A long, long time ago, the first Christian missionaries arrived in New Guinea. There, they found a cruel culture and savage people. Cannibalism was still in practice. No one felt safe, and no one trusted anyone else. In fact, in their native language was not a single word for trust! When these missionaries tried to translate the Gospels, the Good News of Jesus, into the native tongue, they could not find any word for trust! The Gospel states “Whoever puts their trust in the Lord will not die!” How do you translate that into a language that has no word for trust?
Well, one of the missionaries got inspired. He leaned back in his chair till the chair's front two legs were off the ground. Then he asked the natives, “In your language, tell me what I'm doing!” They replied, “You're resting your whole weight on the chair's back legs.” That's it,” said the missionary. Now he had his translation! “Whoever rests his whole weight on the Lord will not die.”
That's today's Gospel in a nutshell! God sends his Son not to condemn us, not to tell us how bad we are, but to encourage us, not to bring us death, but life. Why then, so long after Jesus' coming, are we still so damaged? If Jesus is the light, why is our light so dim? The answer is right in the missionary's translation: Whoever rests his whole weight on the Lord will not die!” Quite simply, we lack trust in God. We don't put our whole weight on the two back legs of the chair. We want to be completely in charge, grounded on all four legs. We want to be in control!
When do we rest our whole weight on God? When do we trust God enough to quit worrying. When do we pray, “God, I know you are enough for me, and there's nothing we can't do together! So I'm letting you set my course and I'm going along as your copilot.” Do we pray like that only to take it all back, piece by piece, and try again to run everything by ourselves, for ourselves?
If our light is too dim, how do we brighten it? Today's Liturgy, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, gives us an answer. In the past we've spent too much time and effort trying to understand the Trinity, how there can be three persons, and yet only one God. Instead we should be living the Trinity in our lives. How do we do this?
God the Creator invites us to appreciate all the wonders, beauty and majesty of this earth and of the entire cosmos of which we are an infinitesimally small part, appreciating that creation is an ongoing process, both ageless and ever new. God the Son is the Word Incarnate who comes to live among us as one of us, continually sharing God's healing graces with a wounded people. God the Abiding Spirit lives within us to help us achieve the peace and justice of a more abundant life here on earth. The Trinity of Three-In-One we celebrate this day is not a mystery to be understood but rather one to be experienced profoundly in our daily lives. So be it!