HOW: Let's utilize scripture to show how we understand that there is but one God, yet made of three persons; Father, Son and Spirit. We heard in today's first reading from Deuteronomy how, ’the Lord is God and there is no other’, making God singular. From the most read verse in Scripture (John 16) we hear that ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only Son’. This verse gives us the famous Father-Son relationship. If God has a Son, then He must be the Father. Therefore God is made up of at least two persons. And we heard today in the reading from the Romans how "Those who are led by the Spirit of God, are sons and daughters of God". Now we have added a third person to God, that of the Spirit. And of course in today's gospel we heard how Jesus told his disciples to ‘baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit’. Therefore, Scripture tells us that there is but one God, yet made up of three persons.
WHAT: What are we as Christians suppose to believe about the Trinity'? From the Catechism of the Catholic Church (#253) we read, "We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons. The divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire. 'The Father is that which the Son is, the Son that which the Father is, the Father and the Son that which the Holy Spirit is, i.e. by nature one God’. And in #254 we read, ‘The divine persons are really distinct from one another. God is one but not solitary’.
For some of us mere human beings this can be hard to truly understand. You see, we might believe through faith, but truly understanding ‘three in one’ can be difficult. Do we know of anyone who is one, yet is made up of three persons? We all know in maths that three can't equal one. Therefore, it is not an easy concept to grasp.
1 found a relatively easy to understand comparison to use in a child's storybook titled ‘Three in One: a picture of God’ by Joanne Marxhausen. In the book she explains the Trinity using an apple, so 1 thought 1 would try to explain the three persons of the Trinity to you today by using an apple.
We all know what an apple is and what an apple isn't. It is a tasty fruit that is quite recognizable. There is even a saying about an apple. An apple a day keeps the doctor away'. Well, 1 like to think that an apple is made up of 3 parts: the skin, the meaty fruit and the core. It takes all three parts to make up an apple, yet each part alone is apple. If someone was to peel an apple, and you saw the peelings on the counter you would know it was apple, not something else. If you tasted the delicious meat of the apple you would know that is apple and not something else. And if you saw an apple core lying on the ground, you would know that it is an apple core and not something else. All three parts are uniquely apple all on their own; yet all three make up one apple. So it is with the Trinity: God-is one, yet three unique persons, who individually are all God.
I like to compare the skin of the apple to God the Father. An apple can never outgrow its skin: when the apple starts out small the skin is small, but it continues to grow and stretch, as the apple gets bigger. So it is with the love that God the Father has for us. He loves us so much that He sent his only Son for our salvation. The Father's love for us stretches, much like the skin of an apple, to totally envelop us. We can never outgrow the Father's love for us. His love is like a protective skin that we wear every day.
1 like to compare the sweet meaty fruit of the apple with God the Son, Jesus. Just as the tasty apple is good for our livelihood and nourishment, so was the Son of God sent to us. He came for our livelihood, our eternal salvation. And we have the opportunity to be nourished with his body and blood every day in the Eucharist. Just as an apple a day will keep our body healthy, the Eucharist will keep us spiritually healthy as well.
1 like to compare the core of the apple to God the Holy Spirit. The apple gets its livelihood and strength from the core, which is constantly feeding it. Iin the same way the Holy Spirit is constantly giving us strength and help every day of our lives. Just as the seeds from that core can start a new apple tree, so the Holy Spirit can enkindle within us life anew.
So, just as one apple is made up of the three parts, all uniquely apple, so our one God is made up of the three persons: Father, Son and Spirit. Each of them is uniquely God, and each of them has a purpose for us.
WHY: 1 think God is made up of three unique persons to show how he shares his love with us in many ways. God the Father loves us so much that he sent us His only Son for our Salvation. God the Son loved us so much that he gave of His own earthly life so that we may have eternal life and shares that love with us in the Eucharist every day. God the Holy Spirit shares His love with us each day by guiding us and giving us strength. So we have one loving God sharing His love for us in many ways.
Just as an apple can be shared with others, and God shares His love with us, so we must also share His love with others.