in the Bible when all three appear individually at once? At Jesus' baptism, Jesus was there. The Holy Spirit in dove form was there. And the Father was there when He spoke from heaven.
You can say, that if the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit all have the same attributes of each other, that if it says that God did it, then the three are the one GodFor example, in Isaiah 44:24, and also in Job 9:8, it says God alone created the universe. But yet we have Isaiah 64:8 that says the Father created. Jn. 1:3, Col. 1:16, Heb. 1:2 and Rev. 3:14 says the Son created. It also says the Holy Spirit created (Job 26:13 and Job 33:4). So you have Father, Son and Holy Spirit all active and participating in the creation. 
There you have it; all the bible references you ever wanted to argue with your next door neighbor on. All from the monotheistic Hebrew and Christian Bible. 
Let us pray.
Father God, we ask that You help our finite minds to better comprehend Your blessed Trinity. We ask that the preaching and teaching of the Church will bless all with the desire to share in the life of the Blessed Trinity. 
Father, You have revealed Your innermost secret – the eternal exchange of Love found in Your three persons, and You have destined each of us to share in that love. We ask that You bless our parish with this love and in so doing, that we may be made a more perfect likeness of the Blessed Trinity. 
We further ask that people everywhere will have an unfailing respect for all persons, from conception to death, for we all were created in the image of the Trinity. For those, dear Lord, who do not have faith, we ask that the love of the Blessed Trinity will awaken their minds and give hope to their hearts. 
Lastly, grant us each Your grace this week to live each moment consciously united to God in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. We ask all this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
God Love You +++
+ The Most Rev. Robert Winzens
Pastor – St. Francis Universal Catholic Church
San Diego, Ca.