Once, after a family funeral, we were all sitting quietly in someone’s apartment, taking in what had just happened. Then one of my great uncles, wanting to break the silence, turned to me and said: “I have a question for you.”
And I said: “…okay, what is it?”
And he said: “…you’re going to be a priest, right? So tell me, who is God?”
I found myself at a loss for words, because nobody had actually asked me that before. But my great uncle – being from China and growing up in Hong Kong – unlike most Canadians, had no religious upbringing whatsoever besides Chinese folk stories, and so this was a real question for him, one for which I couldn’t rely on already existing Judaeo-Christian categories and ideas to explain.
And truth be told, I’m not sure anyone can answer that question in just a sentence or two. It might be easier to answer the question “what is God” than “who is God” – because to tell another person who someone is means trying to not just describe that someone – which answers the question “what”, but your relationship with that someone, in a way that the other person can understand.
And I think that personal aspect is too often lost on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. We either let it glaze over us because it seems “too complicated,” or we try to zero in on some explanation which is more of an answer to “what” than “who”.
But God’s revelation of this “central mystery of Christian faith and life,” (CCC 234) – of who God is in himself, of that communion of love that is God – is not some kind of theological riddle or puzzle, but our Divine invitation, our vocation, our call, addressed to each one of us: to enter this mystery of love, so that we will not perish in isolation, but find life eternal through sharing in this communion with God and one another.