The two Sundays after Pentecost celebrate the two most central doctrines of our Catholic faith — The Most Holy Trinity, and the Body and Blood of the Lord. This week we focus on the Trinity—the doctrine that teaches us that there is one God in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The doctrine of the Trinity is taught obscurely in the Scriptures. A few Old Testament passages sort of indicate that there are more than one person in God, but it is not ever stated clearly. In the Gospel account of the Baptism of Jesus, we see all three persons of the Trinity present and active, but Jesus and the Spirit are not identified as divine persons themselves.
At the end of his time on earth, Jesus sends the Apostles out to “baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Still, he does not say clearly that the Son and the Spirit are distinct persons within the Godhead.
It will take a few centuries to wrestle with who our God is. First, the Church Fathers will ask, “What is the relationship with the Father? Is Jesus human, or is he divine? If he is divine, if he is God who has become human, who is this Father he keeps talking about, and talking to? And who is this Holy Spirit? Is he an angel? Is he some kind of spiritual force created by God? Or is he in fact a third person in God? Are there, then, two Gods, or three Gods, or is there still only one God?”
Finally, the Church settled on the formula that we know so well. There is one God in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is the doctrine that defines us as Christians. Certainly Jews and Muslims believe in one God. Many religions believe in multiple Gods. But only Christianity proclaims one God in three persons.